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R. Darcy

Monash University (AUSTRALIA)
Educational Design is a relatively new and exponentially expanding discipline in higher education. As a relatively young discipline, it has not yet “settled” into a well-understood, formal structure. The ever-increasing use of technology in education has played an enormous role in this surge, however educational design is much more than showing educators how they might use technology more effectively in their teaching. An educational designer requires, as part of their role, a broad range of knowledge and skills, which often includes: personal experience in academic research and teaching; exceptionally high-level skills in professional communication and negotiation; practical skills in educational technologies (including online learning management systems and multimedia platforms such as video capture); a basic understanding of web design; a thorough knowledge of university policy and academic administration; and a deep understanding of and passion for student-centred learning and teaching. Our role is often perceived, however, as a set of technical skills, rather than as a discrete academic discipline that requires ongoing research, in order to engage in debates and be part of the momentum driving innovation in higher education pedagogy.

This paper will focus on the role of the educational designer in higher education in Australia, examining the experiences and expectations—including the highs and lows—of this relatively new discipline. It will argue for the critical importance of the role of educational design in tertiary education, in bringing innovation to best practice learning and teaching, in the context of 21st century technologies.