The influence of external forces, institutional forces, and academics' characteristics on the adoption of positive teaching practices across australian undergraduate engineering

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Engineering Education, 2016, 32 (2), pp. 695 - 711
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2016 TEMPUS Publications. This study investigates how academics' personal beliefs, perspectives on institutional forces, and perspectives on external influences relate to their teaching and learning decision-making. Using a national-level survey of Australian engineering academics (n = 591; 16% of Australia's engineering academics), analyses investigate (1) how influences external and internal to the university environment vary across characteristics of academics, and (2) how academics' characteristics, organizational features, and external drivers relate to issues informing academics' teaching and their actual teaching practices. External and internal influences differed across academics based on their individual characteristics and university contexts, and academics' individual characteristics explained the greatest variability in their teaching considerations and practices. For external influences (e.g., accreditation), promoting awareness of educational goals for undergraduate engineering-as opposed to forcing outcomes into course planning-relates to more desirable teaching and learning practices. No internal institutional policy driver related to teaching practice variables. This study points to informed, professional development that seeks to capitalize on academics' personal interests and characteristics and assists in helping them understand how curricula and outcomes may better align to help student learning. Findings support working from a bottom-up model of change to improve the teaching and learning culture within engineering programs.
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