Ako Aotearoa holds third colloquium for tertiary researchers
During May, team members representing 20 tertiary research and implementation projects gathered in Wellington for the third Ako Aotearoa Research in Progress Colloquium. The projects are all currently underway or nearing completion, with seventeen of them being funded by Ako Aotearoa through its National Project Fund (NPF). Three project teams from the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) also participated this year.
The Tertiary Research in Progress Colloquium is an event that supports our existing NPF teams to network with others working on large scale teaching and learning projects in New Zealand, and to identify early synergies across projects.
The research and implementation projects we support through the NPF are heavily focused on stimulating change in teaching and learning practice, for the benefit of learners. As has been our experience at past colloquia we were delighted with the ambitious nature of these projects, each of which shows a great deal of potential to stimulate change in teaching and learning practices.
It was very encouraging to see that the importance of increasing the sophistication in research design and analytical techniques in tertiary education research was a theme that emerged strongly amongst the presentations. We believe this is a critical issue for the sector. With the increased drive for evidence-based decision making and practice, comes the need for an increased robustness in the design of projects, as well as the methods and analyses employed.
Another theme that arose from the colloquium related to the realities of “doing research”. This was particularly salient after a year characterised for many teams by the tragic loss of colleagues and natural disasters. This has further highlighted to us the importance of working in partnership with our project teams, and also as an organisation interested in investing in longitudinal work. It is important to learn from these experiences so that the sustainability of projects and their outcomes are maximised.
Sharing the work with the sector
Finally, the colloquium further highlighted how critical it will be that careful and considered thought is applied to how the findings of both individual projects and the collective learnings across projects are shared with the sector. We will be disseminating completed projects across the sector throughout 2011 and will be paying special attention to communicating these findings with key change agents e.g., policy makers, senior management in tertiary organisations, the research community, and practitioners. We see ourselves as a broker of this information and will also seek to work alongside other tertiary education funders to make links across projects where relevant.
Go to the Research in Progress Colloquium 2011 page to download the Colloquium Handbook, the project presentations, and links to the project spaces.