About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3730-3740
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain

NOT ONLY STUDENTS LEARN IN AN ONLINE ENVIRONMENT: THE LEARNING JOURNEY OF FOUR LECTURERS

S. O'Hare, L. Quartermaine, C. Hurst, A. Cooke

Curtin University of Technology (AUSTRALIA)
In 2009, the School of Education at Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia commenced a new program of online learning in conjunction with Open Universities Australia – a Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree. In the first study period of thirteen weeks, four units were offered, covering psychology, curriculum, technology, and professional practice, with a combined enrolment of 911. Each study period has seen strong growth in numbers with Study Period 4 having a combined enrolment of 3810, representing an increase of more than 300% from the first study period.

The main focus is on delivering a collaborative, constructivist, online environment that promotes discussion, peer collaboration, and an online community. Obtaining and training suitably qualified tutors who have the appropriate level of pedagogical, content knowledge and technological skills is a continuing issue for each study period. This could become critical with the release of successive year units that will be taught concurrently in each study period. Finding and becoming familiar with appropriate technologies that facilitate not only the delivery of the curriculum but also assist students in their preparation for entry to the teaching profession with a high level of technological and technology-oriented pedagogical skills is of utmost importance, particularly as the available technology is constantly evolving. The importance of developing effective assessment tasks that do not create an overwhelming marking load on tutors but still enable students to demonstrate their learning is a tantalizing balance. These all have to be achieved within established common and achievable teacher-student expectations.

These issues are not considered insurmountable. However, in addition to these issues there are three further areas of concern that are in the main out of the control of teaching staff. Many students commence study without the necessary access to and expertise with the technology required to be effective learners in an online environment. The open access to first year units for students has highlighted their lack of ability in working at the required level of academic writing and aptitude. Finally, teaching staff are inexperienced in working with such large numbers of students. For example, lecturers who are responsible for coordinating large units have responsibility for the support of around 15 tutors and 1,500 students.

Several processes have been established to address the above concerns and to ensure that Curtin staff continue to offer a vibrant and engaging program. The construction and incorporation of support mechanisms for students to enable their successful participation at undergraduate level, including technology, literacy and numeracy skills, are currently being investigated. Lecturers are also participating in research that investigates the creation of tutor guides to enable tutors to develop and maintain appropriate content, pedagogical, and technological skills. Units are continually improved and revised through formal and informal feedback from students and teachers. Finally, research is conducted in areas related to online learning, such as a recent initiative on peer-review assessment.

This paper shares the journey that four lecturers have travelled in one year working within this evolving, dynamic program.
@InProceedings{OHARE2010NOT,
author = {O'Hare, S. and Quartermaine, L. and Hurst, C. and Cooke, A.},
title = {NOT ONLY STUDENTS LEARN IN AN ONLINE ENVIRONMENT: THE LEARNING JOURNEY OF FOUR LECTURERS},
series = {4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-5538-9},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {8-10 March, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {3730-3740}}
TY - CONF
AU - S. O'Hare AU - L. Quartermaine AU - C. Hurst AU - A. Cooke
TI - NOT ONLY STUDENTS LEARN IN AN ONLINE ENVIRONMENT: THE LEARNING JOURNEY OF FOUR LECTURERS
SN - 978-84-613-5538-9/2340-1079
PY - 2010
Y1 - 8-10 March, 2010
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2010 Proceedings
SP - 3730
EP - 3740
ER -
S. O'Hare, L. Quartermaine, C. Hurst, A. Cooke (2010) NOT ONLY STUDENTS LEARN IN AN ONLINE ENVIRONMENT: THE LEARNING JOURNEY OF FOUR LECTURERS, INTED2010 Proceedings, pp. 3730-3740.
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