Sharing experiences at EUNIS Conference 9.6.2021

Some weeks ago I participated in the EUNIS annual Conference. EUNIS stands for European University Information Systems organization. In the conference I had a chance to present with a colleague a paper ”COVID-19 Leap – not only digital but also pedagogical”, written together with my colleagues Suvi Valsta, Virve Pekkarinen and Anssi Mattila. The paper will be published soon (I will share the link to it here). The paper describes the experience of building support systems for transferring teaching and learning from the physical classroom to digital arenas. This approach is based on peer support and digi-pedagogical expertise.

Below you will find the core points of the theoretical part of our presentation.

The multiple roles of HE teacher today

As we know the higher education teachers of today have multiple roles. In our case (Laurea UAS) these roles are derived from the three tasks of Finnish universities of applied sciences. They are teaching, regional development and research & development. Based on these tasks, the teacher (apart from being a teacher) may be also a facilitator, developer, learning designer, tutor, researcher, substance matter expert, project partner,  instructor for work life traineeship or advisor for professional development.

Multiple roles imply multiple skills

The teacher needs to know how to select and use suitable digital platforms and tools, how to produce digital material, how to do online guidance, feedback and assessment, how to collaborate and facilitate online , how to apply pedagogical models online and how to interact online.

The core knowledge and skills are described in the TPACK model. At the intersection of the three circles is the knowledge that combines content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and technological knowledge. To create pedagogically meaningful online teaching and learning the teacher needs to be able to integrate not only content and pedagogical knowledge but also technological knowledge.

Thus this TPACK knowledge is wider than the three forms of knowledge individually and requires an understanding on how different digital tools can be utilised. At Laurea, we have used the TPACK model as a framework for providing digi-pedagogical support for our staff.

Learning design through Communities of Practice

As for the pedagogical training, we have adopted a learning design approach which follows the concepts of service design. It shifts away thinking about what the teacher does to focus on what learning activities the students need to experience to achieve their desired learning outcomes. As a concrete method we have used the ABC learning design.

In addition to digi-pedagogical support offered to the staff, another important goal is to make the teachers share their teaching knowledge. The learning design workshops we have developed have served well this purpose. The workshops have enabled the emergence of communities of practice (Cops) as they offer a powerful channel for building, testing and sharing pedagogical ideas. Communities of practice can be characterized through three traits: domain, practice and community. The domain refers to an area of shared interest. Practice is shared a body of knowledge, experiences and techniques. Community relates to a group of individuals who share a passion for something they do. Communities of practice is a space between loose social networks and focused, formal working groups. We find the communities of practice as a potential and powerful force for upgrading the quality of teaching and learning.

CoPs at Laurea

The figure below presents how the Communities of Practice are aligned with formal focused work teams and the wider social networks inside and outside Laurea. 

References:

  • Koehler, M. J. & Mishra, P. (2008). Introducing TPACK. In AACTE Committee on Innovation & Technology (Ed.), Handbook of technological pedagogical content knowledge for educators, 3–29. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Koehler, M. J. & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.
  • Koehler, M. J., Mishra, P., Kereluik, K., Shin, T. S., & Graham, C. R. (2014). The technological pedagogical content knowledge framework. In J. Spector, M. Merrill, J. Elen, & M. Bishop (Eds.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (pp. 101–111). New York, NY: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614- 3185-5_9.

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