Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Bird, JL 2004, 'Professional naval gazing: flexible learning professionals into the future', in R Atkinson, C McBeath, D Jonas-Dwyer & R Phillips (eds), Proceedings of the 21st Ascilite Conference: Beyond the comfort zone, Perth, WA, 5-8 December, Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, vol. 1.

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Designers and developers working in Australian universities are an ill defined professional group whose role in the design and development of flexible learning programs and materials is of increasing strategic importance to their institutions. Their roles have undergone significant change over the last 10 years with the rapid and simultaneous impact of flexible learning, new technologies, internationalisation, massification and economic rationalism. This empirical study aims to describe the profession by job title and award, qualification and core activities. Results demonstrate an increasing diversity of job titles, particularly new positions related to web/online and multimedia development, a mix of academic and administrative classifications, changed core duties particularly in the areas of online learning and staff development, and some differences between various groups in the core activities in which they engage. The paper calls for the profession to step outside its comfort zone and reopen the debate about the advantages and disadvantages of professionalisation.

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