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This theme investigates how practitioners learn and develop within the higher education context. It covers staff development, academic leadership, organisational change and workforce engagement.
We are interested in how staff development interventions support changes in practice, and investigate this in a range of areas from the adoption of e-learning to the teaching of international students.
We have been exploring how to develop and sustain communities of practitioners for staff development. Through the OpenLine and Emerge projects and the ELESIG network, we are researching the processes and activities which facilitate the development of supportive and self-sustaining communities for staff development.
This theme has links with the School of Education's Policy, Leadership and Management research group.
HEA/JISC “Open Line: The “First Steps Into Teaching” (Massively) Open Online Course (OOC/MOOC): An introduction to open academic practice in educational development. The project is fundamentally an inquiry into the widest possibilities of
educational development: What are the opportunities and risks of taking an open academic practice approach to educational development? Where are the boundaries between open education principles and institutional pragmatics with respect to assessment
and credentialing? What aspects of learning and teaching can be taught and learned effectively through an open academic approach, and – as importantly – what, if anything, can’t?
The EMERGE project conducted an appreciative inquiry of the processes of using social networking (Web 2.0)
applications for community development.
ELESIG, Experiences of E-Learning Special Interest Group funded by the Higher Education Academy for those involved in investigations and evaluations of learners' experiences of e-learning.
ELESIG established and evaluated a network of practitioners who are undertaking learner experience research.
Landscape study for the Higher Education Academy
E-Learning Research Observatory (PDF 673KB) funded by the HEA.
Research study of the effectiveness of practitioner tools, resources and services, funded by JISC e-learning and pedagogy programme. The aim of the project was to determine what kinds of outcome were most likely to be adopted and embedded into
learning and teaching, as well as to identify and exploit existing resources.
Deepwell, F. (2012) Evaluating academic programmes through the lens of student learning outcomes. Invited keynote, International Symposium on “Strategic Planning and Professional & Vocational Training in Higher Education”, October 2012, Macao
Polytechnic Institute, Macao.
Sharpe, R. & Mackness, J. (2010) Evaluating the development of a community of e-learning researchers: from short term funding to sustainability. International Journal of Web Based Communities, 6 (2), 148-163
Sharpe, R. & Clarke, P. (2009) A community based programme of support. In JISC Emerge: a user-centred social learning media hub:
Supporting the Users and Innovation R&D community network
Clouder, L., Deepwell, F. & King, V. (2009). “I” and “We”: Individual identity within communities of inquiry, in iPED Research Network : King, V., Broughan, C., Clouder, L., Deepwell, F. and Turner, A. (eds.) Academic futures: Inquiries into
higher education and pedagogies, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 80-95.
Beetham, H., Sharpe, R., & Benfield, G. (2008) Landscape study for the e-Learning Research Observatory: a consultation undertaken for the Higher Education Academy. March 2008
Sharpe, R. & Pawlyn, J. (2008) The role of the tutor in blended e-learning: experiences from interprofessional education in R. Donnelly & F. McSweeney (eds) Applied eLearning and eTeaching in Higher Education. Information Science
Reference. New York, 18-34
Sharpe, R. & Oliver, M. (2007) Supporting practitioner’s design for learning: principles of effective resources and interventions, in H. Beetham & R. Sharpe (eds) Rethinking pedagogy for the digital age: designing and delivering
e-learning. RoutledgeFalmer, London.
Cousin, G. & Deepwell, F. (2005) Designs for network learning: a communities of practice perspective, Studies in Higher Education, 30(1), 57-66.
Sharpe, R. (2005) Initial positioning paper for the JISC Research study of the effectiveness of practitioner tools, resources and services.
Sharpe, R. (2005) Effective interventions to support practitioners’ adoption of e-learning, Educational Developments, 6(1), 8-10.
Sharpe, R. (2004) How do professionals learn and develop? Implications for their developers in A. D. Baume and P. Kahn (eds) Enhancing staff and educational development. SEDA/Kogan Page. 132-153.
Rust, C. (2000) Do initial training courses have an impact on university teaching? The evidence from two evaluative studies of one course, Innovations in Education and Training International, 37(3), 254-262.
Rust, C. (1998) The impact of educational development workshops on teachers’ practice”, International Journal for Academic Development, 3(1), 72-80