We have a healthy tradition in my department of sharing insights and material from the CPD events we attend to. However, I have felt for a while that a more open approach could be (and it is only a very hypothetical ‘could’) of benefit. The event today certainly deserved a bit or airing beyond the beautiful headquarters of the Ashling hotel in Dublin.
On November 24th I attended the event coordinated by the Educational Developers of Ireland Network (EDIN_Irl) on the implementation of the National Forum Professional Development Framework (http://www.teachingandlearning.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/PD-Framework-FINAL.pdf). The day was led by Marion Palmer (@marionjpalmer) with a group of educational developers (a few of them with a strong interest or responsibility around technology-enhanced learning) and addressed the ambitious objective set out in www.edin.ie .
These are my insights into the implications for the role of educational developers with an interest or specialisation in technology enhanced learning.
We first started with an insightful SWAT analysis of the framework. While having a nationally coordinated framework for the first time is definitely welcome as it has opened the conversation, one of it weaknesses is that digital capacity is not explicitly integrated.
Marian then asked us next to brainstorm in groups on the possible interpretations of the framework as different stakeholders: an academic, educational technologies, management, researcher, librarian or student. And importantly, how these interpretations interact with our concrete contexts. My table was commissioned with thinking as ‘lecturers’. Marion challenged us with loads of interesting good questions to keep the conversation going, but I found very insightful ‘Is there a culture of professional development for teaching and learning?’. Our answers revolved around the tensions between rhetoric and reality. Are our lecturers getting enough support for CPD? Is teaching really valued? How much autonomy do I have as a lecturer? Does my workload allow for anything? The answers to these questions may be tainted by a touch of scepticism informed by our recent experience.
Roisin Donnelly (@Roshcal) updated us next on her progress with the NF Professional Development Framework implementation in the (whole of!) two weeks she has been in her secondment to the National Forum. Her approach is based on a series of collaborative case studies currently being coordinated, more details to follow.
The most challenging part of the seminar came next: how does all this reflective ‘stuff’ applies to real practice? To get started we were asked to apply the framework to ourselves and see how we get on (interesting starting and authentic point I must say!) according to these headings:
- Identify/list current activities
- Match to typology of activities
- Identify type of learning
- Relevant domains
In order to get started, we were to pick a single activity, so here goes my two pence:
- Turnitin Feedback Studio seminar
- Type of activity: Structure non-accredited (not formal)
- Type of learning: New learning
- Relevant domain: Personal and professional digital capacity in T&L (Domain 5)
The nicest part of this exercise were Marion’s recommendations to start a very practical approach to this: publicise your seminar with these headings and linking to the Framework, include a slide at the outset of your seminar to flag this and start creating some awareness around this. Done today!
Discussion finished on some blue-sky thinking around potential themes for a new EDIN Emerging Issues iteration. ‘Making the invisible CPD visible’ was one of the things that came to my mind in relation to the need to tackle the thorny issue of CPD at middle and high management level (accredited formal does not fly, an informal and creative approaches are needed).
So in conclusion, loads of many concrete ideas and inspiration, more clarity on the framework, and inspired me to start expressing and sharing some CPD insights. Interestingly, Fiona O’Riordan (EDIN chair) called for interest group of educational developers piloting out the framework. I really think that I could benefit from this, and would like to contribute back to such a lovely network.
Overall, a most enjoyable event well worth the trip to Dublin, even taking into account the wireless not working in the train again!