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A Collaborative Work Embedded Approach To Professional Development

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.13.1 - 5.13.5



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Paper Authors

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Monique Osborn

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Dilip Nag

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3230

A Collaborative Work-Embedded Approach to Professional Development in Engineering Education.

Monique Osborn, Dilip Nag Monash University, Gippsland Campus, Australia


An ever increasingly diverse age, cultural and socio-economic student population has created a need for Australian Universities to reassess the educational processes that become part and parcel of the daily internal concern of the university. These processes can be summed up as teaching and learning effectiveness. Until the late eighties professional development for academics remained as a low priority, the long standing tradition being that specialised subject expertise was enough to qualify a person to teach at a university level. Presently professional opportunities have been made readily available for Australian engineering academics through the Centre for Higher Education Development. However the focus has generally been on content rather than teaching and learning. Therefore the appropriateness and effectiveness of some professional development has become a significant cause for concern. It is not surprising to find that the majority of Australian engineering educators have no formal teaching qualifications, having entered into the world of academia as a postgraduate student or directly from industry. This has also accentuated the misalignment of some current professional development with educators’ individual teaching needs.

Effective learning and teaching in higher education can not possibly evolve satisfactorily in an isolated context. Yet formal, ad hoc., adjunct courses are frequently held off campus. Consequently these courses often have not assisted with the identification and understanding of individual teaching needs as well as the learning needs of tertiary students. Due to this, a collaborative work-embedded professional development approach to enhance the growth of effective teaching practices, has been undertaken by a group of Monash University engineering educators together with academics from the Language and Learning Services Unit and teachers from an adjacent secondary school. This collaborative initiative was voluntarily undertaken by these educators to maximise their teaching effectiveness in order to minimise first year undergraduate transitional issues. Therefore, this paper seeks to promote the strengths of this alternative approach to professional development in relation to the implementation of a common first year civil engineering subject ENG1201.

2.The short comings of linear professional development.

As the need to address the effectiveness of learning and teaching has become a national concern, The Monash Learning and Teaching Operational Plan [1] has been created to redirect academic staff to personally assess their current teaching practices in conjunction with the professional development short courses currently offered. In this way academics will be suitably rewarded in their career path. Yet reflection upon the effectiveness of teaching and learning has not always been a crucial practice for engineering academics and consequently

Osborn, M., & Nag, D. (2000, June), A Collaborative Work Embedded Approach To Professional Development Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8212

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