Cronje, T. & Coll, R. K. (2008). Student perceptions of higher education science and engineering learning communities. Research in Science & Technological Education, 26(3), 295-309.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2819
This paper presents student perceptions of higher education science and engineering learning communities derived from a cross-case analysis of four case studies across the New Zealand university and polytechnic sectors. Here we explore student expectations and experiences of the higher education sector and canvas their views as to the infrastructure and resources in their institutions of study, and how they see their learning serves their careers' aims. Student perceptions of pedagogies employed in their institutions along with their preferred pedagogies follows, including staff-student interactions and consideration of the importance of practical skill development. The paper finishes by considering student perceptions of support structures and an analysis of their understanding of aspects of the nature of science (NoS) and engineering. The research findings suggest the students feel they become more independent and responsible for their own learning, enjoy smaller class sizes and interactive learning activities such as practical work and tutorials, and they stressed the importance of establishing good relationships with their teachers. Polytechnic students were more positive about their learning and felt the practice features of their learning led to enhanced career prospects. Students from university and polytechnic sectors were aware of formal learning support structures but only used them as a last resort, instead they first worked with peers and teachers.