Enabling connections in postgraduate supervision for an applied eLearning professional development programme

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Abstract:

This article describes the practice of postgraduate supervision on a blended professional development programme for academics, and discusses how connectivism has been a useful lens to explore a complex form of instruction. By examining the processes by which supervisors and their students on a two-year part-time masters in Applied eLearning negotiated the blended approach adopted to supervision, it illustrates the conditions that enable connections to occur and flourish. The socio-technical context for supervision was supported using learning technologies (VLE, research wikis and ePortfolios), small group supervision (two to three supervisors and students) and traditional individual supervision. Qualitative data were obtained through surveys and focus groups, and analysed using a framework which drew on connectivist principles. Findings suggest that for increased connections between supervisors and their students, a sense of sanctuary, community and regulation within the supervision process is important; the role of technologies in unifying postgraduate supervision in professional development are discussed.

Keywords: blended learning; connectivism; eLearning; higher education; postgraduate; professional development; supervision

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2013.784873

Affiliations: The Learning, Teaching and Technology Centre, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland.

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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