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Overview of week one

Week one: The role of evaluation and reflection for enhancing learning and teaching

In this introductory week, we start the course with a focus on what we mean by the concept of evaluation. A practice that is closely related to, even integrated with, evaluation is that of reflection. And, we will explore the links between evaluative and reflective practices. We will also think about how to move from evaluation to enhancement.

Throughout the week, we encourage you to reflect on how the content relates to your educational context. We will guide you through a journey which will focus on evaluation exploring a variety of aspects which included a discussion of methods and approaches and the consideration of a systematic approach to evaluation of specific aspects of practice. We will move onto a debate about what can be measured in regard to student experience and what Higher Education institution commonly measure (and care about).

In summary, this week we will cover the following topics:

  • What is evaluation and why it is needed for enhancing learning and teaching
  • Review and develop reflection and reflective practice
  • Think about how you can design and implement an evaluation in your context
  • key aspects affecting your practice moving from the individual (micro) to the broader context (macro)
  • a range of external factors at different levels affecting practice (at micro level, in the classroom and at the individual level)
  • reflecting on your practice within the broader policy framework
  • positioning your enhancement within the strategic frameworks of your contexts.

We ask that you take a few steps back, distancing yourself from the evaluation process to look at the ‘bigger’ picture. We need to consider the different level of analysis – so that you can:

  • place your practice within the context (i.e. micro, meso and macro)
  • become aware of regulations and policies which may govern your practice and evaluation
  • try to understand the complexities around the concepts of Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement.

These may lead to a difficulty in determining metrics and how to demonstrate improvement/enhancement.

Want to know more?

If you would like to more about this topic there are additional resources listed in the Want to know more.pdf for this step.


Biggs, J. (1993). From theory to practice: A cognitive systems approach. Higher Education Research and Development, 12, 73-86. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0729436930120107

Nevo, D. (1983). The Conceptualization of Educational Evaluation: An Analytical Review of the Literature. Review of Educational Research, 53:117-128

Harvey’s Evaluation cookbook is another detailed option (Contents, Page 5)

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Enhancing Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

UNSW Sydney