22 SES 01 C, Academic Work and Professional Development
Parallel Paper Session
This research is concerned with informal staff development on an online lecturer education programme at University of Dundee, the Teaching Qualification (Further Education) or TQ(FE). It pertains to thematic research field (3) Academic work and professional development.
In the academic year 2009 a new tutoring system was introduced onto the TQ(FE) programme; since then, instead of each tutor having a quota of students to support throughout their studies as personal tutor, all the students have access to all the tutors, who now undertake their tutoring on a rota basis. The new system comprises a blog, a microblog and a generic email account, all of which operate under the badge ‘TQFE-Tutor’. The primary reason behind the creation and implementation of TQFE-Tutor was the need to continue to provide high quality online tutoring to programme participants in the context of reduced staffing. However, once the new system was launched, it became apparent that there was another, unintended consequence: apparent benefits in terms of informal staff development. This research investigated that consequence.
The need for effective use of ICTs throughout educational sectors has long been recognised and is a recurring motif in European initiatives over the past decade. In the context of an online programme perhaps more than in some HE contexts, staff need to be conversant with technological developments; they embody the notion that ‘All… staff of higher education institutions should be equipped to respond to the changing demands of the fast evolving society’ (European Ministers responsible for Higher Education, 2009:2). Teaching staff on the TQ(FE) programme model practice which may subsequently be taken up for use by their lecturer participants in their own classrooms in the college sector; it is clearly important that there is appropriate provision for their own staff development.
Whilst the University has a professional development department, which provides generic training programmes for teaching staff, when it comes to professional development specifically required for the programmes within which tutoring is being undertaken, this falls within the remit of the programme team. Drawing on Boud’s (1999) recognition that much academic development is informal and takes place where the academics happen to be, Cornelius and Macdonald (2008) posited that in the case of online tutors this would be online and this is the case in the TQ(FE) context too; not all of the programme tutors are based on campus and the majority of the contact between team members takes place online. The TQFE-Tutor model differs from the Open University one explored by Cornelius and Macdonald, however, in the fact of the tutor function being centralised; the Open University used a personal tutor model, with 25 participants per part-time tutor. The current researcher noticed that the centralisation of the TQ(FE) tutor team appeared to offer a range of benefits in terms of peer support and informal staff development.
The research explored the following questions:
(1) How does TQFE-Tutor provide support and promote informal staff development?
(2) How could the centralised tutoring system provide more/better informal staff development opportunities?
Asselin, M.E. (2003) Insider research: issues to consider when doing qualitative research in your own setting. Journal for nurses in staff development. 19(2):99-103 Bell, A. and Mladenovic, R. (2008) The benefits of peer observation of teaching for tutor development. Higher Education. 55(6): 735 - 752 Boud, D. (1999). Situating academic development in professional work: Using peer learning. International Journal for Academic Development. 4(1): 3–10 Cornelius, S. & Macdonald, J. (2008) Online informal professional development for distance tutors: experiences from The Open University in Scotland. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning. 23(1): 43-55 Council of the European Union (2011) Council Conclusions on the Modernisation of Higher Education. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/educ/126375.pdf Accessed 12.12.11 European Commission - Education and Training (2012) Strategic Framework for Education and Training http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc28_en.htm Accessed 12.12.11 European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education (2009) Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve, 28-29 April 2009. http://www.enqa.eu/files/Leuven_Louvain-la-Neuve_Communique_April_2009.pdf Accessed 20.12.12 Jurasaite-Harbison, E. and Rex, L.A. (2010) School Cultures as Contexts for Informal Teacher Learning. Teaching and Teacher Education. 26(2):267-277 Oliver, D.G., Serovich, J.M. and Mason, T.L. (2005) Constraints and Opportunities with Interview Transcription: Towards Reflection in Qualitative Research. Soc Forces. 84(2): 1273–128 Richter, D., Kunter, M., Klusmann, U., Lüdke, O., Baumert, J. (2011) Professional development across the teaching career: Teachers’ uptake of formal and informal learning opportunities. Teaching and Teacher Education. 27: 116-126 Ritchie, J. & Spencer, L. (1994) Qualitative data analysis for applied policy research in A.Bryman and R. G. Burgess [eds.] Analyzing qualitative data. 1994:173-194
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.