Thursday, June 16, 2022

More on a Learning & Teaching Strategy

I am interested in improving education, by blending online and on campus. Also improving staff knowledge of teaching.

What has worked well during the pandemic are conventional online distance education techniques, which I have been using at university since 2009. Also the adaption of WIL to a blended format, with online fallback for  emergencies worked (planned in 2019, before pandemic).

What didn't work so well for others were high stakes exams moved online. But this was an expedient measure needed where staff were not trained to assess in other ways. The problem for universities is how to motivate staff to do the required teacher training, so they not only know how to teach and assess in other ways, but are willing to do it.

The approach I suggest is to design an asynchronous online core, plus syncronous/f2f components. As in Hapke, Lee-Post, and Dean (2020) did with their 3-in-1 Hybrid Learning.

A LMS, such as Moodle is fine (one LMS is much the same as another). Zoom is very good. Turnitin is a problem: as it doesn't integrate well. Add Github, or similar repository tool, and a logbook tool, to support student individual and group projects. This logs the student's progress, so you can see who did what, when, throughout the semester. 

The first year experience could be improved with a Professional Practice course. Have group activities from first semester, firm deadlines and zero for late work, to set expected behavior.

The campus experience can be improved by making extra curricular activities co-curricular, by offering course credit for relevant experience. Ensure all teaching spaces are equipped for blended learning. Make campus attendance optional, so students come because the want to be, not because they have to.

Program design requires staff trained in program design. This takes years to phase it in. Look at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) experience.

Australia's elite research universities need to accept that "research lead", and "campus based" are marketing slogans, not workable strategies. Universities don't need a corporate"model of learning", so much as trained, qualified, educators. The focus in staff training should be on "dogfooding": teach the staff to teach, in courses which give them the experience we want students to have. Also offer these courses to students.

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