Flexibility and Pedagogy in Higher Education

Delivering Flexibility in Learning through Online Learning Communities

Flexibility has long been a feature of the delivery of learning in higher education, particularly with the rise in importance of technology in giving learners greater choice over when, where and how they engage in learning. Recent analysis has sought to look beyond its significance in learning delivery to its value as a personal attribute of both learners and educators. Flexibility is now a key feature of debates addressing the role of universities in producing graduates with the capability to become change agents in increasingly dynamic workplaces and the wider world.

Flexibility and Pedagogy in Higher Education explores flexibility in learning in the context of online learning communities, in relation to the delivery of learning and as a means of promoting the development of flexibility as a personal attribute. Essays draw on examples involving students from foundation up to postgraduate level in curricular and co-curricular settings.

The essays collected in this volume examine the practical application of flexibility in learning through the use of online learning communities. It provides best practice examples for educators looking to use innovative pedagogies to develop flexible learning experiences, thereby building on recent studies on the place of flexibility in the future development of higher education.

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Chris Dennis, Ph.D. (2012), Cardiff University, is an Academic Skills Specialist at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Recent publications include, ‘Academic integration’, with Stuart Abbott and Jake Bailey, in Matheson, Tangney and Sutcliffe (Eds.), Transitions in, through and out of Higher Education (Routledge, 2018).
Stuart Abbott is PgCLTHE Course Leader at the University of South Wales. His recent publications include ‘Academic integration’, with Chris Dennis and Jake Bailey, in Matheson, Tangney and Sutcliffe (Eds.), Transitions in, through and out of Higher Education (Routledge, 2018).
Ruth Matheson, NTF (2012), is Head of Learning, Teaching and Student Experience (FLSE) at University of South Wales. Her recent publications include In Pursuit of Teaching Excellence (THE, 2019) and, with Sutcliffe, Belonging and Transition (IETI, 2018).
Sue Tangney, Ed.D. (2012) Open University, is a Principal Lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Her recent publications include, with Flay-Petty, Developing Mid-Career Academic Staff in a Changing University Environment (AISHE, 2019), and with Leslie and Newman-Ford, How Internationalised is Your Curriculum? (IHE, 2019).
"The collection does give a peek into English higher education and shows how it tries to find a good form for flexible learning by students, with students. They do so by actively involving students in the design and practice of flexible learning, with an inclusive approach that effectively deals with differences. It also offers students the opportunity to come up with their own activities, content and testing methods. It acknowledges that flexibility is not only a skill that students should learn, but our lecturers and tutors should develop as well." - Translation from L. te Lintelo (2021). Flexibiliteit door online leren. Th&ma (1), 68-70.

"The concept of flexibility in education took on a new meaning in 2020, making this collection timely indeed. The editors' original intent was to explore different facets of flexibility in online learning communities from the perspectives of students, faculty, and academic staff. Readers who have had to switch to online-only teaching or who are supporting instructional units may well find some useful discussions here. [...] Most chapters include discussion of the use of software to enhance and engage students, with several focused specifically on online interactive platforms. Collaboration is the other key theme represented in essays showing how incorporating multiple partners can achieve better, more flexible pedagogies. Chapters are well researched by faculty and academic staff. Summing up: Recommended".
H. C. Williams, in CHOICE, 58 (8), 2021.
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors

Chris Dennis, Ruth Matheson and Sue Tangney 1. Bend Me, Shape Me: Flexible Pedagogies to Widen Participation and Deliver on Social Justice
John Butcher and Liz Marr 2. Promoting Flexible Learning through Embedded, Online Study Skills Support
Leila Griffiths 3. Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts: Coalescing Digital and Physical Learning Spaces in Temporary Online Learning Communities
Chris Little and Matthew Street 4. Enhancing the Student Experience: Examples of Joint Student-Staff Partnerships to Create and Embed Online Peer Networks within Programmes of Study
Nicola Poole and Sophie Leslie 5. A Classroom without Walls: Academic and Student Nurses Co-Curating Twitter in Partnership
Moira McLoughlin and Wendy Sinclair 6. Shadow Modules and Student-Led Online Learning Communities: Supporting Learning, Engagement, and Student Empowerment within, and across, Institutions in Higher Education
Sheila L. Amici-Dargan, Amber M. Moorcroft and Stephen M. Rutherford 7. Youth Justice Live!: Flexible Pedagogies in an Online/Offline Community of Practice
Sue Bond-Taylor and Ceryl Teleri Davies 8. Opening the Door to the Virtual School: Enhancing Student Engagement through Online Learning Communities
Sharon Smith and Ruth Hewston 9. Academic Support Online: Developing an Integrated Academic Support Environment at the University of the Arts London
Graham Barton and Alex Lumley 10. Commonplace: A Student-Led Survival Guide to Support Transitions and Belonging at University of the Arts London (UAL)
Siobhan Clay and Paul Tabak 11. Flexible Socialisation and the Use of Twitter by a University Library: Exploring the Role of Social Media in Co-Curricular Settings As a Way of Fostering the Socialisation of Students into an Academic Community
Chris Dennis, Stuart Abbott and Rob Sell 12. The Student Hub Live: The Open University’s Solution to Facilitating the Development of an Academic Community in Distance Learning through Collaborative Online Interaction
Karen Foley 13. Online Learning Communities and Flexibility in Learning
Chris Dennis
This book will be of interest to educators looking to enhance their practice in higher education, researchers investigating the topic, and candidates on teaching in HE courses.
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