Understanding what teaching practices ‘work’ for Master’s students in co-badged courses


  • Khristine Grace Valdellon The University of Queensland.
  • Susan Rowland The University of Queensland


postgraduate learning, student experience, appreciative inquiry, co-badged course



Postgraduates value learning experiences that are different from their undergraduate studies (Humphrey & McCarthy, 1999). Currently, there is no published research on postgraduate experiences within ‘co-badged,’ or ‘co-offered,’ courses where undergraduate and postgraduate students share a learning environment. This is important as postgraduates are a vital source of diversity and income for universities.


This study aimed to understand what teaching and assessment practices ‘worked’ for Master’s students in co-badged courses and suggest ways to improve the postgraduate student experience.


This exploratory study used Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider & Srivastva, 1987) to explore Master’s students’ perceptions of valuable teaching and learning practices in co-badged courses.


Using semi-structured interviews, we collected vignettes and stories from Master’s students who have engaged in one or more co-badged courses in science and analysed these against three existing frameworks using NVivo.


Students appreciated a variety of practices, particularly industry-related curricula, being acknowledged as experienced postgraduates, and being able to exchange knowledge with peers and undergraduates. They highlighted important, intangible, affective impacts of their experience that were engendered by respectful co-learning.


Postgraduate students appreciate many aspects of co-badged courses. This study provides a pathway forward for designing co-badged course experiences that are constructive and useful for Master’s students.             


Cooperrider, D. L., & Srivasta, S. (1987). Appreciative inquiry in organizational life. In R.W. Woodman & W. A. Passmore (Eds.), Research in Organizational Change and Development (pp. 129-169). Connecticut: JAI Press.

Humphrey, R., & McCarthy, P. (1999). Recognising difference: Providing for postgraduate students. Studies in Higher Education, 24(3), 95-114.

Author Biographies

Khristine Grace Valdellon, The University of Queensland.

Khristine Grace Valdellon, Honours Student. Faculty of Science, School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience. The University of Queensland, Brisbane Qld 4072 Australia

Susan Rowland, The University of Queensland

Associate Dean (Academic) and Deputy Executive Dean, Faculty of Science Professor of Science Education, School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience The University of Queensland Brisbane Qld 4072 Australia