Perceptions of teacher competencies in a new higher education blended learning programme: An exploratory study

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Michael Bowles, Zayed University
Amir Kaviani, Zayed University

Document Type


Source of Publication

Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning

Publication Date



In a post-digital world, blended teaching and learning is now considered a mainstream approach to pedagogy in higher education. While it is not new, the adoption of this approach was accelerated by the enforced move to emergency online teaching and learning during Covid-19. Research has shown that blended learning in higher education is more effective than online learning and face-to-face learning conducted separately. Currently, one university in the Middle East is embarking on an ambitious digital transformation project that involves the development of a new degree programme and the transition from a predominantly face-to-face teaching model to a blended learning teaching model. This includes the use of a bespoke, digital learning platform and a range of general education courses which are underpinned by an active, flipped learning approach. Together these have created an entirely new blended teaching ecology. Implementing and sustaining such an approach depends on teachers embracing a new mindset and developing new teacher qualities. It also requires the acquisition of both adaptive and technical skills related to new pedagogical approaches and new technology platforms and tools. This exploratory, autoethnographic study focuses on the lived experiences of two higher education teachers who started teaching in this new programme. The study focused on and analysed their journal entries using a systematic teacher competency framework to identify which competencies were more significant in their transition to a blended teaching approach. The findings of the study show that seven competencies feature more heavily in the journal entries, including orientation towards change and improvement, grit, use of instructional strategies and instructional tools. The paper highlights some relevant implications for teachers and university management, who may be considering a similar transformation that uses a blended learning model of teaching. It also suggests that further research into the experiences of teachers could benefit the field.Keywords: blended learning and teaching; teacher competencies, mindsets, qualities; adaptive skills; technical skills; digital transformation; teaching ecologyPart of the Special Issue Teaching practices in times of digital transformation










blended learning and teaching, teacher competencies, teacher mindsets, teacher qualities, adaptive skills, technical skills, digital transformation, teaching ecology

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Open Access