A crowdsourced list

When we talk about faculty development, we often refer to individual practices taken from a specific context (country, discipline, etc). So, for this new episode of the “Around the world” series I prepared an extensive tour … around the world. Only that this time we focus on partnerships- collaborations between universities at a local, regional, national and international level on designing and delivering faculty development programmes (I wrote some more about this topic here). Sounds like something unlikely for the Higher Education landscape? I thought the same, but the academic community in my Personal Learning Network (aka Twitter) proved me…

Student reflections on Project-Based Learning

By Mareike Zeidler, Nina Joustra, Charlotte Nöthel, Daniela Bocmaru, Marco Sander and Alessandra Leclercq (Maastricht University)

The Project

In the last course of the Learning and Development in Organisations (LDO) Master Programme, we took on the role of a (HRD) advisory team. Our team, consisting of six Master’s students from Maastricht University, was challenged to apply and integrate the knowledge and skills we had acquired in the previous courses of the Master’s programme. Each of the teams was assigned a client and was asked to advise them. Our client was the Dutch Employers’ Cooperation Programme (DECP), a public-private partnership established by Dutch…

Guest post by Sukaina Walji, University of Cape Town, South Africa

During 2020, at the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at the University of Cape Town we scaled up various initiatives to support academics and teaching staff to move their courses to online learning. Much of what we did resonates with what many learning design and learning technology teams did globally and included the following activities:

  • We produced guidelines and resources customised to our context of advocating for a broadly asynchronous teaching “low-tech” teaching mode;
  • We ran webinars and workshops starting with broad and general ‘what it…

Guest post by Sanna Eronen, University of Vaasa, Finland

I work in a development team within Educational Services in a business-oriented university in Vaasa, Western Finland. My role involves coordinating a multidisciplinary network of peer mentor teachers, IT specialists and pedagogues with the shared objective of advancing the quality of teaching and learning at our university.

Too many Higher Education teachers still approach their teaching as solo artists playing all the instruments themselves. The benefits of a more collaborative approach to teaching can often be lost. At times, it seems that the support structures available may strengthen the solo acts…

Guest post by Kate Mitchell, University of Melbourne

A key part of my role as a learning designer (LD) in Higher Education involves helping faculty/teaching staff to redesign their courses for blended or online modes of delivery while also improving course quality. It can be a lengthy and labour-intensive process, typically involving me and others (e.g. additional LD(s), faculty developer, educational technologist) working with an individual faculty member over several weeks or months. Such a process raises questions around:

  • Scalability and sustainability — LD workload/support is prioritised to individual courses, minimising ability to service the widest number of teaching staff.

Reflections on faculty development and online teaching in times of pandemic and beyond

It’s now one year since the pandemic has changed (more like turned upside-down, actually) the way we live, teach, learn and work. For me this year, difficult as it was, brought about so many new opportunities that have had a big impact on my career overall. That prompts me to reflect on where I stand now and how I plan to use the lessons I’ve learned. I’m also increasingly interested in seeing the medium and long-term response of universities in terms of strategically embedding the new reality in their mode of operation.

So here are some of my thoughts…

On my role as an educational developer


Peer review is common practice in research, but when it comes to teaching, things look slightly different. Teaching tends to be a rather individual endeavour, without much exchange taking place, neither within the same discipline nor between disciplines. With all the various duties and commitments, teachers find it difficult to make time to talk to their peers about their teaching practice. Nevertheless, done in an effective manner, this dialogue can bring about many benefits for all involved.

Recently I’ve been having a lot of rich, thought-provoking conversations on Twitter with peers from all over the world. The variety of views…

Building teacher presence in online environments

What makes good teaching? Let’s take a moment and try to remember the teachers that had a real impact on our development. What made the learning experience they facilitated so special?

Good teaching is more than a good lesson plan and a set of fancy teaching tools. Good teaching is about effective and inspiring learning. …

Training students to navigate the digital information landscape

We often assume our students are proficient in evaluating and managing online information. And more often than not, we are wrong. That is why we need to put online media literacy and knowledge management skills at the heart of the learning process. All too often these topics are taken for granted and seldom discussed. As we put a lot of effort into designing and teaching our courses, we expect students to already have these skills or to simply catch them “on the go”. Now with most of the teaching and learning happening online, this topic is more important than ever.

Knowledge management: what and why?

Teaching with technology has been brought into the spotlight by the Covid-19 pandemic. But alongside the challenges of having to navigate a territory that was new for many, the shift to teaching online has prompted us to rethink the way we teach and to put more effort into designing a worthwhile learning experience for our students. Let’s take a moment to think about technology as an enabler, rather than an obstacle:

  • Technology connects: it enables inter-university projects, it helps build bridges between academia and the labour market, it provides a dynamic and innovative learning space where students can integrate different…

Alexandra Mihai

Assistant Professor of Innovation in Higher Education @MaastrichtU. Passionate about designing new learning spaces. My newsletter: educationalist.substack.com

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