This ongoing doctoral research project is concerned with theoretical understandings of university teaching using digital technologies. Lecturers are adopting a range of tools, both in-house and external, for the purposes of teaching and learning but the rationale and influences behind their choices has been largely underexplored. This research considers how theory could be employed to understand technology use and identifies where there are gaps in our knowledge. The project places an emphasis on how factors such as discipline, institution, policy contexts and personal attitudes contribute to these teaching practices. As technologies develop and become more pervasive in all areas of life, it is important that the expanding use of digital technologies in teaching is underpinned by scholarly appraisal of the educational and socio-cultural theories behind these practices. By addressing this question in a range of disciplines across two national contexts, Ireland and Scotland, this research contributes to knowledge on how best to support and develop academic staff in their use of technology for teaching whilst also counteracting technologically deterministic approaches which assume the presence of digital tools ensures quality teaching and learning. This is a qualitative research project which explores how lecturers report their practices, attitudes and experiences. 25 lecturers from multiple disciplines have participated in semi-structured interviews. Participants have been drawn from two universities: one in Scotland and one in Ireland. Lecturers have been selected on the basis of having some experience using digital technology for teaching purposes in any of the following modes: face to face, blended or distance learning. The research employs rhizome theory (Deleuze & Guattari 1987) as a theoretical lens to examine how lecturers operate in a complex and dynamic environment. This paper will present some initial observations from the data.
Drumm, L. (2015). Is There Theory Behind Practice? Theorising University Teaching With Digital Technologies.