16-T9 ICO-Masterclass Research into Higher Education

Educational research within the area of higher education knows diverse themes and issues and many of them overlap with other areas of educational research (Tight, 2003). The issues in the field of research into higher education are related to topics such as learning environments, retention and dropout of students, professional development of teachers, curriculum development, organisational context, assessment, quality assurance and evaluation. Apart from these more generic topics of educational research we can identify issues specifically related to higher education research, such as study success, the teaching-research nexus, supervision of student research, and the Bologna reform. Different types of research methods are applied and both quantitative and qualitative data collecting methods are used. The purpose of this ICO-Masterclass is to provide a broad overview of the current state of research into higher education, in Flanders and the Netherlands as well as internationally.

E-lectures and online learning environment

The ICO-Masterclass programme includes a series of e-lectures about six actual research topics in higher education: 1) self-regulated learning, 2) excellence, 3) diversity, 4) higher education institutions as organisations, 5) competence based higher education, and 6) open online learning. All e-lectures were held in 2014-2015 by Dutch or Flemish established academics in higher education research.



Self-regulated Learning in Higher Education

Prof. dr. Beishuizen


Excellence in Higher Education

Prof. dr. Pilot


Diversity in Higher Education

Prof. dr. Severiens

Higher Education Institutions as Organisations

Prof. dr. Huisman

Competence Based Higher Education

Prof. dr. Mulder

Open Online Learning in Higher Education

Prof. dr. Admiraal


All works best in a Google Chrome or Firefox browser. The buttons in the lower left-hand corner can be used to pause and play, skip back, increase or decrease the playing speed. In the lower right-hand corner there’s a button to change ‘chapters’ within the web-lecture. Under the ‘presentation links’ button in this corner additional course materials (assignments, articles, video’s, links to relevant websites) can be found.

The e-lectures and related online learning environment are open online available to any interested individual. If you want to earn an ICO certificate of attendance you need to follow the certificate track.

Certificate track


The course objectives of the certificate track are that you:

  • have basic knowledge of theories, models and research designs used by researchers within the domain of research into higher education;
  • are aware that research into higher education covers a wide area of themes and topics;
  • have insight in the types of research questions and theories that play a dominant role when investigating topics in higher education;
  • have insight in research methodologies used within diverse types of higher education research;
  • are acquainted with the work of researchers within the area of higher education;
  • can engage in debates about strengths and weaknesses of theories and methodologies often used in higher education research;
  • can translate research questions, methodologies and findings of research into higher education to the context of your own (Phd) research project.

Online learning environment


Six e-lectures and related materials (literature, assignments) are available in an online learning environment (see above). You can use the ‘ask a question’ button to ask any question about a lecture. Questions are directed to the coordinator, who forwards if necessary the questions to others, such as the lecturers. A ‘Polls’ button with evaluation questions about the lecture allows you to give your opinion about the web-lecture. Please give your opinion after you watched the lecture and did the related assignment.


Lecture-related assignments


To each e-lecture an assignment is related. Certificate track participants need to show their acquaintance with the e-lectures and the related assigned literature by completing at least three lecture-based assignments at a sufficient level. The assignments (available in the online learning environment under the ‘presentation links’-button) stimulate you to reflect on the lecture content and to relate the content to your own research project.


Generic assignments


Certificate track participants are required to complete two assignments which are not directly related to a single e-lecture, generic assignments. A first generic assignment is aimed at stimulating you to situate your own research project in the broad research field of higher education. You are requested to elaborate this assignment in preparation for the first face-to-face meeting. The other generic assignment is related to the second face-to-face meeting and asks you to prepare a presentation in which you elaborate the content of one of the e-lectures in relation to your own research project.


Face-to-face meetings


Two face-to-face meetings are organised in which you share and discuss topics in research into higher education with other certificate track participants. Both meetings are guided by the coordinators.

The first meeting helps you to situate your own research project in the broad research field of higher education. You have to read an article and to elaborate an assignment beforehand. During this meeting the outline of the master class and related expectations will be explained as well.

In a second face-to-face meeting you present, in collaboration with some other participants, how your research project can be linked to the content of one of the e-lectures. You have to prepare this presentation individually beforehand.


Assessment criteria


  • Attendance of at least one face-to-face meeting
  • The lecture-based assignments for (at least) three e-lectures completed at a sufficient level
  • The two generic assignments completed at a sufficient level





Kandlbinder, P. (2015). Signature concepts of key researchers in North American higher education teaching and learning. Higher Education, 69, 243-255.

Macfarlane, B. (2015). Dualisms in higher education: a critique of their influence and effect. Higher Education Quarterly, 69(1), 101-118.

Tight, M. (2003). Researching Higher Education (pp. 1-38). Birkshire: Open University Press.


Self-regulated Learning in Higher Education

Pintrich, P.R. (2004). A conceptual framework for assessing motivation and self-regulated learning in college students. Educational Psychology Review, 16(4), 385-407.


Excellence in Higher Education

Scager, K. Akkerman, S.F., Keesen, F., Mainhard, M.T., Pilot, A., & Wubbels, T. (2012). Do honors students have more potential for excellence in their professional lives? Higher Education, 64, 19-39.

Scager, K., Akkerman, S.F., Pilot, A., & Wubbels, T. (2013). How to persuade honors students to go the extra mile; creating a challenging learning environment. High Ability Studies, 24(2), 115-134.


Diversity in Higher Education

Severiens, S., Wolff, R., & van Herpen, S. (2014). Teaching for diversity: a literature overview and an analysis of the curriculum of a teacher training college. European Journal of Teacher Education, 37(3), 295-311.

Thomas, L. (2002). Student retention in higher education: the role of institutional habitus. Journal of Educational Psychology, 17(4), 423-442.


Higher Education Institutions as Organizations

Fumasoli, T., & Stensaker, B. (2013). Higher Education Policy, 26, 479-496.


Competence Based Higher Education

Mulder, M. (2014). Conceptions of professional competence. In: S. Billett, C. Hartels, & H. Gruber (Eds). International Handbook of Research in Professional and Practice-based Learning (pp. 107-137). Dordrecht: Springer.

Mulder, M., Gulikers, J., Biemans, H., & Wesselink, R. (2009). The new competence concept in higher education: error or enrichment? Journal of European Industrial Training, 33 (8/9), 755-770.

Mulder, M., Weigel, T., & Collins, K. (2007). The concept of competence in the development of vocational education and training in selected EU member states: a critical analysis. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 59(1), 67-88.


Open Online Learning in Higher Education

DeBoer, J., Ho, A.D., Stump, G.S., & Breslow, L. (2014). Changing “Course’: Reconceptualizing educational variables for massive open online courses. Educational Researcher, 43(2), 74-84.

Margaryan, A., Bianco, M., & Littlejohn, A. (2015). Instructional quality of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Computers & Education, 80, 77-83.


Study load


The study load for following the certificate track is rated at 60 hours, distributed as follows:


  • Acquaintance with (at least) three e-lectures (6 hours)
  • Reading the assigned literature for (at least) three e-lectures + elaborating the lecture-based assignments for (at least) three e-lectures (24 hours)
  • Two face-to-face meetings (7 hours)
  • Two generic assignments (23 hours)


Calendar and deadlines


Deadline registration certificate track

31 August 2016

Face-to-face meeting 1 (in Utrecht)

29 September 2016, 13-16u

Deadline generic assignment 1

29 September 2016

Deadline first lecture-based assignment

20 October 2016

Deadline second lecture-based assignment

20 November 2016

Face-to-face meeting 2 (in Antwerp or Utrecht)

8 December 2016, 11-15u

Deadline generic assignment 2

8 December 2016

Deadline third lecture-based assignment

20 January 2017





Free for ICO members. For all others € 1000.



The e-lectures and related online learning environment are open online available to any interested individual.

Deadline for registration for the certificate track is 31 August 2016. You have to complete the registration form on the ICO website. Participants who want to register for the certificate track after the deadline is due, are recommended to contact the coordinators.