The international higher educational landscape is characterised by shifting sands, tectonic activity, erosion, deposition, and occasional volcanism. This fluid context arises in response to changes in policy, modes of provision and technology enhanced learning approaches, a focus on vocational emphases and workplace preparation, while also responding to expanding provision, the metrification of educator / institutional performance, and the casting of students as customers. Expectations of what should be delivered through participation in higher education have consequently changed. Our role as educators has shifted and expanded, from experts imparting disciplinary and technical knowledge using a range of content-focussed pedagogic and assessment approaches, to include dispositional, transformative, “value-added” outcomes that are less tangible, and call for innovative responses to support our students’ journeys, and meet their expectations.
This requires re-visioning of approaches to education that allow disciplinary knowledge outcomes to be achieved, but that also explicitly address evolving expectations. Using Geographic Information Systems education as an exemplar, we will present our experiences from a large UK teaching-oriented university in responding to this changing landscape. We consider curriculum design, pedagogic approaches, and assessment strategies. We will evidence the benefits that accrue to our students, and importantly, their awareness of these benefits.
We conclude that meeting the expectations of modern students is not only possible, but also that subjects traditionally framed as technical in particular, lend themselves to pedagogic approaches that can achieve a new extended set of educational outcomes.