Academics Learning a New Language: Developing Communities of Practice in Faculty Professional Development

By Jennifer Mitchell.

Published by The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 27, 2014 Free Download

This paper investigates the design of academic development programs relevant to the teaching profession and managing resistance to change through development of communities of practice. Within learning organizations, academics are best equipped to work as support for other academics in developing metacognition skills, where being a learner reinforces awareness of what learners need. Seventy academics participated in a yearlong program to train them in teaching using a mobile device (iPad), which was developed for delivery in 2011. Design evolved from an analysis of surveys and a discussion forum following two earlier pilot programs. The analysis after the first year of 1:1 iPad learning and teaching in 2012 revealed most teachers developed confidence to design and deliver innovative courses and/or learning materials enhanced by the iPad functionality. Design of ongoing support and training needs to be informed by and respond to academics’ needs. The academic development model located professional development in the work environment, fostered communities of practice, advanced pedagogical underpinnings, and enabled metacognitive reflection.

Keywords: Academic Development, Academic Work, Mobile Learning, Communities of Practice, Metacognition

The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning, Volume 21, Issue 1, December 2014, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 27, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 858.005KB)).

Dr. Jennifer Mitchell

Elearning Coordinator, Foundation Studies Program, Trinity College, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr Jennifer Mitchell is the Elearning Coordinator in the Foundation Studies Program at Trinity College, The University of Melbourne, Australia. She is also a teacher in the Foundation Studies Literature program, working with international students. Jennifer has also taught Sociology and Womens’ Studies at Monash University and the University of Melbourne. Her research interests include designing professional development programs for academics, and working with academics to develop rewarding communities of practice to support and enhance the innovative use of technology for students and educators.