The papers in this Edition of the Journal comprise nine papers, of which three are related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, the papers address the perceptions and experiences of students and their teachers, demonstrating where the views/conceptual understandings of students and their teachers align, where they do not and where stress factors have had an impact. The papers reflect a varied range of participant countries both in terms of the authors, but perhaps more importantly the study sites (Cuba, The Czech Republic, Germany, India, Mexico, Philippines, Slovakia, Spain, and Turkey). Similarly, the programmes of study included Engineering, Mathematics, Tourism, foreign languages, social sciences, and education.
Consequently, the methodologies and methods are appropriately diverse, ranging from social network theory, mixed methods, qualitative research complex statistical analyses, evaluation scales like COPE, Hedperf, student evaluations of teaching, student engagement, and Sojkin’s instrument to evaluate the influences upon first- and second-generation university students. The authors have also generated some very informative literature reviews outlining the evidence base and the related conceptual and theoretical issues in their respective fields. While some studies had small samples, their findings may have important feedback for local educational service improvement, even if generalizability could not be claimed, readers may find utility in face validity. The papers also remind us that educational research is challenging, whether in the handling of small cohorts, the complexity of the issues under study or the application of sophisticated measuring tools. None the less, evaluation, audit, practitioner research or large scale studies are all necessary activities if we are to improve our understandings of (1) ourselves as educators/researchers; (2) our students with their motivations, interests and capabilities; (3) the system infrastructures that hinder or support the educational endeavours; and of course, (4) the efficacy of the pedagogies for a given cohort, in a specific programme in a cultural context.
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