Politicising evaluative feedback: A case study from teaching in a higher degree via open learning

Year: 1996

Author: Macpherson, Ian, Halliwell, Gail, Grieshaber, Sue, Perry, Rosemary, Rossiter, Darien

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on teaching master's level units in Early Childhood via open learning with the use of audiographics technology. Evaluation has been an integral component of this teaching project over the last three years. The first year of the project produced evaluative data which raised a number of issues, both technological and pedagogical, which were addressed in the second year of the project. Using Smith's (1993) characterisation of empowerment as self growth, as collaborative action and as political action/struggle and working broadly within an Action Research approach (as an example of critical education research), the teaching project members have focussed on consolidating the self growth focus of the first year and the collaborative action of the second year, as well as on engaging in political action in 1996. Such action raises issues within the university in terms of how the institution will continue to sustain innovations such as this teaching project and to encourage a wider use of the project's principles and practices in master's level teaching generally. It is in this sense that the paper reports on politicising evaluative data as a means of building new partnerships based on understanding by university administrators of the sorts of supports necessary to stimulate and maintain innovative practices which are geared towards such policy areas as equity and quality.