Developing Belief in Online Teaching Efficacy and Digital Transformation

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Doug Specht Peter Chatterton Peter Hartley Gunter Saunders


Digital pedagogies, blended, hybrid, and online learning are not new, indeed discussions about their role in higher education are well documented. With some notable exceptions however, many of these discussions, and many more attempts at implementation, have been small in scale, operating at the level of a single course, or even single members of staff. Barriers at national, institutional and personal levels all contributed to slow uptake of digital learning. The summer of 2020 though saw institutions across the UK, and indeed the world, forced into rapid transition to online learning in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper examines our work supporting a school - which achieved high student satisfaction rates - within a large post-92 university in this transition. With specific attention to academic identity and efficacy, we examine the approaches that were taken in helping academics to climb over the digital hurdle towards good online teaching. We suggest that a three-pronged approach is needed to overcome these barriers and create the belief in digital that is needed for a successful online transition, and for continued growth. These are a collective ‘all in it together’ approach, placing curriculum, rather than technology at the heart of the work, and also ensuring solid institutional support that does not rely on early adopters.

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