Opening Online Academic Development Programmes to International Perspectives and Dialogue

Opening Online Academic Development Programmes to International Perspectives and Dialogue

Catherine Manathunga (TEDI, University of Queensland, Australia) and Roisin Donnelly (The Learning and Teaching Centre, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-814-7.ch005
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Professional development for academic staff in higher education is receiving increasing attention. The focus has been on providing an opportunity for academic staff to enhance their effectiveness in meeting changing needs and roles in higher education. Inherent in this changing role has been meeting the challenges of technology-infused learning environments available for use today. This chapter explores the potential of online academic development programmes to increase collaboration and dialogue amongst participants through integrating opportunities for online interaction. By spotlighting two particular postgraduate programmes in Ireland and Australia, the chapter reports on present experiences of integrating international guests and considers the future of connecting people and technology for academic development in higher education.
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Around the world, there are increasing university and government pressures on academic staff to engage in professional development to improve their teaching and learning practices (Gibbs, 2004; Kezar, 2001; Knapper, 2004; Knight, 2002; McAlpine & Emrick, 2003). Demands are also being placed on academic development units to enable staff to realise the potential of flexible modes of learning for their students. Many higher education institutions have adopted an e-learning strategy whereby academic development is at the forefront of promoting adoption of new technologies to support learning and teaching. The Dublin Institute of Technology’s (DIT) strategic plan illustrates this:

The common objective, in all elements of the Strategic Plan, is the achievement of excellence, through processes of continuous improvement of staff and programmes…to develop modularized eLearning programmes…to foster career development for staff…to train staff to deliver web-based and other learning programmes to students internally and externally in Ireland. (DIT Institutional Strategic Plan, 2001-2015, pp. 15, 17, 19, 21)

So, too, in the Australian context, the University of Queensland’s (UQ) Teaching and Learning Enhancement Plan identifies “exploring new forms of educational interaction supported by information and communications technology” as part of its key goal of developing “flexible and engaging teaching practice,” and commits the university to developing “a university approach to the support of Web-based teaching and learning materials and interactions” (UQ Teaching and Learning Enhancement Plan, 2003-2007, p. 8). Delivering on these kinds of imperatives requires those in academic development units to be increasingly creative and open to new perspectives and collaborative opportunities.

This chapter first explores the impetus for the creation and implementation of online academic development programmes, paying specific attention to the small amount of scholarly discussion on incorporating international guests into these fora. The challenges of running international online development are linked theoretically to models of professional development specifically for blended learning (the combination of face-to-face workshops and online learning activities and interaction). In particular, this chapter adapts Sharpe’s (2004) professional development model for designing e-learning to these case studies. In order to set the scene for our experiences of involving international guests in our academic development programmes, the details of the contexts, curriculum design, and delivery of two diverse case studies are then presented. These case studies are in the fields of e-learning design and remote postgraduate supervision. In particular, we present evaluative data about these approaches based on a range of semistructured participant interviews from each programme over a period of 2 years. Finally, we discuss the implications of these teaching and learning strategies for academic development and for enhancing the international collaboration of academic developers. We also make some recommendations for future research directions.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Charles Juwah
Roisin Donnelly, Fiona McSweeney
Chapter 1
Sabine Little
This chapter has been composed as a piece of reflective practice, and as such traces and researches the development of a new technology-rich... Sample PDF
"Oily Rag" or "Winged Messenger": The Role of the Developer in Multiprofessional Teams
Chapter 2
Rhona Sharpe, Jillian Pawlyn
This chapter reports on an implementation of blended e-learning within three modules in the School of Health and Social Care at Oxford Brookes... Sample PDF
The Role of the Tutor in Blended E-Learning: Experiences from Interprofessional Education
Chapter 3
Diana Kelly
This chapter makes a case for the importance of preparing e-teachers by requiring them to have an experience as an e-learner. The chapter begins... Sample PDF
Modeling Best Practices in Web-Based Academic Development
Chapter 4
Tony Cunningham, Claire McDonnell, Barry McIntyre, Theresa McKenna
This chapter explores the insights gained by a group of teachers from their lived experience as e-learners participating in a blended module on... Sample PDF
A Reflection on Teachers' Experience as E-Learners
Chapter 5
Catherine Manathunga, Roisin Donnelly
Professional development for academic staff in higher education is receiving increasing attention. The focus has been on providing an opportunity... Sample PDF
Opening Online Academic Development Programmes to International Perspectives and Dialogue
Chapter 6
Louise Adele Jakobsen
This chapter, written from experience in implementing e-learning in further education through various roles, identifies key issues relating to... Sample PDF
Embedding E-Learning in Further Education
Chapter 7
Catherine Matheson, David Matheson
This chapter considers some of the major questions around access and accessibility, beginning with the most basic: just what is meant by access and... Sample PDF
Access and Accessibility in E-Learning
Chapter 8
Morag Munro, Barry McMullin
This chapter examines some of the tensions that may exist between e-learning and accessibility in higher education, and aims to redress the balance... Sample PDF
E-Learning for All? Maximizing the Impact of Multimedia Resources for Learners with Disabilities
Chapter 9
Ursula Wingate
This chapter proposes online preinduction courses as an innovative method for preparing students for learning in higher education. It is argued that... Sample PDF
Enhancing Students' Transition to University through Online Preinduction Courses
Chapter 10
Pankaj Kamthan
The discipline of software engineering has been gaining increasing significance in computer science and engineering education. In this chapter, the... Sample PDF
A Methodology for Integrating Information Technology in Software Engineering Education
Chapter 11
Gordon Joyes, Sheena Banks
The focus of this chapter is on the use of technology in the teaching and learning of research methods in masters’ and doctoral programmes in higher... Sample PDF
Using Technology in Research-Methods Teaching
Chapter 12
Richard Walker, Walter Baets
Blended learning occupies a prominent place within higher education teaching strategies, yet there is no clear definition for what we mean by this... Sample PDF
Instructional Design for Class-Based and Computer-Mediated Learning: Creating the Right Blend for Student-Centred Learning
Chapter 13
Ann Donohoe, Tim McMahon, Geraldine O’Neill
The primary purpose of this chapter is to explore how online communities of inquiry can be developed to facilitate students to engage in reflective... Sample PDF
Online Communities of Inquiry in Higher Education
Chapter 14
Nick Pratt
The aim of this chapter is to explore e-learning and e-teaching from a social perspective in order to show how the use of new technologies, like... Sample PDF
Using Multipoint Audio-Conferencing with Teaching Students: Balancing Technological Potential with Practical Challenges
Chapter 15
Timo Portimojärv, Pirjo Vuoskoski
This chapter will illustrate a combination of problem-based learning (PBL), information and communication technologies (ICT), and leadership in the... Sample PDF
The Alliance of Problem-Based Learning, Technology, and Leadership
Chapter 16
Steve Millard
This chapter sets out a number of ways in which effective use of the online discussion board in a virtual learning environment can contribute to the... Sample PDF
The Use of Online Role Play in Preparing for Assessment
Chapter 17
Simon Wilkinson, Heather Rai
This chapter focuses on the use of computers for online summative assessment, in particular for objectively marked items. The aim of this chapter is... Sample PDF
Mastering the Online Summative-Assessment Life Cycle
About the Contributors