• marvin-meyer-SYTO3xs06fU-unsplash

A communal approach to digital transformation in education is needed to succeed, Westminster researchers suggest

A Research Paper by Doug Specht, Peter Chatterton, Peter Hartley and Gunter Saunders, published by Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice

A new study led by Doug Specht, Director of Teaching, Learning and Quality Assurance for the School of Media and Communication, suggests that a three-pronged approach is needed to overcome the digital hurdle towards quality online teaching.

The newly-published research found that by combining training, creating a level playing field and providing a parallel support network, it is easier for institutions and their colleagues to overcome technological and efficacy hurdles. Once over these barriers, they found that sufficient time for experimentation before teaching began allowed for consolidation of ideas and formation of new digital teaching identities. These new findings examine how digital tools can enhance the curriculum and how they can lead to a vastly improved experience for colleagues and students alike.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, focuses on leading the digital transformation within the School of Media and Communication at Westminster to support the move to online learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent devising and delivery of a six-week staff development course entitled ‘Planning and Implementing an Online Course’.

As a result of the training programme, 79% of students from the School reported that they felt engaged learning online compared to a national average of 41% according to WonkHE, 80% of the School’s colleagues felt support for moving online was good or excellent, again, well above the sector average. Student and colleague feedback confirmed that the training and support provided for the School was generally successful, ensuring academics were capable and confident in delivering online learning.

The training programme brought together the Learning Innovation and Digital Engagement (LIDE) team, two educational consultants, the School’s senior leadership team, the library team and 117 full and part-time colleagues to take part in the training programme. The researchers conducted a survey with Westminster colleagues to understand their needs and then held six weeks of blended training sessions covering guiding principles and models for design and building a learning community and communication, content creation, curation and engagement and assessment and collaboration. Five clinics also took place to discuss professional and employability skills, assessment and feedback, student engagement, cultural and language issues, content creation and curation.

Talking about the new research, Doug Specht said: “The last year was truly unprecedented, and while the way in which we found ourselves working, 100% online, is something that we all hope won’t be required again, it’s important to look very closely at what worked, and what didn’t, to help inform changes in the future. I hope that this research will foster further conversations about how higher education institutions invest in staff development in a way that that creates more future proof pedagogies and ways of working.”

Read the full paper on the Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice website.

Doug Specht

About

Doug Specht is a Chartered Geographer (CGeog. FRGS) and a Senior Lecturer (SFHEA) at the Communication and Media Research Institute, within the University of Westminster. His research examines how knowledge is constructed and codified through digital and cartographic artefacts, focusing on development issues, and he has written on this subject in numerous books and papers. He has also spoken on topics of data ethics and mapping practices at conferences and invited lectures around the world. He is a member of the editorial board at Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, and sits on BSi committee IST/36 Geographic Information, where he focuses on geographic data in the SDGs. Doug is additionally a trustee of the Santa Rosa Fund, an educational charity; and a core member of the Environmental Network for Central America.

Details

Date
11 August 2021
Research Area
Published By
Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice
Share this article
FacebooktwitterredditlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail
CAMRI | A communal approach to digital transformation in education is needed to succeed, Westminster researchers suggest - CAMRI
class="pirenko_portfolios-template-default single single-pirenko_portfolios postid-4977 samba_theme samba_left_nav samba_left_align samba_responsive thvers_85 wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.5.0 vc_responsive"