Monday, October 29, 2018

Evolving Online Graduate Education: From Synchronous to Asynchronous

avatar for Julian Cox
Greetings from EdTechPosium at the Australian Catholic University's new teaching building in Canberra. The keynote speaker is Julian Cox, Associate Professor, Food Microbiology, University of New South Wales on  "Pedagogy, Peers, Professionalism, Platforms and Practice… and the Workshop Activity". He is describing evolving from online learning as an analogue of face to face lectures, with synchronous sessions, to something students can do in their own time (asynchronous).

I agree with most of what Professor Cox was saying, but suggest online students need some synchronization, just not in the form EdTech people normally think of it. Ideally a self disciplined students can be left to complete tasks, including assessment tasks, to when it suits them. However, as a student myself, I found that if there was no deadline, and no marks, I would put off a task forever.

One of my students has been working on a tool to break down the Synchronous/Asynchronous dichotomy. and hope to demonstrate this today at the conference.

Professor Cox  went on to detail the use of the Moodle Workshop Module to have students peer assess. This module is unused, perhaps because the name makes it sounds like something you would only use for a live face-to-face activities.

Professor Cox  then discussed how to guide students through preparing an e-portfolio (with Mahara). I fond it frustrating when I was told to "reflect" in an e-portfolio, as if this was an inherent skill. After six months hard work and guidance, I had a reasonable idea of what it was about. Then I had to tutor students who had been told to do this with no scaffolding.

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