For this assignment we have been asked to get a sense of the diversity of those involved in the profession of elearning by looking at job opportunities in the field via jobs.ac.uk and conference announcements on ALT-C.
At the time of writing (16th Jan 2012) there were 11 jobs with the keyword ‘e-learning’ and four with the keyword ‘elearning’ on jobs.ac.uk. Here’s a screen capture.
Though some jobs appear under both keywords, there seems to be a slight tendency for salaries on the right hand column to be a little higher, even though the nature of the appointments is similar (at the officer/manager level). Most of these jobs seem to reflect a supporting role for the educational technologist, though this doesn’t equate to a lack of seniority or executive power judging by the salaries and the various descriptions of duties. At the same time, there are some roles here where elearning is mentioned as an afterthought or as lip-service to current trends in higher education. For instance, the Assistant/Associate Professor in European History at Qatar University is expected to be competent with elearning methods but it’s not clear how this is integrated with other aspects of the job or what kind of measures the university intends to use. This gives the impression that the person writing the job specification may not themselves have a good understanding of elearning.
Moving on to the conference notices at ALT-C… there are currently four conferences being promoted here. They are as follows:
The first two are online webinars run using Blackboard virtual learning environments and intended for assessors and candidates for the CMALT professional membership scheme for elearning practitioners. Looking over the list of CMALT members at http://www.alt.ac.uk/sites/default/files/public/Cmalt%20holders%20list_20111121.pdf I noted that none of my OU colleagues seemed to be members (which is a bit surprising given the fact that CMALT is mentioned in H808).
The third event is a webinar featuring two eminent learning technologists, Diana Laurillard and Stephen Downes. There isn’t much in the way of detail about the content of the webinar – only the question ‘to what extent should learning design be supported computationally?’. Most of the page is just biographical information which suggests that they’re relying on reputation alone to sell the event.
The final event is a conference which takes place in Manchester next September. There aren’t many details here and you have to go to http://www.alt.ac.uk/altc2012 instead. The motivating questions for this conference seem to be very general and focused on the core activities of learning technologists rather than anything particularly topical. I suppose this lends weight to the idea that the activities of learning technologists can be highly diverse.