ReferencesBecher, T. and Trowler, P. R. (2001). Academic Tribes and Territories (2nd Ed.). Buckingham UK: Society for Research in Higher Education and Open University Press.
Pearce, L., Gulc, E., Grove, M., Lucas, B., and Whistlecroft, L. (2005). Different subjects/subject difference. Symposium 549. ALT-C 2005 Conference, September 6-8, 2006, Manchester, England, UK.
Russell, C. (2005). Disciplinary patterns in adoption of educational technologies. In J. Cook and D. Whitelock (Eds.), Exploring the frontiers of e-learning: Borders, outposts, and migration. Proceedings of the ALT-C 2005 Conference, September 6-8, 2006, Manchester, England, UK (pp. 64-76).
Trowler, P. and Cooper, A. (2002). Teaching and Learning Regimes: Implicit theories and recurrent practices in the enhancement of teaching and learning through educational development programmes. Higher Education Research and Development, 21(3), 221-240.
JISC Conference 2005
JISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeTIP for using these slides:
If you view these slides in Note Pages form (in View menu) you will get a sense of the dialogue that we are trying to create. Please read through these slides, and some of the other resources, post your comments on them and join any ongoing debate in the online discussion. Gordon will be online as well to help spark discussion.
Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeHelen: These aims are similar to the aims of a face-to-face symposium that John and I helped to facilitate in Birmingham last month, but Im sure this discussion will have its own momentum. We often hear the argument that technology needs to be put at the service of established learning and teaching practice, which we know differs across different disciplines and subjects. But what exactly does this mean? How often do we actually try to articulate the differences? And are technologies really being applied to suit the demands of the discipline, or is it just that different cultures of use are emerging, and these acquire their own rationale? The approach we took in the face-to-face symposium, which participants might like to try for themselves, was to start by articulating essential features of learning and teaching in a particular subject area, or according to a particular educational approach such as problem based learning. Then we asked people to relate these features to e-learning technologies and applications that might be useful. We hope these discussions to help us identify both what is different and what is similar across different communities of practice.Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeHelen: Im just offering these thoughts for debate they are explained more fully in the Effective Practice materials that we developed to accompany the JISC workshops of the same name (available online at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/elp_workshopcontent.html)John: Helen says that e-learning is not a separate type of learning. Is there a debate to be had there?
Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeHelen: These are the reflective tools developed for the original symposium and offered here for participants to comment on, evaluate, and adapt or use. There are also some examples of completed questionnaires to give a flavour of the different communities that have already engaged with this process. Wed really like to be able to add to these something that participants could certainly help us with but our main purpose is to offer tools that are useful to different communities for their own self-reflection and analysis.How useful are these tools and is this overall approach?Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeAfter reading this introduction, do browse the reflective tools and resources, and read Gordon Joyes position paper. The online discussion will be live during the first two days of the conference. Over to John now for more about discipline differencesSession FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeJohn: The above are useful questions. To be honest, before I started reading around this area I had gained some impressions from working with different subject areas that are represented in the CETL that I manage. Language seem to uses video a lot, science seem to like simulations, and so on.Helen: I agree. When I worked with the Computers in Teaching Initiative centres (fore-runners of the current HEA Subject Centres) we were proud of an approach that focused on the discipline first, and the technology second. I think at the time this was probably unique and did help the UK get ahead in terms of developing useful materials and subject-based approaches. But there are risks such as failing to share ideas, and the conservatism (small c) of existing learning and teaching cultures.John: Hmm, how many of you remember the not invented here syndrome?Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeJohn: We can sometimes get blinded by our paradigms! You know, it is easy to become entrenched and stick to the old ways of doing things. In HE we have resisted for centuries any attempts to do away with lectures! This despite the fact that there is little evidence that lectures promote learning. Because of this, people are unable to see the potential in new applications of technology Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeJohn: When I did start reading around the area, I found some of the above literature quite helpful. Academic tribes are providing definitions of knowledge and core concepts and academic territories are what we call the disciplines (Medicine, English, etc). Teaching and learning regimes have associated tacit knowledge; the language of the priest hood as it were. If you do not understand the coded messages that a particular regime use to worship a facet of the area, then you may not be able to succeed in that field. For example, in Computer Science if you are not in the know about what the good conferences and journals are, then you may be held back at the next Research Assessment Exercise. To get around this, we need to develop an open, shared language so that a newcomer to an area can get a handle on what is being talked about. This goal of a genuinely shared language is easier said than done!Helen: sometimes I think it is impossible! But our recent symposium made me feel more optimistic. Rather than a common language there may be bridging concepts. For example the ideal of deep rather than surface learning seems to have resonance across subjects, although how this is interpreted may differ. And when it comes to new, digital forms of knowledge and learning, there are common challenges such as equality of access, pressures on practitioner time, and the culture of rewarding research over teaching innovation.John: Yes, at the recent Symposium I got the impression that different disciplinary groupings were, well different and proud of it However, there was an openness to new ways of thinking about technology that I personally found invigorating. Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeJohn: The above quote is by Carol Russell (2005), she is describing a study at University of New South Wales in Australia looking at disciplinary patterns of educational technology adoption. Russell goes on to suggest a conceptual model for understanding the above, based on a study with teachers in the University of New South Wales. Helen: I found this model useful: Ill just let you explain it.John: Ta , deep breath Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeJohn: The above slide is a a graphical representation of some of the concepts Russell goes on to talk about.
Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeJohn: The next few slides summarise Russells findings.Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeJohn: Remember, hard-applied disciplines include Medicine and Design. In order to meet professional recognition, for example, many of these types of disciplines are using technology to help teach core discipline concepts. Can you think of examples if you are from a hard-applied discipline? Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeJohn: Soft-applied disciplines include Education and Law. In these two areas it was found that e-learning was used on areas like skills development in order to free up class time for face-to-face development of core knowledge.Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeJohn: Hard-pure disciplines includes Maths and Physics. Russell found that Hard-pure disciplines tended not to use collaborative tools like discussion forums found in a VLE. Interestingly, in the previous Symposium we mentioned, discussion for Natural Sciences and Maths (the summary is provided in this themes resource area) noted that whilst other groups highlighted e-portfolios and other reflective technology as key tools, this group did not use such tools. Soft-pure includes English and Art. In line with Russells findings, the previous Symposiums discussion for Humanities and the Arts valued communicating effectively using different modes of expression and also used Wikis to encourage shared knowledge building and active research.Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeJohn: Above are some questions that could be used to help shape debate in the online discussion. What do you think?Helen: I would be very interested to hear from people who were at the face-to-face symposium, as well as people who are new to these ideas.John: Ill let Helen have the last word ;-) Over to you guys Session FiveJISC: Planning and Evaluating Effective PracticeAbove FYI.Session Five