JPAAP Editorial

Vol 6, issue 1 (2018)

Welcome to the latest issue of JPAAP. We go from strength to strength, attracting a wide range of papers from across the world. Before I comment on the papers contained in this issue, I’d like to thank the authors, reviewers and editors who put such a lot of hard work into the journal.

The papers in this issue raise a number of important topics which occupy the sector at the moment. Federica Verdina and Josh Brown explore casualisation of the academic workforce in the Australian context, something that we are all too familiar with, where ever we work. Related to casualisation of staff is the next paper by Catherine Dennis, John Lemon and Vasilis Louca, who look at student term-time employment and attainment. As an adviser of studies to undergraduate students who often had to make ends meet, I’m concerned with students who have to work, however, I can see the benefits of working if it doesn’t impact on other aspects of student life.

We have five papers which look at student learning and aspects of accessibility. Amanda Sykes, John Hamer and Helen Purchase present work done on Peerwise and uncertainty resolution. I’m a great fan of supporting students in the liminal space, and encouraging them to explore contrasting and opposing evidence, and this work uses technology to support it. The second technology paper by Michael Bass and Siavosh Haghighi Movahed, looks at Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as a means to enable widening participation. The final two papers take a look at undergraduate research and flexible learning. Janis Davidson and Minna Lyons explore the effects of conference presentation on undergraduates, while John Bostock looks at flexible learning. Both papers emphasise the relationships between staff and students, and the social nature of learning, which we all need to keep in mind. Finally, Claire Stocks explores the support of Graduate Teaching Assistants’ professional learning via action learning.

Two papers tackle teaching excellence and supporting scholarship. Ruth Pickford has developed a blueprint for Teaching Excellence, which can be used by individuals and organisations, especially useful in the current climate of metrics-based evaluation. Fiona Barnes, Sue Cole and Ingrid Nix focus on online learning, exploring a small scale project which aims to support pedagogic expertise in that area.

We move to identity and a group of papers, looking at diverse aspects of professional and academic identity. Mark Minott’s paper ponders the beliefs of external examination invigilators, and the relation to examination policy. Having experienced a system which changed from academics invigilating their own exams to one where outside invigilators were brought in, this topic was one of interest for me, as I remembered times of great anxiety as a module leader who was no longer allowed to be present when my students were taking an exam. Cathy Maginnis examines the development of professional identity of becoming a nurse, from the point of view of both higher education and the nursing profession.

The final paper looks at methodology. Edward Noon critiques the use of Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis as a methodology for educational research. For those new to educational research, and those whose backgrounds are more quantitative, this is an interesting introduction to an alternative methodology for research.

I think you’ll agree that these make up an interesting and diverse issue. I continue to be impressed with people’s creativity and the variety of paper topics that come through the journal.

Have a great summer.

Anne Tierney for the JPAAP Editors

15th Enhancement Conference
Evaluation, Evidence and Enhancement: Inspiring Staff and Students
7 June 2018, Glasgow Caledonian University
Registration closes 18 May 2018

“Are we using the right evidence to bring about change and genuinely improve the student experience?”

This hot topic will be explored at the UK’s leading learning and teaching conference across four main tracks:

This event attracts higher education professionals from across the globe and inspires ideas around how to use evidence to evaluate the student experience and enhance student success. It will showcase outputs from the Evidence for Enhancement: Improving the Student Experience Theme which considers data and metrics alongside creative and qualitative approaches to using evidence. Keep up to date with all the latest conference news on the Conference website and on twitter using #ETConf18. 


The Conference will have not one but two internationally renowned keynote speakers presenting. We will hear from: 

George Siemens, Professor and Executive Director of Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge Research Lab at University of Texas, Arlington, who will explore the use of evidence to support new models of learning that continue to gain attention around learning and technology. Follow George on twitter @gsiemens

Camille Kandiko Howson, Head of Student Engagement at King's College London. In the wake of the Teaching Excellence Framework with its focus on student outcomes and learning gain has ignited debate about what learning gain actually means. To shed light on this, Camille will be present her research on this the ways in which it can (or cannot) be effectively measured. Follow Camille on twitter @cbkandiko

Who should attend

This Conference will be of interest to a wide range of higher education colleagues including:


If you are a student based at a Scottish higher education institution (HEI), or are a student / staff member based at a rUK HEI, you can register to attend the Conference until 18 May 2018.

***Please note all funded places are currently full for staff based in Scottish HEIs. We are operating a waiting list and anticipate being able to offer some additional funded places as we get nearer to the Conference date. If you are staff based at a Scottish HEI and would like to be added to the list, please email us at Please do not register for a staff paid place if you are from a Scottish HEI.***