Location of Repository

An investigation into the pedagogical beliefs and online teaching practices of university teachers

By Tessa Owens


A gap between university teachers’ beliefs and practices has been identified in the literature (see Murray and Macdonald, 1997; Prosser et al, 2003; Dunkin, 2002; Samuelowitz and Bain, 2001; Jelfs et al, 2006; and Richardson et al, 2007). This literature indicates that a teacher may claim to hold beliefs that students learn through a process of social construction but their practices when they teach reveal that they adopt more of a ‘transmission’ mode. This is considered to have an impact upon the quality of the student learning experience (Prosser and Trigwell, 1999).\ud Due to the increased use of online learning environments in higher education this thesis extends the research on beliefs and practices; specifically examining the relationship between pedagogical beliefs and online teaching practices. The thesis reports findings from two surveys: firstly a group of 32 teaching ‘experts’, known as National Teaching Fellows and second a survey of over 529 university teachers from across the UK, who have no expert teacher status, described here as non-experts. Both groups answered questions on their beliefs and online teaching practices, using a revised version of an instrument devised by Norton et al (2005).\ud The thesis finds a gap between all teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and online teaching practices; however it is found that expert teachers’ beliefs and practices are more closely aligned than non‐expert teachers’ beliefs and practices. The implications of these findings are that in order to ensure quality student learning experiences, university teachers should pursue formal teaching qualifications and become more involved in ongoing development events. It is acknowledged that these recommendations should work in concert with university progression and promotion policies

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9885

Suggested articles



  1. (1992). A First Course in Factor Analysis’, 2nd edition, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  2. (2004). A framework of three learning activity levels for enhancing the usability and feasibility of wireless learning environment’.
  3. (1970). A second generation’ Little Jiffy.
  4. (2001). Academic Tribes and Territories.
  5. (2009). Accessed online at 04/02/10 http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/ourwork/employability/id46 0_embedding_employability_into_the_curriculum_338.pdf Kreber, C
  6. (1995). Accessed online at http://vcampus.uom.ac.mu/upload/private/200332695533/200332695533.pdf
  7. (1978). Accessed online http://www.ibe.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/archive/publications/Innovatio n/inno97e.pdf Universities UK (2010) http://www.universitiesUKac.uk/Pages/Default.aspx last accessed 06/01/11
  8. (1993). Action Research and social movement: A challenge for policy research’, Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA) 1, 1, accessed online 27/4/08 http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v1n1.html Kerr, C
  9. (2009). Adult Teaching and Learning, Developing your practice’ Maidenhead,
  10. (1990). An analysis of representation shift in concept learning’ ICML
  11. (1993). Approaches adopted by teachers of first year university science courses’,
  12. (2002). Being or Doing: The Role of Teacher Behaviors and Beliefs in School and Teacher Effectiveness in Mathematics’, a SEM analysis',
  13. (1968). Beliefs, attitudes and values: A theory of organization and change’, San Franscico, Jossey Bass Sachs,
  14. (1997). Between Facts and Norms’ translation Rehg, W., Cambridge: Polity Hargreaves A
  15. (2002). Beyond the foundations: The role of vision and belief in teachers’ preparation for integration of technology’,
  16. (2005). Challenging The Primacy Of Lectures: The Dissonance Between Theory And Practice In University Teaching’,
  17. (1996). Changing approaches to teaching; A relational perspective’
  18. (1988). Computer‐Aided Systems and Communities: Mechanisms for Organizational Learning in Distributed Environments’
  19. (2011). Conceptions of learning in adult students embarking on distance education’
  20. (2006). Developing conceptual frameworks for creativity,
  21. (2002). Digital Hemlock: Internet Education and the Poisoning of Teaching’, Syndey, University of New South Wales Press Brabazon, T
  22. (2002). Does it Make a Difference? Evaluating Professional
  23. (2005). E‐learning in tertiary education’, Policy brief,
  24. E.(1995) ‘Radical Constructivism: A way of Knowing and Learning’.
  25. (1998). Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
  26. (1978). Ethics in Social and Behavioral Research’.
  27. (2003). Facilitating Problem‐based Learning: Illuminating Perspectives’.
  28. (1991). Foreshadowing conceptions of teaching’
  29. (2002). Framing constructivism in practice as the negotiation of dilemmas: An analysis of the conceptual, pedagogical, cultural, and political challenges facing teachers’.
  30. (1988). Generalizing number and learning from multiple examples in explanation‐based learning’ ICML
  31. (2005). Global perspectives on e‐learning: rhetoric and reality’. Thousand Oakes CA:
  32. (2008). Harnessing Technology: Next generation learning 2008‐14’, published online at http://publications.becta.org.uk/display.cfm?resID=37348
  33. (2005). HEFCE strategy for elearning’. London, HEFCE HEFCE
  34. (2001). High access and low use of technology in high school classrooms: Explaining an apparent paradox
  35. (1992). Implication of research on teacher belief’.
  36. (1995). Implicit theories of teaching’
  37. (1981). Improving college teaching: A critical review of research’,
  38. (1992). Improving Higher Education: Total Quality Care’, The Society for Research in Higher Education and Open
  39. (1995). Increasing faculty understanding of teaching’
  40. (2007). Innovations in E‐learning, Instruction Technology, Assessment and Engineering
  41. (2005). International Perspective on teaching excellence in Higher Education’,
  42. (2010). Learner autonomy via Asynchronous Online Interactions: A Malaysian perspective
  43. (2003). Learning to teach in
  44. (1999). Monetary Incentives in US government surveys’,
  45. (1997). National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education
  46. (1995). Networks that alter teaching: conceptualizations, exchanges and experiments’. Teachers and teaching: theory and practice,
  47. (2009). New Academics' Perceptions of the Language of Teaching and Learning: Identifying and Overcoming Linguistic Barriers’, International Journal for Academic Development, v14 n1 p33‐45
  48. (2006). New national standards for teaching and supporting learning launched’ 23rd February 2006, accessed online at http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/news/detail/2007/national_professional_standards_ framework Healey,
  49. (1992). On being an expert: A cost‐benefit analysis.
  50. (1976). On Qualitative Differences in Learning — 1: Outcome and Process’
  51. (1978). Organisational Learning: A Theory‐of‐Action Perspective,
  52. (2001). Oversold and underused: Computers in the classroom’
  53. (1999). PBL + IMM = PBL2: Problem‐based learning and multimedia development', in
  54. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed’.
  55. (2007). Perceived academic quality and approaches to studying in health professionals’,
  56. (1977). Perceived masculinity, androgyny and accented speech’
  57. (2007). Preparing for blended e‐learning’
  58. (1993). Problems with implementing goals in Higher education: A Hong Kong Case Study’,
  59. (2002). Qualitative Researching, 2nd Edition, London,
  60. (1993). Questions and answers about radical constructivism’ in K. Tobin (Ed.), The practice of constructivism in science education (pp. 23‐38). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  61. (2010). Ready to grow: business priorities for education and skills’ Education and skills survey 2010, accessed online at http://www.cbi.org.uk/pdf/2010‐cbi‐edi‐ready‐to‐grow‐business‐priorities‐ for%20education‐and‐skills.pdf
  62. (2000). Reflection: Issues related to improving professors’ teaching and students' learning’.
  63. (2006). Research and teaching: beyond the divide’. London: Palgrave
  64. (2001). Research and Teaching: Conditions for a positive link’ Research
  65. (2009). Researching with integrity: the ethics of academic enquiry’
  66. (2005). Reshaping the university’ Maidenhead, Society for Research into Higher Education
  67. (2008). Rethinking Classroom‐Oriented Instructional Development Models to Mediate Instructional Planning
  68. (1993). Rethinking University Teaching: A framework for the effective use of educational technology’ London: Routledge Laurillard, D
  69. (2004). Revised ethical guidelines for educational research’. Accessed online http://www.bera.ac.uk/files/2008/09/ethica1.pdf (accessed 9th
  70. (2001). Revisiting academics’ beliefs about teaching and learning’,
  71. (1999). Social control of administrative impropriety: An analysis cited in Carr‐Chellman,
  72. (1993). Steps towards a developmental model of the teaching career’. in Kremer‐Hayon, Vonk & Fessler (Eds.). Teacher professional development: a multiple perspective approach.
  73. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, the classification of educational goals – Handbook I: Cognitive Domain’
  74. (1997). Teacher learning: Implications of new views of cognition’ in
  75. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for technology integration?
  76. (2004). Teachers: Beliefs and Knowledge’ chapter
  77. (1995). Teachers' beliefs and belief systems’.
  78. (2006). Teachers' Beliefs and Practices
  79. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and educational research: Cleaning up a messy construct’. Review
  80. (2005). Teachers’ beliefs and intentions concerning teaching in higher education’
  81. (2002). Teachers’ beliefs and the integration of ICT in Italian schools’.
  82. (2002). Teaching and learning in their disciplinary contexts: a conceptual analysis.’
  83. (2002). Technological Applications in a Graduate Special Education Program’
  84. (2003). The effect of incentives in web surveys: application and ethical considerations’.
  85. (2007). The effect of pedagogical training on teaching in higher education’ Teaching and Teacher education,
  86. (1999). The effects of two instructional delivery processes of a distance training system on trainee satisfaction, job performance and retention’.
  87. (2002). The ethics of incentives: historical origins and contemporary understandings’.
  88. (2010). The Good Research Guide: for small‐scale social research projects’, 4th Edition, Open University Press Department for Education and Skills.
  89. (2004). The impact of training of university teachers on their teaching skills, their approach to teaching and the approach to learning of their students’,
  90. (1990). The induction of academic staff to a university: Processes and Products’,
  91. (2004). The influence of risk and monetary payment on the research participation decision making process’,
  92. (2008). The knowledge economy, skills and government labour market intervention’
  93. (2006). The lecturer’s toolkit. A Practical Guide to assessment learning and teaching’, 3rd Edition,
  94. (2008). The Life Model of social work practice:
  95. (1994). The Mosaic of Learning: Schools and Teachers for the Next Century’, Demos,
  96. (1984). The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge’,
  97. (1959). The sociological imagination’,
  98. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’,
  99. (1977). The theory of affordances’,
  100. (2007). Themes, methods and impact on practice’ pp 69‐81, Abingdon Routledge
  101. (1999). Toward a philosophy of instructional technology: thirty years on’,
  102. (1970). Toward a rational society: student protest, science, and politics’ Beacon Press,
  103. (1999). Understanding learning and teaching: the experience in higher education’,
  104. (2007). Using multivariate statistics’, 5th edition, Pearson International Education
  105. (1999). Virtual Learning Environments: Making the Web Easy to Use for Teachers and Learners’ University of Bristol Council for Industry and Higher Education
  106. (2008). What are we missing here? Problematising wisdoms on teaching quality and professionalism in higher education.’ Teaching in Higher Education,
  107. (1994). Where is the mind?

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.