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Frances Deepwell: My 'dream' for a short course on academic advising/tutoring

Designing learning on academic advising

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Frances Deepwell
13 January 2013

Professional Development for Academic Advisers

One of the educational development projects I’m working on right now is to develop a short online induction for all academic advisers (personal tutors) at our University. Just for clarity, this is not for specialist professionals in advising, this is for mainstream Faculty who support a certain number of advisees through the duration of their HE studies - the advice can be about a range of things such as making sense of their own learning across courses, keeping on track, developing critical self-awareness, gaining practical experiences outside the taught curriculum, making sense of professional options etc.

This online course is a team development within the institution, and is based on our recent institutional research into students’ and staff experiences of academic advising and student support.

I want to take advantage of the mooc community through sharing ideas on what works well, getting feedback on our developing design, and gaining insight into existing resources, which I am sure are plentiful. One of the major constraints we are facing is time and the timeline. The course needs to be up and ready for roll-out by the end of May.

The other constraint is that the course will be part of the mandatory training for Faculty - the participants of the course will be across the spectrum of academic colleagues, and therefore the course needs to be inclusive of all HE levels, disciplinary and pedagogical variations, mode and location of students.

The Challenge

I hope to achieve an online course which assists academic colleagues/faculty in becoming more confident and consistent in fulfilling their responsibility to provide academic advice to their advisees. There are information pages on the academic adviser role, which are being updated at the same time but the intention is to make this a learning experience rather than an information exchange.

Pedagogical approach

The pedagogical approach is determined by team agreement and pragmatics.
The pedagogical intentions of this course pose some internal conflicts, which I’ll need to resolve - here are three of them:

  • the course should be largely self-directed and stand-alone, but I want to offer something other than a page-turning tutorial
  • the learning is both informational and reflective (for some, the learning is intended to bring about a transformational shift in professional behaviours)
  • progress, or at least engagement in its elements, needs to be monitored



  • Moodle will be the base platform - other technologies will be determined later.




Extra content

Embedded Content


Meg O'Reilly
2:54am 13 January 2013

Our interests are very similar and thoguh I ahve not yet created my 'dream' page, I feel like saying 'same as Frances'... but that may be because I am just coming back to work after a lovely time relaxing, camping and swimming. I will develop my own personal statement too, but for now there's my son's 30th birthday party to get to - bushranger outfir and all!

Caroline Cash
8:50am 13 January 2013

Hello Frances, Are you involved with the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education I know that their professional development working group have been looking to develop similar resources and will be very interested in your project. I look forward following your project. Caro

Frances Deepwell
12:05am 14 January 2013

Hello Meg and Caroline and thank you for commenting. It's encouraging to get some response here!  Meg, I hope you enjoyed the party as a bushranger and look forward to reading your Dream.

Caroline, I do know ALDinHE and greatly enjoyed attending their conference in 2011, in Belfast - thanks for the link to their CPD site. The project I'm crafting is for faculty-based academic staff to support them in their role as personal tutors, rather than for learning developers. 

If you'd like to join with me in a study circle of academic developers looking to discuss how we can design a short self-directed online professional development course along the lines I posted above (but looking at the design rather than the content) you're most welcome... not sure how tho'! 

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