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Fancy a journey around the world?
The Educationalist. By Alexandra Mihai
Welcome to a new issue of “The Educationalist”. This week I am very happy to introduce to you a new initiative I started on my blog, aimed at bringing together faculty development professionals from various corners of the world. These days more than ever we need to talk to our peers from near and far, exchange experiences and ideas and inspire each other. I am thrilled to have started this curation and networking exercise and can’t wait to see where it takes us. And in case you were searching for some food for thought on Higher Education, digital pedagogy and “where to” after Covid, I came across a few very interesting articles that I share with you in this newsletter. I hope you enjoy the reading and have a nice rest of the week!
“Around the world”: a series of faculty development stories
The pandemic and the quick move to online teaching have put faculty development in the spotlight. Over the past year, learning designers and technologists, along with e-learning and distance-learning specialists, have been working tirelessly to support academic staff and ensure that the move to online teaching goes as smoothly as possible. Universities now need to strengthen faculty development structures in order to keep up the momentum and be in a position to provide a cutting-edge educational experience.
In the past months I have been extremely fortunate to get to know (virtually only, of course) some amazing people involved in faculty development in different countries. Throughout the pandemic we’ve kept exchanging ideas and started a great dialogue, both very useful for our practice and thought-provoking in relation to the future of Higher Education and our role in it. My idea to curate some of these stories and present them together on my blog originated in the desire to capture this dialogue, to give it a more sustainable space, compared to the elusiveness of Twitter.
This series aims to showcase examples of faculty development work from a variety of contexts and taking different shapes. The goal is to reflect on our practice and share it with peers in an effort to build a collection of models and ideas that can inspire the broader community.
It’s my great pleasure to introduce the first two contribution to the series. We started our virtual journey in Melbourne, Australia, and continued with a stop in Vaasa, Finland.
In her article “A group-based approach to online course design”, Kate Mitchell (University of Melbourne) outlines a course design approach she used with her colleagues and reflects on what are the benefits, in terms of scalability and sharing practice, and also the challenges that it presents.
Sanna Eronen (University of Vaasa) invites us to reflect on the importance of peer support and collaborative approaches to faculty development. In her article “From solo artists to jazz ensembles: Peer support as a tool for teacher development”, she introduces some practices she is using at her university, including co-design workshops and mentor teams.
Where will the journey take us next? Stay tuned and join us for the next stops to get inspiration from passionate education developers from around the globe!
In the past weeks I came across some very good, thought-provoking articles that I would like to share with you. Some of them are long reads, but really worth the time if you are interested in the current situation of Higher Education, the impact of the pandemic and possible paths ahead. So here we go, in no particular order…
Forget everything you think you know about online engagement, by Linda Kaye: great article unpacking the currently overused concept of “student online engagement”. She points out the risk of focusing on behavioural engagement (with technology) rather than on deep emotional and cognitive engagement (with learning);
Counter-friction to Stop the Machine: The Endgame for Instructional Design, by Jesse Stommel & Martha Burtis: a clear, sad but realistic reflection on what is lacking in terms of Higher Education pedagogy, how Covid exposed it and how unfit for purpose most reactions have been- from buying useless technology to hiring for the wrong profiles;
On Silence: Humanising Digital Pedagogy, by Sean Michael Morris: very interesting article, prompting us to take a critical approach to digital pedagogy and focus on the human aspect and building relationships instead of the technology;
Five Ways Online Learning Can Turn Into an Unmitigated Disaster: while it’s important to look at the positive aspects of teaching and learning online, it is also crucial to assess the possible risks a wrong approach to adopting technology at a larger scale in the future entails. This article does just that;
Learning from Video: A Review of the Literature in Higher Ed, by Cindy Nebel: a short report on a very interesting study about the effects of learning from video. It’s very refreshing to start seeing evidence that gives us a more nuanced picture of the effects the use of various digital media has on learning;
21 Ways to Structure an Online Discussion, by Annie Prud’homme-Généreux: this is the last part of a five-part series providing practical solutions for structuring online discussions. A rich resource to bookmark as a reference for when you are designing you next course.