S3-CT4-1 - Engineering teachers’ approaches to teaching and learning online

3. Research Work In Progress
Ida Naimi-Akbar1 , Linda Barman1, Maria Weurlander1, 2
1 KTH Royal Institute of Technology
2 Stockholm University

This work in progress contribution reports on an ongoing phenomenographic study with the aim to explore engineering teachers’ experiences of teaching and learning online. The digitalization of higher education is a fact and raises new challenges for academics when creating education of high quality (Bennett & Lockyer, 2004). The scope of this contribution is beyond the discussion about the type of online learning (e.g. distance, blended) (Hrastinski, 2019) but investigate engineering teachers’ experiences related to designing and delivering educational activities online (via for example local learning management systems or, in a global setting via massive open online courses).

Teachers’ approaches and conceptions of teaching and learning and the relation to student learning is a well-investigated area (Åkerlind, 2003, Trigwell et al, 1999 and Kember, 1997) but less is known about teachers’ conceptual understanding of teaching and learning in the context of online teaching (Englund et al, 2017).

A study, undertaken a phenomenographic perspective, search for the variation in awareness of a phenomenon in a group of informants (Åkerlind, 2008). The fundamental assumption is that for all different phenomena, there exist different ways of understanding the phenomena (Åkerlind, 2008). This range of understanding gives a larger understanding of how phenomena can be understood. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with thirteen academics from two technical universities. The respondents were asked about how they conducted teaching and learning activities online, their intentions with different learning activities, and how they make use of online activities in regular engineering courses at the university. Participants were selected based on their previous experiences of creating and delivering MOOCs. Teachers from different stages in the academic carrier as well as from different engineering disciplines took part in the study in order to maximize the variation.

Preliminary findings from the ongoing analysis show that teachers experience teaching and learning online as transmission and reception of content (interactive coursebook), thoughtful pre-designed learning process or to create an open and inclusive learning experience. Awareness of teachers’ conceptions and experiences of online teaching and learning activities is important to provide faculty support for the development of online education activities.

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