Proceedings of The 6th World Conference on Teaching and Education
Using research to inform teaching and learning in higher education: Tips for university academics
Dr. Severino Machingambi
Continuous scholarly activity and curiosity are essential for effective and sustainable teaching and learning in higher education. Therefore, linking teaching and research in university teaching is an important way in which this can be made possible. The inextricable link between teaching and research is understandable and necessary given the fact that research leads to knowledge generation while teaching is the mechanism through which the knowledge is disseminated. The research-teaching nexus can be characterized in terms of research-informed teaching where academics use discipline-based research to inform content and in terms of research skills teaching whereby students are helped to develop research skills through the process of learning. Giving students access to cutting edge research through their taught programmes is one way of inculcating in students, skills and abilities of independent inquiry. Integrating research into teaching enables academics to practice what is known as research-led teaching or research-oriented curriculum design. The aim of this conceptual paper is to explore mechanisms through which the research-teaching nexus can be enhanced in university teaching. The paper is informed by principles grounded in the scholarship of teaching and learning approach. Data were generated through a critical review and analysis of local and international literature on the nexus between research and teaching in higher education. Data were mainly derived from articles published in journals, search engines and published books. Major findings included the need to involve students in departmental research and building small scale research activities into undergraduate courses. The major recommendation arising from the analysis was that university academics need to infuse values of research into all teaching and learning activities in a seamless manner.
keywords: higher education, teaching, research, curriculum, academics