DEHub/Research Themes/PD

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Research themes
1. Theories and models
2. Globalisation of education and cross-cultural aspects
3. Access, equity, social inclusion and ethics
4. Professional Development & Faculty Support
5. Learner support and development approaches
6. Curriculum design
7. Interaction and communication in learning communities
8. Distance teaching systems and institutions)
9. Research methods in distance education and knowledge transfer
10. Quality assurance
11. Innovation and change
12. Costs and benefits
13. Management and organization
14. Educational technology
15. Learner characteristics
16. Open Education Resources (OERs)

Professional Development & Faculty Support

This category of research will consider professional learning and faculty support services as a prerequisite to innovation and change. Of primary importance is identifying the competencies of online teachers and how they can be developed.

Guiding question

What strategies and approaches are required at institutional level to support the higher education workforce in the provision of distance learning opportunities relating to current changes in the internal and external environment....socio-political environment, government policy, students and communities?

Research Questions

  • What are the implications for professional development with the expansion and development of the global distance education market with technological mediated teaching and learning?
  • How do professionals wish to learn? What strategies are most effective in gaining commitment and change?

Highly Recommended Priority Links


Learning Technologies Catalogue This site is for teaching staff who want to learn how to use learning technologies effectively in their teaching, and e-learning teams who design online programmes.
This was an collaborative project between Epigeum, based at Imperial College, and 18 universities from the Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Holland. ‘Learning Technologies Online’ is a series of seven interactive, media-rich online courses developed for academic staff who want to exploit the potential of learning technologies in their teaching.....The project took two years to complete and was delivered with the help of a host of eLearning experts including Profs Diana Laurillard (IOE), Geoff Crisp (Adelaide), Mark Brown (Massey), Ron Oliver (Edith Cowan), Rhona Sharpe (Oxford Brookes), Terry Anderson (Athabasca), and Larry Ragan (Penn State). The courses are now available on general license to universities and colleges around the world. (DE Quarterly, No 3, Summer 09/10)


The «Zurich E-Learning Certificate» A role model for the acquirement of eCompetence for Academic Staff and an example of a practical implementation by Benno Volkand and Stefan Andreas Keller, 2010 number 1. Quoting from the Abstract:
...this article underlines the necessity for a science-based discussion of adequate didactical concepts how academic staff should become media-savvy and the importance of reflexive learning methods in further education programs to acquire e-Competence.

The Journal of Distance Education

Managing Projects for Change: Contextualised Project Management by Belinda Tynan, Rachael Adlington, Cherry Stewart, Deborah Vale, Rod Sims and Peter Shanahan, VOL. 24, No. 1, 187 - 206.
This paper builds on and brings together considerable investigation into how we can support and enhance dissemination of a variety of project-based models that respond to contextual needs and issues. The multiple-school case study methodology serves to provide an approach that is both robust and cognisant of current trends in increased university investment through short-term project funding. The final recommendations will highlight how different approaches to project management are both desirable and essential for successfully embedding change of instructor practices for enhancing student learning in distance education modes.


E-learning in Tertiary Education WHERE DO WE STAND?-ISBN 92-64-009205 © OECD 2005.

E-learning is becoming increasingly prominent in tertiary education. Rationales for its development are wide ranging, complex and contested, including widening access, pedagogic innovation on-campus, enhancement of distance learning, organisational change, knowledge-sharing and revenue generation.....The new work reported in this report involved an in-depth survey of practices in 19 tertiary education institutions operating across the e-learning development continuum. Some are at the leading edge internationally, some in the mainstream and others in the early stages of development. The survey was designed to elucidate both good practice and international trends more generally.

BT Journal

Models of growth - Towards fundamental change in learning environments, BT Technology Journal 22(4): 96-112, 2004 by David Cavallo. The Abstract states that:

This paper proposes that a major reason for the lack of change in education is not due to lack of ideas about learning on a micro or individual level, but rather is due to a lack of models for growth and change at a macro or systemic level. We critique existing models of growth and provide examples of broad social change in other fields. We look at their properties and use those as a guide to thinking about change in learning environments. We propose that there exists a grammar of school reform. We provide examples of attempts to facilitate fundamental change at a large scale, and attempt to synthesise their properties, leading to thinking about new models for growth.


Delivering Staff and Professional Development Using Virtual Learning Environments This paper argues for the use of VLEs in professional staff development:

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) offer an integrated solution to managing online learning, providing a delivery mechanism, student tracking, assessment and access to resources. Although some VLEs can be restrictive, if used effectively, they can provide a familiar, but functional environment for the user. As a unified environment, a VLE is simple and efficient to administer and therefore attractive to the provider.


Online Learning as a Strategic Asset Aug 31 2009. This two-volume report contains the results of 231 interviews conducted with administrators, faculty, and students at 45 public institutions across the country and more than 10,700 responses from faculty across the spectrum of teaching positions – tenure/non-tenure track; full- and part-time; and both those who have and those who have not taught online. Volume I is a response for campus leaders and Volume II is the responses from faculty members titled Paradox of Faculty Voices: Views and Experiences with Online Learning.

International Journal of Academic Development

Volumes 1 to 14 (1996-2009) are available and cover an extensive rage of topics and special interest editions. A particular focus of may article is on the work, theory and practice of Academic Developers. Articles are available in pdf or html.

Special Issue: Research and Development for Early Career Academics, Volume 14 Issue 3 2009 provides five articles across a range of theory and practice based approaches, which include:

  • Cognitive apprenticeship theory...
  • Understanding academic work as a practical activity...
  • Contexts for teaching and the exercise of agency...
  • Using action learning...
  • Developing scholarly communities...

Transformative educational development scholarship: beginning with ourselves, Volume 14, Issue 2 June 2009 , pages 123 - 132.

The paper provides an introduction to self-study for educational developers who are interested in this challenging yet rewarding approach to scholarly inquiry. Educational developers are encouraged to use self-study to explore, improve - and perhaps transform - their own practice, and to contribute to the growth of academic development as a field of study and practice.


Charting the Course and Tapping the Community: The EDUCAUSE Top Teaching and Learning Challenges 2009, EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 44, no. 3 (May/June 2009): 30–45. A good overview of the Challenges project with descriptions of the 10 challenges. Also, worth looking at is Challenges, particularly their diagram under the tap "explore".

Faculty Development for the 21st Century, EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 44, no. 3 (May/June 2009): 46–55. This paper takes the premise that many of today's 21st-century faculty members share some characteristics with their next gen students. With this in mind there are still may issues to be addressed concerning faculty development. The Author outline a five year plan from Graduate Students, Teaching Assistants as year 0, to year 1 with New Faculty Members and then years 2-5 for Established Faculty Members. A relatively short paper but well worth the read.

The Three-E Strategy for Overcoming Resistance to Technological Change,EDUCAUSE Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 4 (October–December 2008). The Three-E Strategy is built around the technology being:

  • evident
  • easy
  • essential.

The author states that:

This “Three-E Strategy,” if applied properly, has been at the core of every successful technology adoption throughout history. Let’s look at these concepts in greater detail.

Mentoring Information Kit.

The Mentoring Information Kit includes resources on mentoring programs, as well as finding a mentor or becoming one. Learn all about effective mentoring and the ways it can boost your career, whether you are a mentor or a mentee...Research has documented the following benefits of career mentoring relationships:
  • Enhanced career development and advancement of the mentee
  • Enhanced compensation for the mentee
  • Enhanced career satisfaction for both the mentee and the mentor
  • Increased managerial productivity for those who are mentees
  • Increased employee retention for the mentee.

Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET)

Examining barriers in faculty adoption of an e-portfolio system, 2009, 25(5), 627-644.

This paper is a report on the findings of a study conducted on the implementation of a portfolio system at the University of Kentucky. Interviews were conducted with faculty members and university supervisors about the use of a portfolio management tool that had been implemented in the teacher education program. Factors such as small program size and ability to engage in frequent interpersonal communication decreased the perceived need for a management information system. Faculty placed more value in high resolution data sources, but tended to use low resolution data when program size increased.

Engaging professional learning in online environments, 2009, 25(5), 700-713. Authors: Amani Bell and Gayle Morris.

Much of what is regarded as effective professional learning is that which is situated, incorporates a social dimension and enables practitioners to converge in and around authentic practice. This article describes an inter-university online learning resource for tutors which is underpinned by a practice based approach to professional learning. The emphasis is on seeing authentic, discipline specific practice via a large bank of multimedia clips of experienced tutors and reflection on that action through the incorporation of reflective triggers. Evaluation suggests a fruitful way forward for supporting learning at work.

Research Online (University of Wollongong)

Faculty development for new technologies: Putting mobile learning in the hands of the teachers. This chapter appears in New technologies, new pedagogies: Mobile learning in higher education, Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, 2009, by Jan Herrington, Anthony Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Ian Olney and Brian Ferry (editors).

International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning

The eEducator Module: A New Approach to the Training of Online Tutors, by Gordon Joyes, Carol Hall and Siew Ming Thang. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 4(4), pp. 130-147. August 2008. Quoting from the Abstract:

This article describes the rationale behind the design of the various components and activities of the tutor training module including aspects of the development process and the research pilot into localisation at the Universiti Sains Malaysia.

The voice of experience. Interview with Tony Bates. An interview by Silvia –Adriana Tomescu , Librarian, Central University Library Bucharest with Tony Bates, former Research Chair in e-Learning, Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain and President and CEO of Tony Bates Associates Ltd.

Other sites to explore

Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology

How Research Moves into Practice: A Preliminary Study of What Training Professionals Read, Hear, and Perceive, V35(1) Winter, 2009. This study on what training professionals read, hear and perceive about research and practice suggest that:

...the study seems to suggest that publications have a wider reach among practicing professionals than conferences and, of those publications, professional magazines have a wider reach than peer-reviewed journals. The study also suggests that “locally” published and presented research (in this case, local refers to Canadian and training-related) is more likely to be read than that produced by other organizations and that, outside of the immediate professional community, trainers have a limited awareness of other sources of content.

Instructional Technology and Objectification, Volume 33(3) Fall, 2007. The authors Bekir S. Gur and David A. Wiley:

argue that objectification increases bureaucratic control over the teaching process and deskills teachers; and by which teachers are proletarianized. The authors conclude that instructional designers should create structures in which a care relation and dialogue between students and teachers can take place.

Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning

Online informal professional development for distance tutors: experiences from The Open University in Scotland, Volume 23, Issue 1 February 2008 , pages 43 - 55. Academic staff who work away from the university campus have few informal opportunities to keep in touch with their peers, and the provision of appropriate professional development for them can be problematic. At the Open University in Scotland an online forum provides a platform for the development of an informal community of distance tutors. It encourages exchange and reflection on the subject of using online media to support students, and has been running continuously for over three years. This paper presents the findings from research undertaken to establish who uses the forum, how and for what purposes, and draws out issues relevant to others supporting and developing staff at a distance

Roles and competencies of academic counsellors in distance education, Volume 20, Issue 2 June 2005 , pages 147 - 159. The abstract states:

This paper identifies the roles performed by academic counsellors at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and the competencies required for each role. It also provides a generic list of competencies required to perform as an academic counsellor. Based on self-rating of the competency of a group of academic counsellors, the paper recommends the training of academic counsellors and the development of distance teaching materials for use in competence-building.


Top-Ten Teaching and Learning Issues, 2007. The EDUCAUSE Advisory Committee for Teaching and Learning (ACTL)provide the top 10 technology related teaching and learning for higher education in 2007. The authors explore each of these issues and identify a number of themes running across these issues. These include:

  • assessment
  • changes in student, faculty, and institutional expectations
  • collaboration and how we work together
  • ethics, privacy, and data stewardship.

Incremental Innovations: Changing the Culture of Teaching and Learning, EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 42, no. 5 (September/October 2007): 6–7. This short paper outline the strategic initiative process at the University of Gallen, Switzerland to change their teaching and learning approach with the introduction of technology to replace 25% of their teaching with what they describe as technology-enhanced self-studies. The paper makes recommendations for continually changing the existing culture of teaching and learning and implementing constant change as a learning organisation.

Doing What I Don’t Know How to Do, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 1 (January–March 2008), pp. 4–5. The article is prefaced with:

Leveraging a faculty learning community has helped me do things I didn't know how to do with technology, including podcasting my lectures.

Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

Manual for the Tutors of Learning Centres in Open Schools, 2008.

This is a manual for all those who would like to take up the challenging task of acting as a Tutor in an educational programme following Open and Distance Learning (ODL) methodologies. To introduce the concept of self-learning, an attempt has been made to make the manual self-instructional so that it is:
  • Self paced (i.e., it allows you to work through it on your own);
  • Easy to read;
  • Easy to follow the instructions;
  • Illustrated with examples to enhance understanding;
  • Activity based to provide opportunities to reflect on and apply your knowledge while studying.


More related sites can be found at the DE Hub Delicious site.

Alan Wylie 06:09, 4 November 2009 (UTC)