Multi-Faceted Professional Development Models Designed to Enhance Teaching and Learning within Universities

Multi-Faceted Professional Development Models Designed to Enhance Teaching and Learning within Universities

Donald E. Scott (University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada) and Shelleyann Scott (University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-080-4.ch021

Abstract

In this chapter we advocate the reconceptualisation of pedagogical focused professional development to a more flexible and systematic approach and present two technology-oriented models. This chapter is of interest to a range of educational stakeholders including university professional developers, academics, leaders, students, and support staff. Two mixed method case studies of students’ and academics’ experiences of online and blended teaching and learning informed the design of the models. These multi-faceted models are designed to promote effective pedagogically-focused professional development, the scholarship of teaching and learning, social and professional networking, and supportive university leadership all aimed at improving teaching and learning. We articulate how the integration of technology can facilitate all of these important activities. It is anticipated that, if implemented, these models will result in a more pedagogically- and techno- efficacious academy; more satisfied and successful graduates; more informed, involved, and trusted leaders; greater sustainability for programmes; and the enhancement of institutional reputation.
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Background

Teaching and learning in universities is a complex topic and involves quite different stakeholders with differing perspectives. For example, university academics are content or discipline specialists but who also need to be able to teach their students effectively. Academics’ focus is on effective teaching, but is also consumed by institutional expectations such as research, service, and/or leadership. Academics are very important as they select the curriculum, design the learning experiences, and assess students’ learning. Students are also important as they are the other half of the educational equation, as recipients of the learning experiences. Leaders are influential as they have the opportunity, and indeed the responsibility, to monitor the effectiveness of teaching and promote professional development that can enhance teaching and learning. This section introduces key aspects of T&L at universities: an overview of the impact of technology on universities, descriptions of effective pedagogies, the importance of structuring for active learning in the design of courses, and the importance of assessment for effective learning. The chapter does not explore curriculum or content as it is well understood that all academics are experts in their field and therefore should have an excellent command of their discipline upon which they can draw for teaching purposes. We explore the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of effective university teaching and propose models for professional development designed to enhance academics’ capacity to teach within their disciplines, particularly as it relates to contemporary ICT-rich learning landscapes.

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