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Exploring staff attitudes to distance learning – what are the opportunities, challenges and impacts on engineering academics and instructional designers.

Saunders, Fiona and Brooks, James and Dawson, Mark (2019) Exploring staff attitudes to distance learning – what are the opportunities, challenges and impacts on engineering academics and instructional designers. European Journal of Engineering Education. ISSN 0304-3797

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Abstract

Higher Education Institutions often see distance learning as a means of expanding student numbers and increasing global reach and reputation. Much of the academic literature, however, remains focused on the impact of distance learning on students and the technologies that support it, rather than considering the impact on those staff that are tasked with designing and delivering it. We describe a qualitative study across two engineering departments in a research-intensive UK university, which examines staff perceptions of the impact of converting programmes from successful on-campus ones to distance learning. The findings provide a rich picture of the practical concerns that individual academics have over the impact of distance learning on pedagogy, on technology, on their institution, on students and on themselves. This is an important contribution to the literature that should benefit other engineering departments around the globe who are also grappling with the opportunities and challenges of distance learning.

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