By Orna Farrell
Over the next few weeks, the NIDL team involved in the #Openteach project funded by the National Forum will be publishing a series of blog posts reflecting on facilitating and participating in the first run of their free online course offered in March 2020. This blog series will be written by the course facilitators and participants and you can read the full series on the #Openteach website.
As the project is nearly finished, I thought I would share and reflect on my highlights of working on the #Openteach project over the past year. One of the major milestones was the publication and launch of our literature review of online teaching and approaches to professional development for part-time online educators. This report called Teaching online is different: Critical perspectives from the literature was launched at the World Conference on Online Learning in November 2019. The report was so well received at the conference, printed copies became a precious commodity and the Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor mentioned it in her speech.
Another highlight for me has been working with the amazing #Openteach project team. It’s rare to find a group of people that are easy and fun to work with while being productive and really effective! During the two weeks facilitating the #openteach course, although we were very busy facilitating such a large cohort, we had a lot of craic!
Course design is fun
I really enjoyed collaboratively designing the #Openteach course. Starting with the interactive ABC learning design workshop.
Then acting on that design plan and making it a reality. The idea for a scenario based approach really resonated with me and was realised in three online educator dilemmas in the course. Getting the scenarios right took a lot of work, there was about five drafts of the first scenario Eimears dilemma as we got to grips with using Videoscribe.
The first run of the course oddly coincided with the Corona virus pandemic. So we went from having about 150 participants to 450 in the space of a few days, as educators were thrust into online teaching at short notice and really needed some support. Despite the big numbers, the vibe from participants and facilitators seems positive.
I really enjoyed the strong interaction by participants and the intensity of engagement, although we haven’t finished the evaluation yet! The two live sessions were really fun and interactive.
It feels very strange to be nearly finished the #Openteach project, it has been exciting, interesting and a very satisfying experience and I hope we have supported people to develop their understanding of teaching online.