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How can we stay in front of the online learning eight ball? Professional development for tomorrow's university teachers

Tina Kulski, Megan O'Connor, Vikki Pedalina, Stephen Quinton and Daniel Boase-Jelinek
Curtin University of Technology
As universities continue the move towards online course development there is a real challenge for institutions to provide quality support and training for tomorrow's teachers. If academic staff are to successfully adopt online teaching approaches, they require ongoing, responsive professional development programs that are tailored to their individual needs. These programs should also reflect innovations and advances in the use of educational technologies. For example, training staff in the use of proprietary Learning Management Systems (LMS) may eventually be replaced by a need to provide support for the use of Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS). The LCMS approach, based on the use of reusable learning objects, promises to be a more 'transparent' and accessible approach which is more intuitive and user friendly for both students and teachers. That is, a learning object focus presents an opportunity to develop sophisticated tools designed to produce high quality learning resources that otherwise would require intensive staff training.

These advances will enable teachers to focus primarily on the pedagogical aspects of online learning design, and thus represents a dramatic shift in the professional development needs of academic staff. These issues are being explored as part of a larger project on online learning development at Curtin. In this context, we aim to identify the 'gaps' in knowledge, skills and attitudes of staff new to online teaching, in order to inform the planning of professional development programs tailored to the identified and emerging needs. These programs can then be integrated with institutional priorities as well as university review and planning processes.

In this paper we highlight some of the key issues professional developers need to consider when implementing programs to support online course developments for university teachers.

Contact person: Tina Kulski, Centre for Educational Advancement, Curtin University of Technology

Presentation format: Dilemmas in teaching or teaching/learning research

Please cite as: Kulski, T., O'Connor, M., Pedalina, V., Quinton, S. and Boase-Jelinek, D. (2002). How can we stay in front of the online learning eight ball? Professional development for tomorrow's university teachers. In Focusing on the Student. Proceedings of the 11th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 5-6 February 2002. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2002/abstracts/kulski-abs.html

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Created 4 Dec 2001. Last revision: 1 Feb 2002. HTML: Roger Atkinson [ rjatkinson@bigpond.com ]