22 SES 04 E, Learning and Instruction: New perspectives
Context and questions
Higher education exists in a constantly changing environment. Globalisation of learning, digitalisation of learning and teaching are part of this change. While digitalisation will not cause the disappearance of campus-based teaching and learning, it is acknowledged that it alters the way education is delivered and supported (Fahey, 2014).For many this move to digitisation of learning is a decision, a choice, for others it is a requirement, as part of changing pedagogy and plan within an organisation, and where some feel it is imposed upon them.
This research study explores this change in pedagogy and practice, and for some professional identity, with four academics that have moved from a traditional class based lecturing methodology, to one where synchronous delivery is a requirement for programmes they deliver, asking the question
What changes in practice, pedagogy and professional identity occur when transitioning to a digitalised learning environment?
The objectives of the study are to:
- Explore knowledge of, and attitude towards, digitalisation of learning within higher education
- Identify barriers to successful digitalisation of learning within higher education learning environments
- To understand the digital journey from the educators perspective
- Put forward recommendations to support this transition space for those who will become part of this journey
- Contribute to the body of knowledge on digitalisation of learning and the more limited body of knowledge on perceived impact on the academic self.
In doing so the researchers explore existing teaching practices and pedagogies and perceptions of the academic self, and what and how this evolves within a shifting higher education landscape.
Academic identity understood not as a fixed property, but as part of the lived complexity of a person and their way of being in those sites e.g. higher education institutes, classrooms, which are constituted as being part of the academic (Clegg, 2006 p.329). While much of this identity is informed by personal and professional knowledge and expertise, commonalties in values and beliefs are believed to exist on what it is to be an academic (Whitechurch and Gordon, 2010; McTaggart, 2015). The introduction of any new change challenges and redefines some or all of these values: freedom, autonomy, and transmission of culture entangled with concerns over the dilution of the professional role of educating students (Hussey and Smith, 2010).
Technology and digitalisation of learning may be considered one such challenge, impacting on an individual’s symbolic order, understood as “the form that the various species of capital assume when they are perceived and recognized as legitimate” (Bourdieu, 1989, p.17). This order allows academics to recognise themselves in, or identify with, the image presented in the ideology and behave accordingly to who they are and how they behave within a given context (Zizek, 1989 pp. 43-44).
Using a constructivist approach the study will examine these views, values, beliefs, feelings, assumptions, and ideologies of individuals during, and party to, this change (Creswell, 2014). Addressing concerns on the lack of sufficient case studies to facilitate the understanding about the conditions and experiences about those working within higher education (Rhoades, 2007).
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