Key issues to be addressed are: the practices and the position of ‘educational developers’ and ‘learning technologists’ in UK higher education.
The session draws on a study which explores professional paths and relationships and respective approaches to supporting teaching and learning including the use of information and communication technology within what is seen as a changing university context.
The study suggests that the balance of power, in terms of the value placed on economic, cultural and social capital in the ‘knowledge economy’ (Blunkett, 2000), is shifting from concentrating on teaching, learning and scholarship, towards notions of ‘innovation’ influenced by the use of new technologies, business imperatives and new forms of management. This shift in the UK is underpinned by successive periods of reform and restructuring of the university, where both ‘new’ professionals and ‘old’ professionals are subject to social and political pressures initiated by new forms of central governance and a growing bureaucracy of change (Clark, 1998; Gibbons, 1998; Deem, 2001, 2006).
The theoretical framework and the empirical base of the study will be presented as one approach taken to exploring complex fields and sub-fields, as the social arenas in which capital is accumulated and where struggles for power and resources take place (Bourdieu and Wacquant, 1992).
The paper raises questions about current conditions shaping professional paths and argues that academic development (which includes the use of new technologies) requires both a creative and critical approach to scholarship and research to create the most appropriate and creative conditions for teaching and learning in a complex climate of change. It is hoped that this will form the basis for a lively discussion about the field and methodologies for researching the field.
Higher Education, Research Methodologies, Academic Development, Scholarship.