The Importance of Community

I’ve just finished reading a very interesting article by McNaught and Vogel about e-learning and institutional culture. The full reference is below. Ostensibly I’m interested in wider developments in teaching and learning, and their focus was on e-learning, but I thought much of what they had to say was relevant to my interests. (Well, of course, e-learning is part of my conceptual framework, in that adopting it often requires some thought to be given to teaching practices in general)   In particular I was struck by their emphasis on creating a community. Teaching, especially in HE often seems to me to be a pretty lonely pursuit, but I think they are right to argue for the creation of a sense of shared values which can inform development work. Clearly there are different value positions held between disciplines as Becher and Trowler’s work on Academic Tribes has shown. But there are also overarching values that everyone subscribes to (well, nearly everyone!) The danger is perhaps that developers might assume their values to be shared – so perhaps that’s one thing I really ought to be asking about in my research. What are people’s values around teaching and learning. And what, if anything, are educational development units doing to find out about them. And what are they doing to reconcile them if they discover conflicts. ?

 I do think this is an interesting track to go down, but I wonder if I’m risking over-expanding the research topic. I’m going to have to think very carefully about that!

 The other thing I’ve been trying to do today is have a look at Nvivo which is installed on my machine at work. I’m supposed to be evaluating it, but I really haven’t had much time. I think I’m just going to have start staying behind in the evenings! Ho hum!

(MCNAUGHT, C. and VOGEL, D., 2006. The fit between e-learning policy and institutional culture. International Journal of Learning Technology, 2(4), pp. 370-385)