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Shaping online teaching practices: The influence of professional and academic identities

Michael Henderson (Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Scott Bradey (Teaching and Learning Division, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia)

Campus-Wide Information Systems

ISSN: 1065-0741

Article publication date: 28 March 2008




This paper aims to investigate the influence of professional and academic identities in online teaching practices in higher education.


This paper draws on data from a longitudinal study of five professional degree academics teaching subjects in nursing, teaching, engineering, allied health sciences, and journalism (here a “subject” refers to a course or unit which is usually undertaken over a semester and forms a part of a larger degree program). The research utilises community of practice as a social theory of learning, and the construct of identity, to better understand the connection between academic teachers' pedagogical beliefs and their teaching practices in a web‐enhanced learning setting. The authors contend that lecturers' online teaching practices are mediated by their continually negotiated identities as members of multiple communities of practice.


This research has found that the professional degree lecturers intentionally utilised the available technologies and tools to enact pedagogical strategies in ways that enabled them to manage the integrity of their occasionally conflicting identities as educators, professional practitioners and institutional employees.


This research goes beyond the assumption that past experiences flavour teachers' pedagogical styles. A lecturer continually negotiates and maintains multiple identities where each represents a fundamental understanding of the world and can sometimes be at odds with one‐another. This study has revealed how educational technologies have mediated the gap between the multiple identities held by teaching academics and been used as a bridging mechanism to connect beliefs with practice.



Henderson, M. and Bradey, S. (2008), "Shaping online teaching practices: The influence of professional and academic identities", Campus-Wide Information Systems, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 85-92.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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