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ERIC Number: EJ911749
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-1027-5207
Activity Design in Online Professional Development for University Staff
Macdonald, Janet
European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, n1 2010
Professional development for distance tutors is traditionally delivered through texts or websites, supplemented by face to face workshops. However, one of the major challenges is to ensure that they engage with the materials and carry away something which is of value to their practice. At the Open University (UK) our 8000 tutors work from home, and have few opportunities to meet fellow tutors on the course that they tutor. We have been exploring the use of online activity design to support tutors in learning by undertaking activities in online communities. This provides opportunities for professional development and discussion with their peers, while at the same time offering some flexibility in participation. This paper describes a case study of an award winning initiative at the Open University (UK) which now delivers professional development in online communities of distance tutors, operating at scale: some 2000 tutors have been trained to date, and our courses have a 75% completion rate. Drawing on data from 370 recent participants, it discusses some of the lessons we have learnt on the reasons for the widespread success of this initiative and the factors influencing effective activity design on the course. (Contains 4 figures and 2 tables.)
European Distance and E-Learning Network. Available from: EDEN Secretariat, c/o Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Egry Jozsef u 1, H-1111, Hungary. Tel: +36-1-463-1628; Fax: +36-1-463-1858; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom