Pedagogical and professional development

I have been to a few great conferences on pedagogical development, which has given me ideas in my role as business manager for online learning. We have talked within our unit here on several occasions, different ways of improving pedagogical development and to enhance student learning.


Why do we teach?

Hybrid pedagogy and an interesting newsletter I read frequently has a good article written by Chris Friend (@chris_friend) on just this “The purpose of education”

Overall, students must have a say in the decisions that affect their learning. For, as Freire says, “to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to change them into objects.” Academia must hold as its objects its studies, not its students. To do otherwise diminishes the value of education because the student is being asked to buy into someone else’s idea of what is worth studying.

With this in mind that the student should have a say in their learning one of the most interesting conferences I went to this year was about Active Student Participation developed at Uppsala University and also in the process of development here at The Teaching and Learning Unit at ECE school..

Alison Cook-Sather from Byrn Mawr College in the USA was the conference’s keynote speaker in October 2015 and shared her experiences on how students and teachers can work in partnership.


“A collaborative reciprocal process through which all participants have the opportunity to contribute equally, although not necessarily in the same ways, to curricular or pedagogical conceptualization, decision making, implementation, investigation, or analysis.” – Cook Sather, Bovill, & Felten, 2014, pp.6-7

Faculty and students can’t be equal but they can contribute in ways that are equitable. Give and take with equal amounts of respect and responsibilities in teaching and learning.

She goes on to tell us a few of the outcomes of Facultly partnerships.

  1. Engagement – enhancing motivation and learning
  2. Awareness – developing meta-cognitive awareness and a stronger sense of identity
  3. Enhancement – improving teaching and the classroom experience

So if I were to create a personal educational development project plan I would try to implement this way of thinking in my courses.

Prioritizing time

Trying to prioritize time in all the other daily activities is very hard and very difficult with pressure to get those grant applications in and be a great teacher.

I would try and create some sort of project plan with my course and get a good Gannt chart going with activities and tasks by using my favourite tool Projectplace to keep track and be transparent with my colleagues.


  • Brief definitions of student engagements:
    • The opposite of alienation (Mann 2008) (engagement rather than alienation)
    • Layered and meaningful participation in and commitment to learning (kuh et al.2010) (it is not a simple process)
    • Involvement, excitement and persistence (Ahlfeldt et al. 2005; Schelecty, 2011; Nygård et al, 2013) (You need to be able to carry out engagement over time)
    • Critical participation as opposed to compliance and questioning as opposed to answering (Nixon, 2012) (about not just excepting things at face value)
    • Emotional as well as intellectual investment (Cook-Sather, 2014) (Not just about the brain but the feeling as well.)

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