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Exploring the Effectiveness of Student-Centeredness in Universities: Informing Higher Education Policies in Europe

Exploring the Effectiveness of Student-Centeredness in Universities: Informing Higher Education Policies in Europe
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Author(s): Despina Varnava Marouchou (European University Cyprus, Cyprus)
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 21
Source title: Handbook of Research on Trends in European Higher Education Convergence
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Alina Mihaela Dima (Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5998-8.ch015

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Abstract

The Bologna Process initiated by the European Commission in 1998 has stimulated change through the implementation of several education reforms. These reforms placed into action a series of curricular improvements geared towards the European Higher Education Convergence. More specifically, the introduction of the European Credit Accumulation and Transfer System (ECTS) aims to support more student-centred, more flexible, and more individually tailored education tracks. However, the student-centred policy, as a fundamental pillar towards the improvement of teaching, has been applied in a very simple and unclear fashion (Reichert & Tauch, 2003) without being properly understood by the academics themselves. This chapter reports on the importance of the conceptual change approach in the professional development of academics by arguing that the design of an effective student-centred learning environment may not be effectively achieved in practice in the absence of the academics' own conceptions of how they conceive, experience, and understand teaching. The possible mismatch between conceptions of teaching and actual teaching practices may prove to be an obstacle for the effective implementation of the student-centred reforms. Thus, the main purpose of this chapter is to explore the likelihood of how conceptions of teaching could encourage an environment that supports student learning and contribute to the effectiveness of convergence of the European Higher Education.

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