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

By Tessa Owens

Abstract

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

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