Aarhus Universitets segl

Online professional development for educators in higher education

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapport/proceedingKonferencebidrag i proceedingsForskningpeer review

Research topic/aim:
This paper presents research from an online professional development (oTPD) project KUBU for educators in higher education across disciplines in engineering, architecture and building construction. The theme is digital technology in teaching and digital solutions for problem-solving and collaboration in the building industry. KUBU is a flexible online course with 4 modules and primarily asynchronous participation over 2–3 months. One of the modules included teaching development in the educators’ own practice.

Research questions:
• What is the effect of KUBU on participants’ professional digital competencies?
• Which “active ingredients” in KUBU appear to be determent for the effect?

Theoretical framework:
There is a need for flexibility in professional development in higher education, hence blended and/or online models are often suggested including approaches with support for online communities and networking. We refer to a broad understanding of professional digital competencies. The TPACK model is frequently used in international research; however, only with few studies on educators in higher education. Additionally, the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and a model of learning adoption trajectory have been applied. The latter describes a potential development in teaching with technology from merely using, experimenting, and systematically evaluating towards researching and teaching colleagues. The term “active ingredients” refers to how factors related to institutional framing, course design, and course delivery identified in an initial literature review on oTPD for educators in higher education were applied and affected the perceived outcomes.

The research has been independent of the implementation, but with input in the process, for example from a literature review at the initiation. The research has followed a sequential mixed methods design with pre- and post-surveys in three rounds (2020-22), and post-interviews in June 2022 with participants, steering group, and project leader.

The data shows a moderate perceived outcome, however, with development towards a more systematic experimenting and evaluated practice, and with several examples of derived effects in teaching and collaboration after the course. Findings from a reflexive thematic analysis are used to discuss the active ingredients. Differences among institutions and participants in how KUBU has been prioritized and the institutional support appear to be determent. Leaders refer to the focus in KUBU as aligned with the institutional strategy, but the strategy has not been shared with participants who have not experienced much support or local follow-up. Hence, the derived effects in teaching and collaboration mainly consist of individual initiatives. Collaboration and networking appear to be among the most important active ingredients, for example when colleagues are participating together but also networking across institutions. However, there have also been challenges with online cooperation due to the asynchronous activities. Altogether, the research identifies a set of design principles for oTPD for educators in higher education as well as discussing drivers and barriers related to the participants’ outcomes.

Relevance to Nordic educational research:
The theme of oTPD for educators in higher education is relevant in all countries and addresses the conference theme about digitalization and technology in education.
Udgivelsesår15 mar. 2023
StatusUdgivet - 15 mar. 2023
BegivenhedNERA conference 2023: Digitalization and Technologies in Education – Opportunities and Challenges - Oslo, Norge
Varighed: 15 mar. 202317 mar. 2023


KonferenceNERA conference 2023

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