Author biographies: Although the authors are predominantly from Canadian universities (nine out of sixteen), there are also authors from universities in the USA (2) and UK (2), and from Australia, Hong Kong and Finland. Overall, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve the quality of teaching in universities (it would also apply to the academic departments in community colleges). Although these comments may not come as a surprise, it is important that they come, not from those outside the tent of tenured faculty, but from faculty members themselves whose job it is to know what is going on in the classrooms of our universities. As always with a collection of papers, different readers will appreciate different chapters.
Knapper provides a very useful set of 13 conclusions about the drivers of good teaching, which are not so much guidelines for faculty but for senior administrators and managers who wish to improve the quality of teaching in their institutions.
The glaring gap in this book for me is the omission of any research on teaching with technology.
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The editors are past and current presidents of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, a predominantly Canadian organization committed to enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in post-secondary institutions. Most of the authors are experienced researchers and writers on the topic of university teaching and learning. It brings together in one place most of the key research in this area, with one glaring omission (research on teaching and learning with technology), and one important area of teaching that is not covered either in this book or within the research literature itself, and that is practical or skill-based learning.


There is some duplication between chapters, which is perhaps inevitable, given that the now well-established underlying concepts and research, such as Marton and Saljo’s work on deep and surface learning, will cross many different aspects of teaching and learning. For instance, although the editors’ opening chapter is mostly a useful summary of each of the following chapters, the first and last pages of this chapter are absolute dynamite. Noel Entwhistle’s overview of research is as comprehensive as can be expected in a single chapter. The book is excellent as an academic book, but it may well put off say a professor of microbiology looking for a quick fix to improve her teaching. The chapters in Section V of the book are a scholarly and thoughtful approach to identifying and removing barriers to change.
This chapter provides a fascinating historical account of the attempts to change universities going back to the early 1800s.
What other profession would go about its business in such an amateurish and unprofessional way as university teaching? Although the focus is entirely on classroom teaching, nevertheless much of the research has implications for online teaching as well.
It conveys more implicitly than explicitly that teaching and learning are varied and complex activities to which there are no valid simple nostrums. There are too many caveats and complicating factors to provide a clear set of practical guidelines for faculty.
At the heart of the dilemma is the tension between research and teaching, with research continually gaining the upper hand.


Indeed, a chapter on the futility of research that compares face-to-face with online learning, and a focus on the conditions for success in using technology for teaching, would have perfectly fitted the overall theme of this book. What this means of course is that no book, however comprehensive, is sufficient to provide the necessary knowledge and skills needed to be a good teacher – what are needed are structural changes that provide appropriate initial training, and that support ongoing professional development and lifelong learning in teaching for university and college.
Christensen and Mighty call for no less than a re-examination of the university’s mission and purpose.
This is yet another sad instance of the two separate worlds of faculty development and educational technology. We have government and self-imposed industry regulation to prevent financial advisers, medical practitioners, real estate agents, engineers, construction workers and many other professions from operating without proper training.
How long are we prepared to put up with this unregulated situation in university and college teaching? 34, No.2This ODLAA Publication is licensed CC-BY-NC-ND and is now available free of charge at ResearchGate. Without the changes proposed in this book, technology will never be effectively used in higher education teaching.



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