Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Getting academics to do professional development

In the last few days I have been approached by several people asking for help to use ed-tech for academic professional envelopment. One of the paradoxes of higher education is that while academics insist that training and testing is needed by their students, they are reluctant to do any training themselves in how to teach.

Botham (2018) looks at the issue of engagement in a professional development scheme to develop teaching skills. They concluded that institutional policies encouraging, or requiring, PD got staff into such programs, but it was not enough to get them to completion. I suggest this may require a change in doctoral education, and university hiring practices. If universities want good educators, they will need to include teacher training in graduate  programs, and select staff based on their teaching qualifications. Selecting the best researchers and then trying to turn them into educators does not work.

At a practical level it should be possible to train academics, using the same sort of blended techniques which are used to get students through a course they do not have an aptitude for, or interest in. That may not turn the average academic into an enthusiastic expert educator, but can at least make them reluctantly competent.


Botham, K. A. (2018). An analysis of the factors that affect engagement of Higher Education teachers with an institutional professional development scheme. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 55(2), 176-189. URL blob:https://www.tandfonline.com/bbabfffd-2eb4-42a9-ad72-a1300abb9d64

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