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Core activity 6.1: The concepts of practice and competence

November 28, 2010
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Hillier, Y. (2002) ‘The quest for competence, good practice and excellence’ (online), The Higher Education Academy.

To be excellent has to mean more than good, it means very good, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. (page 2)

The NTFS also lists the following illustrative characteristics of excellent teachers:
• innovation in the design and delivery of learning activities;
• ability to organise course materials and present them effectively and imaginatively;
• provision of effective and sympathetic guidance, supervision and assessment of students, that enable student
advancement at all levels;
• a reflective approach to teaching and the support of learning in order to sustain self-development;
• the ability to arouse curiosity and to stimulate independent learning and the development of critical thought in
• a recognised commitment to the scholarship of both subject knowledge and learning and teaching;
• participation in professional activities and research related to learning and teaching;
• recognition of the value of student diversity;
• ability to share and promote good practice,

Most of the characteristics of excellence identified in policy models of teaching relate to:
• planning;
• resources;
• explicit statements of outcomes.

‘Excellence’ is a slippery concept which is used to reward certain practices in higher education, as a measure for possible future funding and is, in the consumer society, something increasingly expected by students who are paying personally for their education. (page 3)

Competences for online teaching (Goodyear et al.)

Centre for Studies in Advanced Learning Technology (CSALT)

Think about the implications  with how online teachers might be recruited, trained, assessed and certified.

Online continuing education is creating a new and distinct educational realm, and it is the future of education. There is a global market here that is potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars. (Drucker, 2000)

Education over the Internet is so big it’s going to make email look like a rounding error. (John Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems, 1999)

while some vendors of ‘online learning solutions;’ make their return-on –investment cases by disposing entirely of teacher or trainer costs, many more agile companies are realizing the need for flexibility and that a judicious mix of technology and teachers or trainers can help achieve greater learning effectiveness. (page 2)

According to Masie (2000), “88% of learners and 91% of managers want a trainer assigned to this e-learning experience…. 62% of learners and 63% of managers would be more likely to select an elearning class if a trainer were part of the package.”

how to conceptualize online teaching.

(a) competency-based

(b) humanistic

(c) cognitivist perspectives.


The Process Facilitator is concerned with facilitating the range of online activities that are supportive of student learning (contrast with content facilitator).
The Adviser-Counselor works with learners on an individual or private basis, offering advice or counseling to help them get the most out of their engagement in a course, (contrast with process facilitation, which is mainly, if not exclusively, done in the group or public setting.)
The Researcher is concerned with engagement in production of new knowledge of relevance to the content areas being taught. This is not necessarily restricted to teaching in the university context. Many people in most
companies also engage in the kinds of research activity that Gibbons et al. (1994) call “Mode 2 knowledge production.”
The Content Facilitator is concerned directly with facilitating the learners’ growing
understanding of course content
The Technologist is concerned with making or helping technological choices that improve the environment available to learners.
The Designer is concerned with designing worthwhile online learning tasks. (cf. process
facilitation, which is predominantly an “in course” activity; design work is predominantly a “precourse” activity.)
The Manager-Administrator is concerned with issues of learner registration, security, record keeping, and so on.

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