Saturday, March 14, 2020

Designing in an On-line Learning Option

One of the benefits of computers in education is that this makes distance education a richer experience and feasible for more students. It also can remove the need for special provisions for when some, or all, students cannot get to campus, such as in the current COVID-19 Coronavirus emergency.

Pictographs by
Carlos Sarmento

from the Noun Project
(CC BY 3.0 US).
As part of my graduate studied in education, and informed by my background in defence and emergency management, in 2016 I concluded that international students could be prevented from coming to Australian campuses at short notice due to an international crisis. In 2017 I suggested that universities provide blended learning, which allowed for students who could not get to campus to study online. Since then I have been designing and delivering courses this way: on-line, with classroom activities for those students who can get to campus.

Wall mounted LCD screens and desks on wheels at ANU Marie Reay Teaching Centre
Wall mounted LCD screens
& desks on wheels at
ANU Marie Reay Teaching Centre
An example is the "Learning to Reflect" module for Australian National University computer project management students. This has an e-book, videos, online quizzes, and online student forums. There is also provision for face-to-face workshops. But in the current circumstances, it seems likely these will be switched to online as well. There is no need to change the course content, or assessment processes, as they are all already online. 

It should also be possible to offer both classroom and online real-time (synchronous) sessions for students. This would use the same software as for distance education, but tied into the classroom's audio-visual system. There should be no need for any special additional hardware or software.

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