International Research Conference, Lancaster UK, 10-12th April 2006
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Exploiting Online Networks and Shared Repositories to Support the Professional Development of Distance Tutors: Introducing the PROWE Project

Organiser: Janet Macdonald
Open University in Scotland

Overview of symposium

In recent years, considerable effort and resource has been invested into the professional development of academic staff through the use of workshops, courses, resources or Faculty mentors. But while such provision may be effective for campus based staff, we know that part-time or off-campus staff can be professionally very isolated, and they welcome the rare opportunities to exchange thoughts and experiences with their peers. Of course, the kind of professional development which is appropriate will depend on the roles and remit of part time staff, and the institutional environment.

The Personal Repositories Online Wiki Environment project, PROWE for short, aims to investigate the use of informal repositories within Wikis and Weblogs by part-time tutors on distance education programmes in the two partner institutions, The Open University (UK) and University of Leicester (UoL). We will be investigating the use of Wikis and blogs for sharing and storing resources in the context of their own professional development needs. Informal repositories such as Wiki and Weblogs offer the lighter touch approach (no moderation, for example) and therefore, less staff resource intensive options to engage part-time remote tutors in interacting with other forms of repositories whilst analysing, synthesizing and producing new forms of knowledge. The project is funded for two years by the JISC Digital Repositories Programme and started in June 2005.

The papers in this seminar describe the roles and remits of part time tutors who work at the Open University (UK) and the University of Leicester and then focus on the potential of informal online networks and digital repositories for staff development, as an introduction to the Jisc funded PROWE project.

Symposium Papers (.pdf)

PROWE (Personal Repositories Online Wiki Environment) - a First Look
Anne Hewling

Professional Development for Distance Tutors in Distance and Campus Based Universities
Janet Macdonald and Tony Churchill

An Online Community for Shared Professional Development
Janet Macdonald and Sarah Cornelius

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Keynote Speakers

Peter Goodyear, University of Sydney

Ronghuai Huang,

Beijing Normal University

Vera A. Solis, Universidad Centroamericana

Lawrence Hamburg, Higher Education Academy

Sten Ludvigsen, Intermedia, Oslo

Lancaster University


Higher Education Academy

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