Higher Education

, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 195–208

Addressing potential challenges in co-creating learning and teaching: overcoming resistance, navigating institutional norms and ensuring inclusivity in student–staff partnerships

  • C. Bovill
  • A. Cook-Sather
  • P. Felten
  • L. Millard
  • N. Moore-Cherry

DOI: 10.1007/s10734-015-9896-4

Cite this article as:
Bovill, C., Cook-Sather, A., Felten, P. et al. High Educ (2016) 71: 195. doi:10.1007/s10734-015-9896-4


Against a backdrop of rising interest in students becoming partners in learning and teaching in higher education, this paper begins by exploring the relationships between student engagement, co-creation and student–staff partnership before providing a typology of the roles students can assume in working collaboratively with staff. Acknowledging that co-creating learning and teaching is not straightforward, a set of examples from higher education institutions in Europe and North America illustrates some important challenges that can arise during co-creation. These examples also provide the basis for suggestions regarding how such challenges might be resolved or re-envisaged as opportunities for more meaningful collaboration. The challenges are presented under three headings: resistance to co-creation; navigating institutional structures, practices and norms; and establishing an inclusive co-creation approach. The paper concludes by highlighting the importance of transparency within co-creation approaches and of changing mindsets about the potential opportunities and institutional benefits of staff and students co-creating learning and teaching.


Co-creation Partnership Student engagement Democratic education Diversity 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Bovill
    • 1
  • A. Cook-Sather
    • 2
  • P. Felten
    • 3
  • L. Millard
    • 4
  • N. Moore-Cherry
    • 5
  1. 1.Academic Development Unit, Learning and Teaching CentreUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland, UK
  2. 2.The Teaching and Learning InstituteBryn Mawr CollegeBryn MawrUSA
  3. 3.Center for Engaged LearningElon UniversityElonUSA
  4. 4.Centre for Enhancement of Learning and TeachingBirmingham City UniversityBirminghamUK
  5. 5.School of Geography, Planning and Environmental PolicyUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland

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