Lessons for Staff Development: Lecturers’ Transition from Face-to-Face to Online Teaching for Masters Courses in Higher Education

Alison Clapp


During the COVID-19 pandemic there has been an almost universal pivot to emergency online teaching in higher education, requiring staff development as online teaching differs from teaching face-to-face. The transition has been at short notice, with rapidly created training and little time to engage. Past research into the transition to teach online is scarce. The study described here, carried out in the year before COVID-19, aimed to investigate the how previous experiences of learning and training affected transition, and how staff made sense of the experience, adding to knowledge on successful transition to teaching online distance learning courses. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was carried out after interviewing five experienced online teaching staff in a Graduate School, using semi-structured interviews and open-ended questioning. The overarching themes found were connections to online learning and teaching communities, and developing membership of, and activities in, these communities themselves. Staff with good connections to the online teaching community via other experienced staff, training, and prior experience as online students were able to make the transition to teach online with comparative ease, compared to those who did not. With little connection to the online teaching community, transition was slow and staff retained a greater connection to face-to-face teaching and its community. Post-pandemic, the study suggests that designs for staff development, relational agency (working for short periods with online teaching experts) and situated learning within an online environment are beneficial if elements of online learning and teaching are to be retained for the future.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijce.v4i2.5248


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International Journal of Contemporary Education

ISSN 2575-3177 (Print)   ISSN 2575-3185 (Online)

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