What’s Different about Distance? #InspireUCEM

This week we launched the Online Learning Research Centre’s Inspire sessions.  The aim of the sessions is to do exactly that, inspire our teams across UCEM to explore new ideas and enhance our programmes for all our students.  We were very lucky to have Associate Professor David Smith, Head of the School of Education at Charles Sturt University, Australia.  David spent the day with us, giving a talk in the morning and then running a workshop for us in the afternoon.  David made sure that we realised that this was not a session where we would be talked ‘at’ but that it was a learning conversation, which made a huge difference because we knew then that we had permission to ask questions and talk about our own ideas, inspired from the topics of our conversation.

Guiding Principles

A key area of interest for me was the idea of a set of guiding principles or standards that we could apply as the benchmark that should be included in all our modules.  There are various principles or standards from other universities and we actually do have our QA regulations that guide us to ensure that we can offer a consistent student experience.  However, it was good to hear about how they are used at Charles Sturt University and how we could bring them into our design methodology when we begin our new round of design in August.  They act as a kind of expectation of what we should be including and something that both our online education technologists and our tutors have agreed should be in every module.  Seems perfectly sensible to me.

The second part of the day was spent in teams looking at creating these standards/principles and also looking at rubrics.

It was a fulfilling day for everyone, there was a chance for everyone to talk with David and he was able to return the next day to meet with our teams individually and help us to explore more with him.  We are very grateful for the time he took out of his busy schedule to share his experiences and his research with us.

David Smith: @djs2206

(Edit by Tharindu 10th October 2019: Transcript available https://goo.gl/S1QULq)

We are also very excited to hold our next Inspire Session, June 28th with Stephan Caspar from the University of Southampton:

Open Voice
How to Enrich and Engage through Podcasting

Educators can harness the power of podcasting to tell engaging stories and connect with their learners. This session will explore tips and techniques for creating and capturing audio content. By the end of the session, you’ll have a plan for a series of podcasts, have taken your first steps in recording and shared your content. We’ll discuss the challenges and issues of the medium, how to nurture your listenership and ensure a two-way dialogue. You will need an iOS device such as an iPhone or iPad and be ready to talk, record, create and share.

Stephan Caspar: @Dotsandspaces

If you are interested in attending, then please get in touch with Tharindu Liyanagunawardena, who leads the OLRC.