An extensive review of literature has been carried out about the readiness of educators to different aspects of digital education. Subsequently a multidimensional model was developed to describe the readiness of academics for distance education. The model was refined through various research initiatives with various categories of educators. This paper describes the research study carried out about the readiness for Distance Education of academics from Western Balkan Universities in the context of the SMARTEL Project. Readiness is defined in terms of professional qualities and professional competences. Professional qualities, considered as first-order dimensions, include epistemological beliefs, pedagogical conceptions and psychological factors. These determine the second-order dimensions which include the professional competences pedagogical practice, competence in ‘design for learning’, digital competences and awareness of environmental factors that influence the educational ecosystem. A survey was developed based on these dimensions and administered to academics from seven Western Balkan Universities. The data collected was used to identify readiness factors in terms of professional qualities and competences and in terms of the academic and technological support mechanisms underpinning distance education programmes.
Associate Professor, Leadership for Learning and Innovation, University of Malta, Malta
Readiness, Digital Education, Educators