Trust, Innovation and Risk: a contextual inquiry into teaching practices and the implications for the use of technology

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Donna Lanclos
Lawrie Phipps


If we are to bring about lasting changes around the use of technology in teaching and learning in colleges and universities, we need to understand the practices that staff undertake and the challenges they face. Effective and sustained change comes from a place of working in service to pedagogies, and practices that support and surround learning and teaching. In order to better understand these issues Jisc commissioned research to gain more understanding about practice around learning and teaching and gaining insights beyond the technology-led. 

This research captures the voices and experiences of people who are and have been teaching in higher and further education, drawing on senior and junior teaching scholars, across a broad range of academic discipline. The themes that emerged from this research and questions that arise come from more than 22 hours of interviews and several workshops providing insights about both practices and priorities for teaching staff. We report our research results here as an act of amplifying and advocating rather than discovery; we are under no illusions that these results have never been said before. The intent is to inform and support, to boost the voices that are coming through in our research and not pretend that we have discovered this for the first time. We also wanted, in conducting this project, to move away from starting with digital, and to ground discussions in the behaviours of people who were teaching, whether their practices had anything to do with digital or not.


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How to Cite
Lanclos, D., & Phipps, L. (2019). Trust, Innovation and Risk: a contextual inquiry into teaching practices and the implications for the use of technology. Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 4(1), 68–85.
Original Research (Extended Report)
Author Biographies

Donna Lanclos

Donna Lanclos is an anthropologist who has made the people who inhabit academia her particular interest since 2009.  She has conducted fieldwork in universities in the US, UK, and Ireland, and her work has informed institutional decisions around digital and physical places, policies, and services.  In addition to her research around the practices and motivations of students, professors, librarians, and other academic staff, she writes and conducts workshops to develop and deepen digital practices, and to introduce and encourage ethnographic practices in institutional settings.

Lawrie Phipps, Jisc

Lawrie Phipps is a senior co-design manager in Jisc’s research and development directorate. His current portfolio contains work in student experience, technology enhanced learning, digital leadership and change management. Previously working for the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, and leading their work on the Changing Learning Landscape Programme, he now leads Jisc’s work on Digital Leadership. His previous work includes social media in education, institutional efficiency, and accessibility for disabled students. Lawrie is a former Chair of the Staff and Educational Development Association, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  


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