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Teacher talk: flexible delivery and academics' praxis in an Australian university

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This article reveals how a university-wide decision to implement flexible delivery at an Australian regional university stimulated academics' praxis in the form of committed, collaborative inquiry into teaching practice and students' learning. This inquiry took the form of deliberately developed conversations amongst academics about their teaching practices. The article reports the discussions of a group of seven education academics who met regularly over a 6-month period to better understand, with a view to improving, their teaching practices in the context of the introduction of a new e-technology platform at their university. Analysis of detailed transcripts of semi-structured meetings of the group suggests considerable evidence of praxis amongst members. This was evident in the way participants interacted with one another in their efforts to interrogate what flexible learning meant, their response to the change process instigated by the move to flexible delivery, and their critique of the usefulness of information and communication technologies for teaching practice and student learning. The findings validate collaborative inquiry approaches as a form of praxis in university settings. Cet article explique dans quelle mesure la decision de mettre en oeuvre l'enseignement flexible au sein d'une universite regionale australienne a stimule la praxis d'universitaires dans le sens d'une recherche collaborative, engagee, portant sur la pratique enseignante et l'apprentissage des etudiants. Cette recherche a pris la forme de conversations developpees deliberement entre des universitaires au sujet de leurs pratiques d'enseignement. L'article rend compte des discussions ayant eu cours entre sept universitaires provenant des sciences de l'education, lesquels se sont rencontres de facon reguliere durant une periode de 6 mois de facon a mieux comprendre, et ultimement ameliorer, leurs pratiques d'enseignement dans le contexte de l'introduction d'une nouvelle plateforme technologique au sein de l'universite. Une analyse des transcriptions detaillees d'entretiens de groupe semi-structures suggere la presence d'une praxis tres developpee au sein des membres. Ceci est rendu evident par la facon avec laquelle les participants interagissent les uns avec les autres avec l'objectif de questionner ce que signifie l'apprentissage flexible, leur reaction au processus de changement instaure par le deplacement vers l'enseignement flexible, et leur critique de l'utilite des technologies de l'information et de la communication pour la pratique d'enseignement et l'apprentissage etudiant. Les resultats permettent de valider les approches de recherche collaborative comme forme de praxis dans le contexte universitaire.
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Keywords: collaborative inquiry; flexible delivery; flexible learning; praxis; tertiary teaching practices

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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