July 2014

Welcome to our fourth issue of the Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice (JPAAP). This issue is our third regular issue, and follows on from our first Special Issue on the theme of Defining Scholarship within College-based Higher Education which was well received when published earlier this year. Our new issue sees another first for JPAAP, which is the first anniversary of the journal.

Since our first issue in June 2013 JPAAP has exceeded our initial expectations both in terms of the number of submissions and special issue proposals we have received, and also in the support the journal has received for our aim to provide a collegiate, developmental platform for the sharing of research, case studies, opinions and emerging work in relation to the various dimensions of academic practice the journal covers. While we set out to provide a platform particularly for those who are new scholars and researchers in the field, JPAAP has also been fortunate to receive submissions from those who are well-established nationally and internationally – as the list of contributing authors for this issue attests to. We know that many of the authors, both new and established, who contribute to JPAAP are doing so because they believe in the developmental and open approach of the journal, and that applies to our growing number of reviewers too.

Our contributing authors and reviewers have ensured a successful first year for JPAAP, and we look forward to developing the journal in collaboration with our authors and reviewers. We are also in the early stages of establishing an Editorial Steering Group for JPAAP, comprised of colleagues in the sector who have expressed an interest in becoming actively involved in the continuing development of the journal, and who will help ensure that the journal’s ethos, themes and approach stay relevant going forward. The Editorial Team will have more to share on this exciting next stage in the growth of JPAAP as the Editorial Steering Group comes together.

For now, we hope our new issue will provide readers with a rich range of original research papers, case studies and articles that will resonate with at least some of their own interests and academic practices. We think there is much to choose from.

Creative and effective approaches come to the fore in several papers in the current issue, including Sam Kelly and Errol Rivera’s Opinion Piece which recounts a very recent experience in the collaborative redesign of a Creative Writing MA by teachers and students. Collaboration and scholarly relationships between teachers and students is also central to the paper by Kathrine Jensen, Joelle Adams and Karen Strickland, in which they explore dimensions of ‘inspirational’ teaching that extend beyond notions of excellence. The subjective nature of excellence in learning and teaching, and the methods that can lead us towards this, is central to Tony Wright’s On the Horizon paper addressing differentiation in Higher Education.

Issues around reflective practice and peer review are introduced across the papers above, and are expanded upon in the research paper by Marion Engin and the case study paper by Chrissi Nerantzi and Scott Despard. Both papers look at reflection on practice, with the former paper exploring teaching observation as a lens for self-refection, and the latter asking whether LEGO® models can aid reflection in learning and teaching practice. Dimensions of learning and teaching effectiveness in the context of professional development for academics are addressed by Hazel Christie and Daphne Loads, who present their work in rethinking an orientation event for new academic staff, and in the paper by Jennifer Leigh, which reports on a study addressing how part-time academic staff, including hourly-paid lecturers, perceived the support and development opportunities available to them.

The challenge of evidencing the effectiveness and value of academic development amongst those with a vested interest in it – including academics, faculties, senior management and the academy itself – is then addressed by Cathy Gunn, Linda Creanor, Neil Lent and Keith Smyth in a paper that provides illustrative examples at sector, institution, programme and practice levels.

Dimensions in digital and digitally-enhanced practice continue to be a key focus in the submissions JPAAP receives, and we have two papers in the current issue that address different aspects of this. In their research paper, Frank Rennie and Patricia Reynolds compare and contrast two different models for sharing digital open educational resources (OERs) in terms of ease of use and contextualisation, and then offer a number of suggestions for OER development. Meanwhile, in her On the Horizon piece, Claudia Megele offers a conceptualisation of Twitter and Twitter chats as a continuous multilogue within communities of practice and communities of interest.

In our final article for the current issue, Lynn Boyle offers a review of the recent book BITE Recipes for Remarkable Research (2014) edited by Alison Williams, Derek Jones and Judy Robertson. Lynn notes that the text brings “information and examples together in a creative and pleasurable way, giving a new perspective on research and on the amplification of academic research”.

In a similar vein we hope that the papers in this issue of JPAAP provide you with many new perspectives, and that they amplify the contributing authors’ academic practice and research in ways that will help you to enhance your own.

The Editors
July 2014