Teaching takes time

July 9, 2004

Plagiarism is commonly combated by using different assessment methods. My department, for instance, combines examinations with assessment of coursework exercises and oral presentations and the use of vivas throughout our degree programmes. Such diverse methods, however, take time and are labour intensive. But the time and effort involved in providing assessment have never been properly recognised.

Despite a host of local and national initiatives to raise the profile of teaching and learning, vice-chancellors have continued to be entranced by the research assessment exercise. Staff are made to feel inadequate if they do not produce papers or research grants, while scant account is taken of the time taken to provide students with feedback.

The most fundamental role of universities is teaching. I hope that, in the not too distant future, the teaching and learning function of universities will be given due recognition within the institutions themselves, together with the practitioners who carry it out.

Bill Stewart
Senior lecturer
Glasgow University

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