A community for online teaching and learning
University academics, teachers and professional staff join to discuss the evolution of 'the next generation' learning experience and how to take advantage of the opportunities this presents.
Online teaching and learning is on the rise across the education sector. In higher education, the demand for online course delivery is demonstrated by the success of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOCs are online courses that aim for large scale participation and are openly accessed via the web. This and similar developments are causing reflection and conversations across the sector about teaching and learning practices and how to best respond.
UoN planning for new opportunities
The recently opened Blended and Online Learning Design - or BOLD - Lab will play an important role in increasing the capabilities of our staff and providing students with a 'best of both worlds' experience - excellent face-to-face classroom teaching supported by a rich online experience.
The evolution to the 'next generation' learning experience has also prompted the establishment of a Community of Interest (COI) in online teaching, learning and research - and it has been met with great enthusiasm!
Liam Phelan, online teaching and learning coordinator at GradSchool, began the COI with the aim of supporting quality in our online teaching and to provide staff - academic and professional - with a sense of community through workshopping ideas and embracing opportunities.
"You can be anyone from anywhere in the University who is interested in online teaching, learning and research and what this means for the University," Liam says.
"Even as we're making the transition, it's important that we reflect on, analyse, and document what we do, what works, what doesn't, and why.
"We also discuss research opportunities. There are some exciting projects currently underway, such as a trial of teaching and assessing presentation skills online and also using Twitter in teaching."
Exploring the experience of high school students with online education
When students come to UoN directly from high school, what experiences do they already have of online learning? Roger Pryor, a School Education Director with the NSW Department of Education and Communities, came to talk with the COI about the experiences these students bring as they enter university.
Next COI workshop
The COI meets monthly at Callaghan and has now started meeting at Ourimbah too. If you would like to be on the email list or if you would like more information, contact Liam.Phelan@newcastle.edu.au