McDowell, James, Raistrick, Andrew and Merrington, Jane (2013) Enhancing institutional practice through CMALT accreditation. In: ALT-C 2013 - Building new cultures of learning, 10th - 12th September 2013, University of Nottingham, UK.

This presentation highlights the work of a project which has seen the formation of a university-wide community of learning technologists (cf. Conole, Ingraham & Cook, 2003) aiming to enhance institutional practice through professional accreditation as Certified Members of the Association for Learning Technology (CMALT).

Building on the work of an institutional initiative at a north of England HEI aimed at encouraging academics to explore innovative approaches to the technological enhancement of teaching and learning, learning technology advisors (LTAs) are helping to embed best practice emerging from a series of innovative university-sponsored teaching and learning interventions.

As a CMALT Assessor and an academic at the institution, the Project Lead encouraged LTAs from across the institution to form a community of practice (Wenger, 2007) based around peer-mentoring processes underpinned by a self-peer-tutor approach (McConnell, 2006). Dedicated to supporting all members of the community in becoming CMALT Holders, an eportfolio system has provided a central focal point for LTAs to develop drafts of statements addressing the core areas and their specialist option, and to present the supporting evidence against each of the key criteria to be met.

The peer mentoring approach has helped to (i) ensure a snowballing of the rate of development of CMALT portfolios within the community, (ii) encourage colleagues in related roles to join the community and begin developing their own CMALT portfolios, and (iii) accelerate dissemination of best practice emerging from the evaluation of innovative approaches developed around the institution, facilitating extension into other disciplines.

Embracing the opportunity for LTAs to reflect on their professional practice, while formalising recognition of work which has supported academic-led teaching and learning initiatives, this ongoing project has benefitted:

• LTAs – by achieving professional recognition as CMALT Holders
• Schools – by empowering LTAs to embed innovative TEL practices in their Schools
• Students – by extending best practice in TEL emerging from projects in other Schools
• University – by enhancing the profile of the institution through significant increases in LTAs achieving professional recognition and engaging in dissemination activities.

The project is making a significant contribution to the implementation of the institutional Teaching and Learning Strategy, directly addressing an aim for all academic-related colleagues to be high-achieving, reflective people, at the forefront of their fields, and active in appropriate professional practice.

Delegates attending this session will hear from a panel comprised of core members of the community, including the Project Lead and three LTAs.

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