My first Keep Calm and Carry Online Webinar, presented "Some tips and tricks for e-learning" (7 September, see the slideshow video and slides). The second in the series "Creating an X-factor Experience for Students" is 1pm Wednesday 20 October, Canberra Time, Via Zoom (draft slides). This will look to the future to see how individual university academics and unviersites can better deliver learning for students through the use of technology on campus and online. This will be key to learning into the future, and will decide if Australian universities have a future.
|Poster generated using Keep Calms.|
"Keep Calm and Carry Online" a sign on the wall behind me, during webinars from my lounge room for the last eighteen months. So that as the working title for this series of talks. Contributions, corrections and offers of where to present would be welcome.
Keep Calm and Carry Online: Creating an X-factor Experience for Students
Tom Worthington, Honorary Senior Lecturer, ANU School of Computing
Abstract: Award winning online educator, Tom Worthington, has been learning about, and teaching, online at ANU for ten years. He will provide some tips and tricks to survive teaching in these uncertain times, in a classroom, online, or both at the same time. Bring along your problems for a masterclass solution.
About the speaker: Tom Worthington is an Honorary Senior Lecturer, at the ANU School of Computing, an independent computer consultant and educational technology designer. He previously wrote IT policy for the Australian Department of Defence. Tom is a Fellow, Past President and Honorary Life Member of the Australian Computer Society. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Tom has a Masters of Education in Open, Digital and Distance Education from Athabasca University and blogs as the highereducationwhisperer.com
Creating an X-factor Experience for Students
- X-factor for Student Satisfaction
- Sage on the Stage & Many Guides On the Side
- Tool Up
- Global Design
- Team Teaching in ANU TechLauncher
- Design Courses Like Luxury Cars
The X-factor for Student Satisfaction
|Gary Martin, CEO, AIMWA|
Gary Martin, chief executive officer of the Australian Institute of Management WA, recently asked what gave a quality experience for Australian university students ("Creating an X-factor Experience", Business News, 22 August 2021). After scrambling to quickly deliver online courses, universities around the world are asking: what next? Do they return to pre-COVID campus based teaching, provide online courses alongside campus ones, blended learning which has some online and some face to face elements, or hybrid with classroom linked online.
While academics and university executives may think online delivery is still an open question, students now expect courses to be available online as a matter of routine. However, they also want the option of face to face classes, where they can work with others, under the guidance of experts. What will distinguish a course is the quality of interaction provided, with students and staff.
As an online student for seven years I found I could manage to study by following the materials provided, doing the readings and exercises. However, it was a very lonely, frustrating experience. What stood out were the occasions when I met and worked virtually with my fellow students. Events live with instructors were a highlight. The very rare occasions when I met my instructors were a bonus, as they were on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, 17,000 km away.
The Sage on the Stage
|Prof. Steve Blackburn teaching Structured Programming |
with interactive live-streamed lectures
from ANU Manning Clark Hall.
Guide on the side
|Prof. Steve Blackburn & tutor Leopold Zhou|
In the video, Steve mentions the role of tutors. Called Teaching Assistants (TAs) in North America, they are critical. While the professor takes center stage, the tutors work with smaller groups of students, assisting in lectures, in tutorials, workshops and laboratories, to investigate topics and practice skills. Here again, tutoring is a skill which takes training and practice, with a extra layer of complexity when carried out online.
Support CrewDr Kim Blackmore, Director,
ANU Centre for Learning and Teaching
Backing up the professor and tutors are many other staff. Producing courses, especially online courses, requires educational designers, video makers, and other specialists. Ed designers work with the subject matter experts to structure the learning and assessment, video makers and others polish the materials.
The Australian National University has a Centre for Learning and Teaching, headed by Dr Kim Blackmore, as well as staff in the colleges. These staff have been busy during the pandemic, with a crash program to move courses online. But they are always busy, so if you need help, give them plenty of notice.
Both classroom based and online learning also require technical support personnel to keep the audio visual systems, software and networks working. The last decade has seen new software to delivery learning developed. When working properly, and used as intended, these systems lighten the burden for students and teachers.
|Holly Hapke, |
University of Kentucky.
Dogfood: Be an online student of teaching
|Tom Worthington receiving an MEd |
in Open, Digital and Distance Education,
from Athabasca University, Canada
- If you find study frustrating, conflicting with family and work commitments, then you know what it is like for your students.
Alpo Dog Food Commercial, 1980
'Back in the 1980s when actor Lorne Greene served as the pitchman for Alpo dog food, the TV commercials were careful to point out that he indeed fed Alpo to his dogs. Consequently, the idea that someone would use the products they were making became known as "eating your own dog food.'
From Harrison, W. (2006). Eating your own dog food. IEEE Software, 23(3), 5-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MS.2006.72
|ANU EFS, Information Sessions |
from 14 September
Build the course around the assessment
Students worry about assessment, so tell them what it is, and how each learning activity supports it. Delete activities, readings and materials which don't relate to assessment. Have small assessment tasks every week, to keep the students engaged (1% or 2% a week will do). Have a best of assessment scheme, so students can have multiple attempts. Provide results with feedback each week.
Make time for contact with students
Use video sparingly- Reuse old videos
- Generate slideshows
- Provide video to supplement the text
High production quality video is not needed for education (in fact video is not needed, text works just as well). If you already have video, use it. If you have slide decks, turn them into videos. Link the videos from your text notes. Instead of an hour long video lecture, create a ten minute summary. Focus your efforts on getting students to do things, not just watch videos.
Get help- Ask for advice from the educational technology & learning design staff: they are trained experts.
- Have a colleague, or assistant, to help you with the course.
- Team teach live: one person presents, the other works the tech and helps the students
Team Teaching in ANU TechLauncher
- Course convener: Dr Charles Gretton, sets the context
- Subject matter expert: Tempe Archer, delivers the workshop.
- Instructor: Tom Worthington, manages the students
- 200 Students: Peer review.
- 13 Tutors: Assess their student’s portfolios.
The Lexus and The Learner: Engineering Quality Education
Universities across the world are now struggling to come up with a post-COVID education strategy. On the one hand online learning has shown education can be provided efficiently anywhere, on the other there is a desire to provide a personal experience. Thomas L. Friedman explored a similar dilemma in "The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization" (1999). Lexus motor vehicles represented the desire for the products of globalization, and the olive tree local tradition. Friedman argued that globalization would win out, but I suggest it is possible to have both.
Engineering a car for global standards takes hundreds of engineers years and billions of dollars. So makers such as Toyota design a common "platform" for a range of models, from low cost to luxury ones. Luxury models are hand finished with some premium components, to give a luxury product.
- Higher Education After COVID-19, six webinars from August 2020, by Tom Worthington, for the Microlearning Series curated by Manisha Khetarpal at Maskwacis Cultural College, Canada
- Engaging students in the online environment, five webinars from February 2021, by Tom Worthington, for the Microlearning Series curated by Manisha Khetarpal at Maskwacis Cultural College, Canada
- Learning to Reflect Module Version 5.0: Hybrid Edition by Tom Worthington, for the module for the ANU TechLauncher program, 2018 to 2021.