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Higher Education Research

Higher Education Research Group

The Higher Education Research Group aspires to provide a multidisciplinary forum for the critical exploration and discussion of a range of issues associated with:

  • Teaching and learning.
  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Student engagement.
  • Academic writing.
  • Transnational and international perspectives.
  • Comparative education.
  • Continuing professional development.

In order to achieve this, the group works closely with colleagues in the University’s Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) and adopts an eclectic mix of theoretical positions and methodological approaches. The purpose is to understand, inform and improve the systems and processes which impact on all areas of policy and practice, including the student experience.

Research Projects

Academic Boredom

Academic boredom, the boredom experienced by undergraduates at university or college, is complex but largely negative and disabling achievement-related emotion. In a mixed-methods study of students attending a single institution in England, academic boredom was found to arise at the point of course delivery and during the completion of assignments for the purposes of assessment. Quantitative and qualitative data analysis indicated that those with a measurably higher propensity or habitual disposition towards academic boredom than others were among the most adversely affected. Consequently, students affected most lost concentration and attention more often in lectures, studied for fewer hours, attended university less frequently, and displayed the deep, strategic and surface profiles of less effective learners. As an integral part of a greater causal network, this translated into a corresponding reduction in average degree marks and fewer good degree awards. With recent and growing levels of interest internationally, this ongoing work makes an important contribution to a surprisingly neglected and underdeveloped field of UK higher education research and the student engagement agenda.

Academic team lead:Professor John G Sharp

Writing retreats

Within our University, the CLT hosts an annual summer residential writing retreat where participants can start or continue with their scholarly writing focused on academic practice, its pedagogy and learning and teaching. The CLT also operates a writing partner scheme where colleagues support draft writing and goal setting to complete work. To book onto future retreats, please contact Lyn Edwards (lyn.edwards@leedsbeckett.ac.uk) to reserve your place.

Academic lead: Dr Susan Smith

Published Research

Publications