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Tracey Johnson: My dream: Learning design project proposal - Teaching teachers to teach online

Teaching teachers to teach online

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Tracey Johnson
11 January 2013

Describe a learning situation you are involved in, a change you would like to see in that situation, and how you think you can bring about that change.

My situation (context)


I am an Educational Designer at the University of South Australia.  I provide advice and support to Academics teaching online or in blended deliveries.

All courses must have an online presence. I can describe the Academics as ranging from reluctant hostages through to innovative champions, with the majority fitting somewhere in between.  There are time issues balancing research/publishing with teaching and a broad lack of digital literacy skills.

Traditional workshops have been held to train staff but the focus has been on the technology and not how to teach online.  Often staff attend the workshop but don't use the tool soon enough and need 1:1 followup later on.

Teaching online:

Knowing how to add a forum demonstrates a skill.  But not participating in the forum regularly demonstrates they don't understand how to teach with a forum.

The change I would like to see (challenge)

Develop an "ideal" online course which teaches Academics how to teach online.

It needs to be productive, re-usable, collaborative.  Include both technical support using the tools as well as pedagogical.  Include case studies, show case exemplars.

Allow staff to start, pause and continue.  Easily find what they're looking for so it can't all be linear.


How you might go about bringing that change

Developed in Moodle with adobe connect, mahara and echo360 as the tools.

Extra content

Just read this:

Mor, Yishay (2011). Context is what we take for granted: addressing context in design-centric teacher
training. In: ”Context and Technology Enhanced Learning (ConTEL): Theory, methodology and design”
workshop, EC-TEL 2011, 21/9/2011, Palermo.

Mor, Yishay (2011). Context is what we take for granted: addressing context in design-centric teacher training. In: ”Context and Technology Enhanced Learning (ConTEL): Theory, methodology and design” workshop, EC-TEL 2011, 21/9/2011, Palermo.

and realised I didn't adequately describe the context for which I want to design - therefore the design will be inadequate.  "When we set forth to train learning designers, we need to develop their ability to notice, describe, and analyse context, and systematically refer to it in the solutions they propose.... else we [rely] on [our] intuitive familiarity with the natural work environment, and substitut[ed] ad-hoc responsive tweaks for pre-meditated design.

The first task of our group should be to refine the context of the problem we're trying to solve!


Force-mapping: a practitioner would present her design narrative to her group members, and they in turn would interrogate her to identify the forces in play in the situation she describes: the actors, their beliefs, constraints, desires and the environment in which they operate. They would then sketch visual representations for these and note the relationships between them  – marking “+” for supporting relations and “-” for conflicting ones. 


Tracey Johnson
12:10 on 18 January 2013 (Edited 13:43 on 18 January 2013)

Embedded Content

Context is what we take for granted: addressing context in design-centric teacher training

Context is what we take for granted: addressing context in design-centric teacher training

added by Tracey Johnson


Anne Bradbury
1:18pm 12 January 2013

Hi Tracey,

This does have similarities to the area I am currently working in (and with Helen Walmsley's project topic , too, as you've already commented). 

I've outlined the context I am working in there but would like to keep in touch/be involved on this, if that's OK?


Lesley Shield
1:45pm 12 January 2013

Yes, this area does have similarities to the area I'm currently workng in (with Anne). I'd also be interested in keeping in touch on this one ;-)


Ann Davis
5:11pm 12 January 2013

I would say that one of the things that you want to share is exactly what you had to do to create your online class.  Just like a face-to-face course, preparation is the key. 

I like using Adobe Connect for live virtual sessions because of how easy it is to set up the session ahead of time and that a room can be used over and over again.  In virtual sessions, it is important to use similar rules as in a face-to-face learning, such as making sure the students are active participants and that the activities are delivered in  many forms.  I have sat through many, many sessions where the built-in polls were overused, and frankly I got bored. But by simply changing it up from a poll to having to type in a response it varied and kept the student involved.  Make use of the break-out session feature and allow for some times where the students become the teacher.

If part of the curriculum includes recorded sessions at all, if possible, break those up into several small bits rather than one long recording.  It makes it easier to get through the material (and be able to take a break) and easier to reference again as needed.

Tracey Johnson
11:38pm 12 January 2013

Hi Ann and Lesley,

Thanks for responding.  i have put out a request in the open group discussion to attract interested participants.

I would like to team up with you both.  I need to check the next step - do you have ideas about how to proceed?

Kind regards


Daniel Staemmler
1:40pm 13 January 2013 (Edited 1:41pm 13 January 2013)

Hi Tracey,

I just put up my own project proposal ( I am looking for others who are interested in developing a curriculum on how to teach lecturers to prepare engaging and interactive webinars. Maybe we can join forces since I assume my proposed subject could be a sub theme of yours.

Cheers, Daniel

Bill Steele
4:19pm 13 January 2013


I would be interested in collaborating on this. My intention was to creat an examplar module that would engage staff to examine the design principles. In our case it is Turnitin - our particular hot topic

Christie McKee
9:40pm 13 January 2013

I have been in teacher and admin professional development for most of my life, creating mostly onground workshops. I would be interested in further disucssions of collaboration.

Fred Haas
10:56pm 13 January 2013 (Edited 3:47pm 14 January 2013)


I tried to find a cloud on the team-up page but no luck. I have been teaching online for a number of years now, have used multiple platforms for a variety of classes, and think I could offer some help on this project.


Pauline Porcaro
2:55am 14 January 2013

Hi Tracey, as I work with academics and teaching staff I am interested in this area. I'll be working on PD with them this year to enhance their skills in the flipped classroom approach given our new building is all learning spaces. We are, in some cases, having difficulty getting staff to move from traditional teaching to using the learning spaces in a productive way, we'd like to see the classroom time used for student project time while the traditional teaching should be moved to online environments. With this in mind your project sounds appropriate for me to work on as well (and we're in almost the same time zone!) Cheers Pauline Ps at the moment I can't use Google groups as RMIT has blocked it for our use, I'm hoping this is fixed soon!

Bronwyn Hegarty
8:46am 14 January 2013

We have run a course called Facilitating online for a number of years - it is totally open and assists participants to explore a range of tools - see:

Feel free to explore the resources. The beauty of the course was that digital information capability developed when participants engaged in the activities, and they could choose the technologies or platforms to facilitate an event specific to their context. People used computer conferencing, discussion forums, virtual worlds and a number of web 2.0 tools. They had a ball. We also encouraged informal (non-enrolled participation) and the conversations were rich and varied with many talented facilitators (e.g., Nancy White, George Siemens) taking part or presenting and modelling good practice and mentoring people new to the idea of online facilitating. It was challenging but lots of fun. I have had a request to run the course again this year and may take up the challenge. Helping partcipants create an online identity and presence is vital. What do you think?


Fawei Geng
4:50pm 14 January 2013 (Edited 4:50pm 14 January 2013)

Hi Tracey,

Thank you for sharing your interesting project.   My project in fact tries to address the similar issue from a slightly different angle.  Instead of running a course, my project aims to create an online space where staff can share their successful stories of using learning technologies and help each other.  The project details:

Once you team up with others, the next step is to start a study circle.   As my project is closely related to yours, would you like starting the study circle together? 

BTW, I have set up a circle here -  You are welcome to join.


Leslie Johnson
1:32am 15 January 2013

Hi Tracey,

I'm new to MOOCs and came to this one without a project in mind. But when I saw your project description in the Dream Bazaar, I thought Bingo! This fits the bill perfectly. A few years ago it was decided that all courses at my tiny college in NE Alberta, Canada, should have at least a companion site, and since then we've put a lot of effort into teaching our instructors how to use the LMS in a functional sense. It's now clear that we need to change our focus and help our instructors learn how to teach using the LMS.

I hope there's still room for me in your cloud!


Tracey Johnson
12:53pm 16 January 2013

Hello Everyone,

I think I have gathered everyone who indicated their interest in this project.
First a brief catch-up.... then an action request at the end :)
This email is an update (and apology) to let you know I am still very keen to progress; but returning to work yesterday from holidays left me somewhat overwhelmed.  When will Microsoft develop a way to prevent emails from hitting your inbox when you have out-of-office on?
Like many of us this MOOC is also a bit overwhelming so trying to catch-up!  I think we need to create a circle - so that's my next step.
Action request:
Please let me know if you are still interested in teaming up?  
Kind regards

Pauline Porcaro
12:38am 17 January 2013

Hi Tracey, yes I'm still interested in being involved. I'm still on holidays though and will be down the beach from this weekend till the 28th so may be a little distracted but will certainly check in from time to time. Starting this in holiday time is somewhat distracting! Cheers pauline

neal aitkin
2:01am 18 January 2013

Hi Tracey, 

I am interested in being involved. Like others, I am trying to get my head around getting back to work after Christmas and participating in this MOOC (started a week late due to holidays) but I am keen to team up on your project.



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