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Stephen Bright:: dream bazaar - Online course design basics

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Stephen Bright
11 January 2013

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Stephen Bright: Online course design basics


Your situation (context) University of Waikato

 The University of Waikato is a smallish New Zealand university with approx. 650 academic staff and approximately 13,000 students. While there is an established history of distance education in some faculties (notably education) the implemenation of online learning activities to supplement FTF lectures and/or deliver to remote students is patchy in the rest of the university faculties.

There is no strategic plan for initiating elearning development - still a reliance on enthusiasts and early adopters/innovators to provide momentum for elearning developments.

There are no formal PD requirements for any lecturer who is new to teaching online. Whether they come to the notice of the support unit WCEL (Waikato Centre for eLearning) seems to be fairly random and serendipitous.

The change you would like to see (challenge)

 New staff are either recommended to enrol or automatically enrolled on this online course and are required to do it before they commence teaching online.

How you might go about bringing that change

 The pedagogical approach is constructivist with the main delivery using the Universities' current LMS (Moodle 2.2) as well as supplementary activities using some WEb 2.0 tools such as Nanogong/ Grockit answers, Vialogues and Voicethread.

Stephen Bright
01:29 on 11 January 2013

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Kristina Hollis
3:55am 11 January 2013

I like your ideas and I definitely think you have hit on a very much needed project in many institutions.  Do you envisage it involving some work on communities of practice at all?

Bronwyn Hegarty
6:40am 11 January 2013

Wow it is hard to believe that in this day and age a university could be so behind the times. Your goals sound achievable on 'paper' but are they realistic and pragmatic for such a staid organisation? Perhaps with the emphasis on Moodle, the other tools can be slipped in? what sort of course are you envisaging to get people interested in designing online learning? Bron

Stephen Bright
9:43pm 13 January 2013

Thanks Kristina - I guess it would be possible to include something around communities of practice although for most lecturers their immediate concern is their course and students. In most cases the target group will not have had any experience of either being a student on an online or blended course or having previously taught on an online or blended course. 

Yes I agree Bron - it is amazing that the level of expertise could be so variable (but it is). Having said that I guess what I am trying to do is major on Moodle and Panopto as well as minor on some Web 2.0 stuff such as Vialogues, Voicethread, Grockit Answers and But the key pedagogy (for me) is experiential learning - that is that the academic staff get to experience a short well-led online course which also gives them some ideas of the variety of activities that can add value to student learning in a blended or totally online course. 

Stephen Bright
9:45pm 13 January 2013

If either of you are interested in working with me on this idea you would be most welcome. But as I was planning to do this anyway as part of my key tasks for this year I will be carrying on with it regardless so if you find something else you would rather do please feel free to do something else... 

Stephen Bright
10:03pm 13 January 2013

FYI my major 'model' for online course design I use is the OTARA  design model, and as a kind of generic framework is the community of enquiry model  by Garrison, Anderson, Archer and Rourke et al. - the latest version of this can be found in Ch.14 Teaching Teaching in an Online Learning Context which is a chapter in the ebook The Theroy and Practice of Online Learning, second edition. 

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