|Applied Educational Studies|
|Senior Lecturer in Technology Enhanced Learning (retired)|
|University of Hull|
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A day in the life of a Senior Lecturer in Technology Enhanced Learning (retired) in the United Kingdom
Undergraduates should concentrate on developing interpersonal and soft skills of collaborative working and should be prepared for lifelong learning in what follows after graduation.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
School of Education, University of Hull, UK.
What do you do?
Until my retirement in February 2020, I supervised Postgraduate Research students (MA, EdD, PhD) in Education, specialising in e-learning, blended learning, technology enhanced learning. I worked with students from the UK, USA, Malta, Saudi Arabia and Libya. Previously, I led a BA course for Teacher Education students specialising in ICT.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
After 12 years as a primary school teacher I was seconded to a Local Authority as an Advisory Teacher. Subsequently, I worked in Initial Teacher Education and following my doctorate in Education, as a Postgraduate Research students supervisor.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
No, I think I've wanted to be a teacher since I was ten.
Describe your most memorable day at work
The day I started managing a large EU-funded blended learning course: this was a life-changing experience! Over the next few weeks I was involved in: recruiting project staff; setting up a website; liaising with subject specialists and technical staff to design the course; advertising and promoting the course; recruiting students; inducting students and subject tutors in blended learning practices; and managing the course over its 2-year duration. I learned a lot about negotiation and talking to people from different backgrounds and with different agendas. Most of all, I learned about my strengths and weaknesses.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
I would say that the challenges were no different to working in any large and hierarchically-organised institution: a distant chain of command from 'the top'; inadequate time and resourcing; medium-term uncertainty as to my role. What helped overcome these was the professional friendships developed at local level.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
As I worked in a university, the culture was relatively relaxed. As many of my colleagues were also ex-school teachers we shared a similar outlook and beliefs, and these included a high level of self-driven professionalism. I could see some colleagues in danger of 'burnout', and this was a present danger of the job. I found working towards a doctorate while holding down a full-time job was particularly stressful.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
As an undergraduate I was involved as a DJ for a mobile disco (this got me into lots of parties) and was for a short time a DJ for a student radio station. These experiences were great fun and did absolutely nothing for my studies, but were very valuable in developing my self confidence.
What would you like to do next with your career?
I've retired, but I retain membership of the editorial boards of number of academic journals in Education. I have also set up a website to advise domestic users on Internet security and privacy (see: https://stepsintheriver.wordpress.com).
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
Part of my research involved the changing nature of work in the graduate professions and I've had a couple of articles published (see: https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2016.1216084 and https://doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2018.1520491). Essentially these say that the subject content of many degree courses is time-limited and the nature of graduate jobs is increasingly unpredictable. Therefore, undergraduates should concentrate on developing interpersonal and soft skills of collaborative working and should be prepared for lifelong learning in what follows after graduation.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
General study and motivational issues. Any educational issues, but in particular anything related to the application of digital technologies to learning (from primary schools to post-doc).
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Please look at the website I've set up to advise domestic users on Internet security and privacy: https://stepsintheriver.wordpress.com. Please share it with your friends and family, as their Internet safety is important!
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