Academic engagement in pedagogic transformation

Rachel Maxwell*, Cesar Alejandro Armellini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Between 2014 and 2018, the University of Northampton underwent an intense 5-year period of institutional transformation that impacted its approach to learning and teaching, in readiness for its move to a brand new, digitally rich campus in September 2018. This chapter considers both the direct and indirect lessons learned from our experiences in engaging the academic community at Northampton in this large-scale pedagogic transformation and how these lessons might inform the debate about virtual universities.

Key decisions and their impact on staff engagement with the project are explored through the lens of a quality enhancement model for pedagogic transformation. Ultimately, transformation on an institutional scale required strong strategic leadership and a rationale to set an unequivocal direction of travel. We reflect on how this evidence-support-agency approach to pedagogic change unknowingly prepared the university for the COVID-19 pandemic. We consider how such changes and catalysts such as a global pandemic could inform the future development of an entirely virtual university.

Our experiences suggest that the creation of a virtual university will require similar lessons and activities to those used to transform learning and teaching and Northampton: Substitution and replication will not suffice. Rather, there needs to be an intentional set of interrelated processes that turn disruptions into positive and lasting change. We propose an adapted version of Northampton’s quality enhancement model for pedagogic transformation that demonstrates how the academic community might be encouraged to participate in, shape, and even own a radical and innovative development such as the creation of a virtual university and thereby mainstream large-scale pedagogic transformation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechnology-Enhanced Learning and the Virtual University
EditorsMicheal David Sankey, Henk Huijser, Rachel Fitzgerald
ISBN (Electronic)9789811994388
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2023

Publication series

NameUniversity Development and Administration
ISSN (Print)2522-5626
ISSN (Electronic)2522-5634


  • ABL
  • active blended learning
  • emergency remote teaching
  • online learning
  • pedagogic transformation
  • quality enhancement

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