I’ve been quiet for a few weeks because I’ve been wandering around the UK collecting data and transcribing interviews. I’ve still got a few more to do, but there are some themes beginning to emerge. Perhaps the most surprising one is that educational developers are a lot more optimistic than I’d expected. (Maybe, it’s just that I’m a natural pessimist!) The EDU is, it seems becoming a well established feature of the HE scene and is interacting with quite a lot of staff. It’s perhaps debateable whether this is because it’s often the gatekeeper for additional funding. One slight ootential worry is that there’s relatively little direct interaction with students, although that isn’t universal. Some EDUs do far more than others here.
I think I’m finding evidence that developers in general tend to incline towards a “teaching” model of the University, but are also very aware of the research agenda. There’s also a degree of scepticism about technology, or at least about over enthusiasm for it which is a little surprising. (But I haven’t yet done a comprehensive and rigourous analysis of the data, so that can’t be anything more than a subjective impression at this stage.) Other themes are that the unit is often a locus for responding to national initiatives like PDP and the Professional Standards Framework. So that raises questions about whether this is something that universities should think about “beefing up”. Of course, that depends on the number and relevance of such initiatives.
What else. Well, there is the question of putting in funding bids, which seems quite common, and then managing projects. There’s also quite a lot of involvement in teaching award type schemes. But I suppose, if you’re going to do that you have to have a separate unit to avoid questions of fairness. Anyway, I have a few days before my next interview, so I’ll finish transcribing the most recent one and then get my Nvivo hat on to start a more rigorous analysis.