In this article the authors address the situation in higher education of academic staff facing what they conceptualise as “bumpy moments and joyful breakthroughs” as they work through the process of becoming teachers in online learning environments. The article comes from a research project, which gathered and analysed data from systematic observations and questionnaires. The authors base their study on the known fact that while many academics have grounded experience in on-campus teaching and learning situations they do not necessarily have the skills required today for extending learning through on-line environments. The authors discover that when academics start teaching in online environments, or at least start facing the fact that there are requirements to do so, and they begin to explore this environment both personally and theoretically, “they encounter threshold concepts that can unsettle their most deeply held personal and pedagogical beliefs about what it means to teach and learn, and what it means to be an effective teacher and learner”. This paper gives an account of the research into these new conditions for educators and offers a set of recommendations “to inform the design of a multi-strategy academic staff learning program, which facilitated the development of online teaching skills”. [From Introduction to issue of ACCESS].
Northcote, M. T., Reynaud, D., Beamish, P., Martin, T., & Gosselin, K. P. (2011). Bumpy moments and joyful breakthroughs: The place of threshold concepts in academic staff development programs about online learning and teaching. ACCESS: Critical Perspectives on Communication, Cultural & Policy Studies, 30(2), 75-89.