Engaging Academics in Collegial Online Professional Development During a Course Renewal Process: Intent and Reflection

Deakin University, Australia

Deakin University, Australia


Large scale curriculum renewal projects in universities present particular challenges for academic course leaders, teaching staff and central academic developers. While acknowledging the difficulties that mandated projects bring to the nature of relationships between all participants in a large scale project, there is also opportunity to support teaching academics to come together collaboratively and reflect on their curriculum. One essential ingredient in completing the large scale project at our university is for Course Leaders to bring individual teaching academics together as a coordinated team in the curriculum renewal process. As central unit academic developers we sought to create professional development resources and strategies that would focus on collaborative learning teams. Our strategy was determined by a number of factors; the ability to provide support for all courses, the desire to assist the formation of academic teaching teams, and the intention to create flexible resources suitable for adaptation to different course contexts. This paper reflects on this professional learning approach and how an online learning resource was presented as a collaborative opportunity rather than an individual space for professional learning. Our reflection is framed by three key questions. What promoted collaboration within the course teams? What hindered collaboration? How could we enhance our framework for our work in the future? We conclude that a subtle, nuanced approach is needed for professional learning to occur in academic teaching development. When provision of Academic Professional Development is linked to large scale curriculum renewal projects, it is essential to create learning opportunities for academics to be collegial in their teaching teams.

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