Open Education: Teaching and Learning Away Day

By Professor Grainne Conole

Last week our Open Education team had a very productive teaching and learning away day. The aim was to reflect on the current ways in which we design and support our DCU Connected students. A background document was circulated prior to the meeting, which collated various Learning Design frameworks. We identified two overarching themes to improving our teaching and learning:

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  • New and more systematic design of online, open distance teaching and learning. In terms of thoughtful and explicit design, we need to
    • Ensure the workload across modules in consistent
    • Set up either a week by week or month by month schedule
    • Indicate the indicative time needed to complete activities and content and assignments
    • Split content into core and additional (extension)
  • Supporting, and working with, online, open distance learners and teachers (learning students).

In addition, we identified 10 principles for online teaching and learning:

  1. Flexible learning: An accessible learning experience to transform lives and societies and enable widening access
  2. Teacher presence: Expert academic teaching, guidance and facilitation from specialist, passionate educators
  3. Foster belonging: Fostering a sense of belonging
  4. Meaningful interaction: Commitment to a deep level of meaningful interaction, where self-regulated learning is active, collaborative and participatory
  5. Students as partners: Surfacing the student voice and involving them to design decisions
  6. Rich learning resources: Universal design (accessibility standards); any device;
  7. Authentic and reflective assessment: Use a variety of assessment (and feedback) mechanisms to ensure that learning is: active, authentic and meaningful
  8. Personalised support: Student support personalised to the online distance learner: academic, pastoral, technical, and administrative
  9. Research informed teaching and learning: Commitment to cutting-edge, research-led approaches to Learning Design
  10. Open education practices: Practices, philosophy and co-creation

You can read more about operationalising these principles on Grainne’s personal blog where she expands on each principle.

#OpenTeach: Professional Development for Open Online Educators

 

On the 21st of November an intra-institutional team from the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) and the Institute of Education from Dublin City University presented at the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education open forum presentations for teaching and learning funding. The DCU team presented our proposed project called #OpenTeach: professional development for Open Online Educators.
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The #OpenTeach project aims to address the challenge of effectively supporting the professional development of part-time educators involved in teaching online, higher education programmes. Specifically, this project aims to develop the digital and pedagogical competencies of the 90+ DCU Connected online teachers, enabling them to create a positive and supportive learning environment for our students.

 

The project has a number of phases, as illustrated above. Firstly we will conduct an analysis of our online teachers’ professional development needs and a critical synthesis of the relevant literature on supporting part-time casual teaching staff. Then we will design and create a suite of open access evidence-based digital guides on best practice for online teaching. Using the digital guides we will develop a short online course which will be piloted, evaluated and adapted. The resources will follow an open first philosophical approach.

The full blog post describing this project is available on Orna’s LinkedIn page. For more information on the #OpenTeach project contact Dr. Orna Farrell