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Teaching online with and alongside iQualify

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Rebecca Ferguson
17 May 2016

Mark Nichols

iQualify is the online experience platform developed by Open Polytechnic, a dedicated online and distance education provider in New Zealand. Adopting iQualify has coincided with a renewed emphasis on learning design for online-only tuition. Online teaching frequently involves support and engagement with students across multiple tools including email and telephone. Of the 19 academic staff who had taught online students in early 2015, nine were interviewed to gain insight as to their online teaching practice with and alongside the iQualify system.

Practice in online education varies considerably depending on the specifics of the model employed (Caird & Lane, 2015; Kennedy, Laurillard, Horan, & Charlton, 2015) and across discipline areas (Jelfs, Richardson, & Price, 2009). A rich literature is in place for online teaching workloads (Lynch & Paasuke, 2011; Spector, 2005; Tynan, Ryan, & Lamont-Mills, 2015) and the challenges faced as traditional lecturers adopt an online teaching orientation (Connolly, Jones, & Jones, 2007; Gregory & Lodge, 2015; Tucker & Neely, 2010), however very few studies explore the role and practice of the online distance educator (Beaudoin, 1990; Brinthaupt, Fisher, Gardner, Raffo, & Woodard, 2011). The main benefit of the case study, still in progress, will be a contribution to online education practice in the context of the iQualify system, drawing on the experiences of Open Polytechnic academic staff.

The presentation will report on a case study project investigating the ways in which academic staff interact with their students using mediating technologies, including iQualify. By the time of the CALRG event interviews will be complete and main themes identified.

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