Crossing the chasm: opportunities for academic development as teachers go online

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Enhancing Higher Education, Theory and Scholarship Vol. 30

July, 2007, 651 pages
Published by
Geoffrey Crisp & Margaret Hicks
ISBN
0 908557 72 8
Abstract 

Teaching and learning online is now commonplace in higher education yet academic development support for teachers going online is often quite fragmented. This paper focuses on a neglected area of academic development support for teachers going online—the development and adaptation of assessment activities—and the role that informal, one-to-one conversations between teacher and developer can play in helping the teacher to negotiate the transition online, seen by some teachers as a chasm. Three metaphors, (greenfields site, a room makeover, and a partial renovation) are used to illustrate some of the key differences in the approaches a teacher might take in going online. The renovator is the focus of this paper. A renovator wants to do something more significant than splash some paint around, but not as extensive as building a new dwelling. For teachers conversant with ideas of teaching and learning such as constructive alignment (Biggs, 2003), the challenge of going online can be recast in more familiar ways as one of focusing on desired learning outcomes and how appropriately designed assessment activities can be crafted to bring these about.

With evidence from one case, we suggest that a few hours of focused just-in-time conversation can have remarkable results, bearing out the view that the key change in understanding required for teachers going online is that the important questions to think about are those relating to issues of teaching and learning, and not to technology.

Keywords: academic development, online teaching and learning, assessment

Crossing the chasm: opportunities for academic development as teachers go online

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Housego, S. & Anderson, T.