Towards free-range Education within and beyond Academic Development

feedback is very welcome, suggestions too ;o)

feedback is very welcome, suggestions too ;o)

My accepted abstract for the ECEL2011

What can Academic Development (AD) and other professional areas and disciplines learn from free-range farming? Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Educational Practice (OEP) are mushrooming and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) have also started appearing on the horizon. The idea of moving away from battery-type Academic Development Activities and silo modules and programmes towards free-range approaches in line with OEP are explored within this paper based on a recent small-scale, fully-online naturalistic experiment. This brought together academics and other professionals who support learning, from different disciplines and professional areas who are studying towards a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) in Teaching and Learning in HE/Academic Practice during a facilitated open Problem-Based Learning (PBL) task around assessment and feedback using freely available social media. The experiment aimed to explore if online PBL can be used and how within PgCert provisions and provide opportunities to connect, communicate and collaborate in a community of practice beyond institutional walls.

Participants’ experiences in this free-range AD activity were captured through the use of phenomenogaphy as the main methodology and data collection and analysis tool and rich qualitative and quantitative data was collected from individual remote interviews, a series of questionnaires and reflective accounts.

Findings indicate that open or free-range online PBL has the potential to enable learners and educators to break out of virtual silos, enable and widen meaningful collaborative learning within AD in multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional groups something participants in this study commented extremely positively about. This evidences that free-range AD, conducted fully online, blended or face-to-face is the way forward to share available resources and establish more organic and healthy learning communities beyond module, programme and institutional level. Recommendations are made to Academic Developers and other tutors on how to bring learners from different programmes, institutions and countries together online using social media and create the conditions and the environment for a meaningful, rich and fruitful exchange and enable collaborative formal and informal learning or free-range learning.

Up for scrutiny now by you.

I am in the process of composing the paper now. The basic structure is there. Also thinking about the presentation and I definitely will use the hen videos I have used in a previous post.

Watched recently one of David Wiley’s video on Open Education. Really really useful!