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Title: How can I improve my practice as a university lecturer in the development and delivery of a distance learning module in a post graduate diploma in clinical education?
Author: Delgaty, Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 3499
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2012
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How can I improve as a practitioner of distance learning? With the uptake of distance learning (DL), which has been marginal for most academics, teaching contexts, traditional power structures and relationships have changed, leaving lecturers potentially disenfranchised. Proliferate literature was found addressing DL in medical education, although the practical application for academics was scarce. Unsurprisingly, the most cited article in Medical Teacher in 2010 was: ‘The Failure of e-Learning Research to Inform Educational Practice, and What We Can Do About It’ (Personal communication, Medical Teacher, October 24, ). My experience suggested DL was a disruptive technology to individuals and the organisational culture of higher education. The related research question and aim of this study were: Research Question How can I improve my practice as a University Lecturer in the development and delivery of a distance learning module in a post graduate diploma in clinical education? Research Aim To critically and systematically examine, and make informed changes to, the design and delivery of a post-graduate distance clinical education module. I hoped to inform educational practice: primarily, my own, by improving my practice as a university DL practitioner. Based on the literature of organisations and DL, I examined and evaluated the complex process of developing and then delivering an asynchronous fully online module. Maintaining an action research methodology, this study underwent two cycles. The first cycle focused on planning of the module, the second on delivery. These cycles informed my own practice, guided further development and resulted in subsequent change. Data collection consisted of documentary analysis of meetings, interviews with staff and students, formal student evaluations, web analytics and personal reflection. Data analysis incorporated both quantitative and qualitative methods to triangulate the research findings and ensure the research aim was addressed. Within this inquiry, new competencies for academics including leadership and management were exposed. Barriers to staff progress included changes and ambiguity in roles, lack of leadership and unpreparedness for responsibilities, time, and workload. Student barriers included time, fear, relevance of learning, isolation and increased autonomy. Explicit planning, organisational support and working within communities were requisite to create a ‘sustaining’ technology representing an improvement on current practices for both groups. Avoiding traditional workload assumptions that are erroneous and inaccurate, this study provides new models of organisational roles and responsibilities. Time, workload, and changing expectations of staff and students are addressed whilst uncompromisingly focusing on informing and improving practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: School of Medical Sciences Education Development ; Newcastle University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available