Participatory professional development: Designing a mobile website that links student feedback with best practice teaching resources

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 39: The Shape of Higher Education

July, 2016, 391 pages
Published by
Melissa Davis & Allan Goody

Professional development aims to improve teaching through working with individual academics to influence practice and through establishing systems and policies that lead to change. These multiple approaches have been shown to influence the quality of teaching and enhance the student learning experience. While effective, such approaches can be labour- and time-intensive, and do not necessarily provide academics with targeted support. To address these challenges, we designed a mobile website that aims to provide academics with access to resources in a way that fits into their busy schedule. A key feature of the website is to provide academics with their student evaluation of teaching (SET) data, which plays an important role in professional development. This enables academics to track their SET data over time and to directly access personalised resources linked to their SET results. Resources include online articles, case studies, and videos, and they are tailored to academics, based on elements of their teaching context such as discipline, class size, and assessment type. The website also offers social features to promote self-directed and collaborative learning, including options to comment on resources and directly contact other academics, such as the authors of specific case studies. We drew on a design-based methodology and evaluated the website through a series of interviews, focus groups, and a semester-long trial. Our findings offer insights into academics’ professional learning, recommendations for additional design features of the mobile website, and guidance for universities looking to offer alternative approaches to professional development.

Keywords: professional development, student feedback, mobile website