Being there: strategies for incorporating the student voice into the learning experience of a large first-year marketing course in a New Zealand university


  • Mary FitzPatrick University of Waikato
  • Janet Davey University of Waikato
  • Dorothy Spiller University of Waikato



student ownership, tutors, storytelling


Higher education (HE) researchers and practitioners comment regularly on the difficulties of encouraging students to be fully present in the large-class learning experience. Educators who want to honour and promote the student voice need to design teaching and learning spaces that help students make emotional and cognitive connections with course learning, enabling them to be partners in directing the learning and to assume the role of co-inquirers. This paper describes a case study in a first-year marketing course in a New Zealand university in which a student tutor’s photo-narrative was designed to achieve these goals. Students’ evaluations indicated that the strategy promoted personal engagement and increased ownership of the learning. Photo-narrative storytelling offers HE practitioners an effective means to connect theoretical content to students’ own lives, and enhance student ownership of the learning. Inviting students to create their own photo-narratives could create a learning experience that approximates more closely to a learning partnership.

Author Biographies

Mary FitzPatrick, University of Waikato

Dr. Mary FitzPatrick, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Marketing, Waikato Management School.

Janet Davey, University of Waikato

Janet Davey is a PhD candidate at the University of Waikato

Dorothy Spiller, University of Waikato

Dorothy Spiller is a teaching and learning facilitator at the University of Waikato.


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How to Cite

FitzPatrick, M., Davey, J., & Spiller, D. (2013). Being there: strategies for incorporating the student voice into the learning experience of a large first-year marketing course in a New Zealand university. Enhancing the Learner Experience in Higher Education, 5(1), 38–48.



Critical case studies