Transformative online education for educators: Cascading progressive practice in teaching, learning and technology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)


As we come to understand more about what current and emerging technologies can offer in supporting and developing pedagogic practice, there has been a growing focus on the transformative potential of technology in relation to the student experience, and also the ability of educational institutions to meet 'big picture' challenges including widening access, student diversity and skills development (e.g. the work of the TESEP project transform; JISC, 2008). However, while the primary concern is rightly around how to engage students in learning effectively within technology-supported contexts, it is important not to lose sight of the educator. One argument here is that unless the educator on the ground (and in the 'online classroom') understands what it means to be an online learner, and has experienced what good technology-supported offers, then the potential to use technology in truly transformative ways will remain only partially fulfilled. This perspective has driven a slight shift towards more learner-centred staff development in recent years, and there are also a slowly growing number of accredited programmes in educational technology. This paper presents one such programme, Edinburgh Napier University's MSc Blended and Online Education (MSc BOE), which is based around a specific model of course design that is intended to quickly empower the professional educator in experiencing the benefits of current and emerging technologies, whilst simultaneously applying their developing knowledge and skills to supporting learners in their own FE, HE and staff development contexts. Driven by choice and negotiated learning, this approach sees participants work from the outset on personally relevant technology-supported initiatives, and group projects around common interests. Critically the programme's approach sees the participants gradually assume more control over the programme itself, and this has both a developmental as well as an intentional role re-defining purpose. After introducing the MSc BOE, and then exploring key ways in which it aspires to model a progressive pedagogic approach to blended and online education, this paper then explores the ways in which members of the programme community have cascaded their work on the programme into their own learning, teaching and assessment practices, and more widely. The paper concludes by outlining important practical considerations associated with a programme like the MSc BOE, which may help others to further realise the transformative potential of technology within their own contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication8th European Conference on eLearning 2009, ECEL 2009
PublisherAcademic Conferences Limited
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781622767076
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event8th European Conference on eLearning 2009, ECEL 2009 - Bari, Italy
Duration: 29 Oct 200930 Oct 2009

Publication series

Name8th European Conference on eLearning 2009, ECEL 2009


Conference8th European Conference on eLearning 2009, ECEL 2009


  • Educational technology
  • Learner empowerment
  • Online learning
  • Progressive pedagogy
  • Staff development
  • Transformative learning


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