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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Oliver Mallett
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
Most programmes contain one or two modules that are very unpopular with students. These ‘problem subjects’ are often core modules considered by academics to provide important foundation knowledge, for example statistics and research methods modules or subjects requiring a different knowledge base to the rest of the programme. This paper critically reflects on our experience with a slightly different type of problem subject, Public Sector Management, an optional module that was so unpopular with students that it had not run for several years. Ideas and best practice guidance from teaching and learning literature (in particular Warwick & Ottewill 2004, and Fallows & Ahmet 1999) were reconsidered in this new context with the ideas feeding into a significant process of module redesign. In the redesigned module, more emphasis is placed on demonstrating the relevance of the teaching material and helping the students to experience the subject rather than simply studying it. Further, we demonstrate value in identifying an aspect of the problem subject that will be more appealing to students than the previous offering; in this case the opportunity to look at issues through a management consultancy lens. The article argues for the importance of reconsidering problem subjects as key challenges that can act as a spur to innovation in the design and delivery of these modules.
Author(s): Warwick P, Mallett O
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
Print publication date: 21/07/2017
Acceptance date: 21/07/2017
Date deposited: 21/06/2017
ISSN (electronic): 1750-8428
Publisher: University of Glasgow, Learning and Teaching Centre