The role of university web pages in staff development: supporting teaching and learning online
This paper investigates the nature and quality of Web-based resources which support staff development in Australian universities. It details findings and recommendations derived from publicly accessible Web pages containing resources, information, activities and models provided by university centres concerned with the staff development for the online environment.
Frameworks for this investigation were adopted from the literature on staff development, reflective practice and quality teaching in Higher Education. Two rounds of investigation were undertaken. The first round identified 32 of the 41 university Web sites visited as having an identifiable Teaching and Learning Centre (or equivalent) home page, as a starting point. The resources linked to these pages were reviewed, classified and discussed. Six of the 32 Web sites were regarded as making available significant staff development resources pertaining to teaching and learning online. These 6 sites identified in the second round were reviewed in detail.
Recommendations are made for best practice in the role of university Web pages for staff development, particularly in the area of online teaching and learning. In terms of the dissemination of staff development resources the instantaneous, global, and searchable capability of the Web is not being fully exploited. Too few resources are openly and easily accessible. This presumably results in some universities repeating work already available elsewhere. One hopes the practice of placing resources on local password protected intranets is not a sign of the corporatisation of universities or an 'all out' competition mentality. The authors are assisting their own university to make its staff development resources more publicly accessible and would like to advocate all other universities do likewise.
O'Reilly, M, Ellis, A & Newton, D 2000, 'The role of university Web pages in staff development: Supporting teaching and learning online', The Web : communication and information access for a new millennium : proceedings of AusWeb2K, the Sixth Australian World Wide Web Conference, Cairns, Queensland, 12-17 June, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, pp. 222-238.
Paper available online at http://ausweb.scu.edu.au/aw2k/papers/o_reilly/paper.html