Effective classroom teachers and the challenge of envisioning possibilities for online teaching

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

McCormack, C, Carbone, A & Dang, KA 2017, 'Effective classroom teachers and the challenge of envisioning possibilities for online teaching', in RG Walker & SB Bedford (eds.), Research and Development in Higher Education: Curriculum Transformation, 40 (pp 221-228). Sydney, Australia, 27–30 June 2017. ISBN 9780994554666

Peer Reviewed



The current higher education environment presents multiple challenges for academics. In their teaching, academics face larger classes, an ever-changing student cohort, and for many, institutional pressure to teach online. We address how this final challenge is tackled by reflective practitioners who are confident and skilled in classroom teaching. Our study focuses on academics as learners of teaching, rather than evaluating a particular program. We report here on one aspect of a full-year ethnographic investigation of 9 academics from various health and science disciplines at an Australian regional university to identify what and how they learn teaching. All the academics were engaged in unit level curriculum design as part of their teaching responsibilities. The data presented here comes from initial interviews with the academics that explored their conceptions of teaching and learning, how they became the teacher they are today, and their goals for the year ahead. Participants revealed limited vision and conceptions of learning design for online teaching, largely viewing their online space as a repository for recorded lectures and other resources. Universities therefore need to be aware that successful transition to the online learning environment will require complex and multi-faceted support for staff, beginning with developing a vision of effective curriculum and learning design for online teaching. Skills development alone will likely result in a simple translation of existing approaches to the online environment.