As more HE institutions increase their fully online learning provision, there is a need to ensure that teaching staff have the necessary confidence and digital capabilities to deliver engaging learning, teaching, and assessment at scale. Findings from the 2018 ALT annual survey (Hawksey, 2019) highlighted that staff development opportunities are a key priority and driver in the UK education sector.
This presentation will focus on an innovative online staff development resource that has been designed to equip participants with the skills and confidence to create and teach a new set of online masters programmes offered in partnership with edX. The programmes, which include a new micro-credential (or MicroMasters), are part of the institution’s commitment to develop capacity for: delivering distance learning at scale; widening global participation; and exploring more diverse educational provisions.
A gap was identified in existing CPD provision for an online offering that provided staff with practical, creative, and critical experiential learning opportunities. This course adopts a post digital position – where the innovation not ‘the digital’, but rather robust teaching practices within the postdigital space. As de Laat and Dohn (2019) suggest, “learning building on distinctions between ‘the digital’ and ‘the physical’ are becoming increasingly inaccurate”.
Aligned to a wider institutional review of teaching and learning provision three key areas have been prioritised: engaged online teaching; engaged learning communities; and creative and actionable feedback and assessment. Ensuring that online students develop an equivalent sense of community of practice (Wegner, 1998) to their campus-based peers remains fundamental to the overall vision; research shows that community-based teaching approaches serve to mitigate transactional distance (Moore 2013) in online programmes (Kassandrinou et al 2014). Engaged community building is modelled throughout this programme to offset the cognitive and emotional “distance of understandings and perceptions” (Moore 2013) encountered by online students.
During the design process, the team were driven to provide a creative approach to online CPD. The team were cognisant of the need to balance the research on creative approaches to online learning situated within the humanities with STEM approaches to fully engage and give teachers confidence to develop creative, or non-traditional approaches, to supporting online learning communities. To achieve this the course is intended to identify participants as members of a learning community as much as provide practical skills to navigate the digital spaces where much of the teaching of HE is being carried out. It is hoped that this community approach will inspire the development of shared imaginations (Dewulf & Ballie, 1990) (Jackson 2005) in relation to participants confidence to recognised to develop and share their personal creative approaches to designing learning.
This presentation will discuss the conceptual model for the programme, the design process, and will showcase the resource itself as well as future plans to scale up delivery to more teaching staff at the university. It is hoped that the first iteration of learners will have completed the programme at the time of the conference (c. 20 participants) and that if possible initial learner feedback will be shared.
de Laat, M., & Dohn, N. B. (2019). Is Networked Learning Postdigital Education?. Postdigital Science and Education, 1-4.
Hawksey, Martin (2019) Association for Learning Technology Annual Survey 2018 Data and Report.
Kassandrinou, A., Angelaki, C., & Mavroidis, I. (2014). Transactional distance among open university students: How does it affect the learning process? European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 17(1).
Moore, M. G. (2013). The theory of transactional distance. In M. G. Moore (Ed.), Handbook of distance education (3rd ed.) (pp. 66-85). New York, NY: Routledge.
Wenger, Etienne (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-66363-2.