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New Frontiers: The ‘E-Academic’ in Higher Education
chapterposted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by Lisa BurkeLisa Burke
A decade ago, tertiary academics who combined traditional campus-based and online deliveries were described as ‘early adopters’ (McShane, 2004). With considerable growth in the new frontier of online teaching, these early adopters have embraced changing roles and competencies to now engage only in online delivery. Whilst a sizeable body of research has detailed the learning styles, needs and successes of online students, a comparable paucity of research details the experiences of online academics. Via research, practice reflections and personal accounts, this chapter illuminates the life of the ‘e-academic’ who specialises in the online development and delivery of educational materials. Predictors of strong performance, role satisfaction and wellbeing in e-academia are examined in considering what makes a good online academic. First-hand accounts of the e-academic will be offered that illuminate the e-academic as an author, designer, navigator, motivator, catalyst, technician and advocate. In addition to looking inwards at e-academics, this chapter looks outwards to consider where online academics fit in traditional tertiary settings. The portrayal of e-academics as “outcasts on the inside” (Costa, 2015) will be considered in examining juxtapositions between online and traditional roles. With research suggesting academics feel ill-equipped to perform online roles, practice-based tips will be offered to support successful transitions between traditional and online education.