Well, we have reached the final edition of our first volume of the ‘new’ Educational Developments. As well as highlighting the contents of this edition, it is perhaps worth looking back to the way the magazine has developed and suggest ways in which we would like it to move forward.

This edition begins with another in the ‘implications for educational development or educational developers’ series. On this occasion Lorraine Stefani looks at the Quality Assurance Agency’s Code of Practice on Students with Disabilities. As well as a recognition that disabled people have been under-represented within higher education and that poor physical access to buildings has created a barrier for many, the code of practice also notes that others have been excluded by teaching methods that have not taken account of their needs. This is an area in which we have an important part to play and Lorraine explores this in her contribution.

We have been trying to get this to your desk before the deadline for the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) latest consultation on the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). If we have succeeded, you may want to make you own response to the HEFCE (the consultation document is at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2000/00_37.htm). Either way, Alan Jenkins provides a robust response to a number of aspects of the consultation and SEDA has also contributed to the discussion on issues which directly affect our members, not least the position of pedagogical research and the relationship between scholarship, teaching and research. You can read SEDA’s response on our website.

As we have indicated in previous issues, SEDA recognises as its main constituency those involved in supporting innovation and change within higher education. Whilst this includes staff and educational developers, as well as teachers in departments, increasingly teams are being formed together with learning technology staff. Helen Beetham reports on a scoping study undertaken on behalf of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) into the roles of learning technology staff. Initial findings make fascinating reading as, together with educational developers, there are questions about whether we are all in new disciplines or emerging professions, or both.

There follows a series of articles further linked to technology: Graham Alsop’s on finding information on educational research; Martin Oliver and colleagues reviewing online resources to support evaluation; and, finally, Rhona Sharpe’s review of web resources for online tutors. The rapid growth of electronic sources of information means that as soon as these articles are published they become out of date. However, they do provide some indication of where to start looking for information, ideas and support and we hope, in due course, to use the SEDA web site to provide more regular updates of both electronic and other resources. We would welcome feedback on the usefulness of these articles and also ideas as to what else you would like to read about.

As befits a membership magazine, we also include a range of news stories: on the Heads of Educational Development Group’s latest meeting from Jude Carroll; Chris Rust on the proposals to restructure one of our accreditation schemes – Professional Development in Higher Education – as part of our strategy to focus on our identified constituency; from Bob Matthew on the current and planned activities of SEDA Scotland, including plans for next year’s Spring Conference in Glasgow; and a particularly welcome column from William Locke on the re-branding of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (CVCP).

Phil Race and colleagues at the European Business School, London, examine the reasons for low student motivation and a range of responses which can be used to address the problem.

David Jenkins and colleagues from Coventry University present the results of a SEDA Small Grant which allowed them to examine educational development units in the UK. This may make interesting reading for our growing number of overseas subscribers and is also worthy of comparison with Ray Land’s article on ‘orientations to educational development’ in Issue 1.2 of Educational Developments as well as the various accounts of educational development and developers in the International Journal for Academic Development.

At last someone has taken up our invitations to respond to a contribution to Educational Developments! John Cowan provides a thought-provoking response to David Baume’s ‘Dialogue’ in the last edition of Educational Developments and challenges us to be more robust in the ways we set assessment criteria. Further contributions would be welcomed!

The final three successful bids in the SEDA Small Grant Scheme are detailed, all of which continue our theme of ‘the scholarship of educational development’.

Over the past year we have received a certain amount of feedback about the format and contents of Educational Developments – and most of it has been complimentary. Whilst we hope that we will provide articles of interest to teachers in HE, as we mentioned earlier our constituency is primarily those concerned with innovation and change in learning and teaching. The ideas we want to present are those that help colleagues in an educational development role – including innovative teachers and policy makers.

If you don’t find what you want in Educational Developments, why not send us your own contribution? Or even perhaps join us at our quarterly editorial meetings? Looking back over this and the previous three editions you will see that we have included articles covering a wide range of topics designed to inform, stimulate and challenge us all in our various roles. If there are two areas we have not yet covered they are from policy makers in HE and those from student support and information (including library) roles. Future editions will include more on research, as well as the implications of the QAA and HEFCE for educational developers – all three of these the topics of keynote speeches at forthcoming SEDA conferences.

Ranald Macdonald and James Wisdom


This issue contains articles on:

The QAA Code of Practice: Students with Disabilities 
Dr Lorraine Stefani FSEDA, Centre for Academic Practice, University of Strathclyde

Steering the RAE Juggernaut: Have we missed the boat? 
Alan Jenkins, Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Oxford Brookes University

Learning Technology Scoping Study – lessons for educational developers 
Helen Beetham, Development Officer, Educational Development Unit, University of Plymouth

A Review of Online Resources to Support Evaluation 
Dr Martin Oliver, Higher Education Research and Development Unit, University College London, Dr Jen Harvey, Learning and Teaching Centre, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dr Grainne Conole, Institute for Learning and Research Technology, Bristol University

A Review of Web Resources for Online Tutors 
Dr Rhona Sharpe FSEDA, Institute for Educational Technology, The Open University

Finding Information on Educational Research: The World Wide Web: Chaos, Hindrance and Help? 
Graham Alsop, School of Computing and Information Systems, Kingston University

How to Increase Students’ Motivation 
Phil Race and colleagues from the European Business School, London

The Literal and the Metaphorical: some recent factual and figural accounts of Educational Development Units in British Universities 
David Jenkins, Glynis Cousin and Rakesh Bhanot, Centre for Higher Education Development, Coventry University

Dialogues: Assessment cont. 
Professor John Cowan, Centre for Combined Studies, Heriot-Watt University