EDUCATING THE EDUCATORS LESSONS LEARNED BY MOVING TOWARDS OPEN, FREE AND SELF-PACED ONLINE RESOURCES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
, J. Larsen
Result (Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology), UIT - The Arctic University of Norway (NORWAY)
In an ever changing and rapidly developing teaching situation, it is often difficult to keep oneself updated with all types of available technologies. The “wants” are often centre of attention and the how’s and why’s become neglected and are subject to hindsight. In a 2008 report the question: “what does it mean to be an educated person in the 21st century”, was raised and concluded with the importance of keeping up with technology – as these changes in the use of technology, at a higher education level, will have a ripple effect on the future society as a whole.
Taking the leap and diving into new and sometimes advanced technologies, can raise feelings of uncertainty in ones own technical abilities, especially for those with limited technical competencies. Combined with the need to find a good balance between hands-on skills and didactical competence, and finding the time necessary, outside an organised framing of a physical course, can be a real challenge to many.
Therefore, in 2015, Result, (Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology) at UiT the arctic university of Norway, started the work on uDig (Abbv.), a self paced, Open Learning Resource specifically aimed at our university teaching staff, with the aim of introducing them to existing, as well as emerging, technologies available to them. uDig contained four modules to start with: Digital tools in Fronter (LMS), using video in teaching, online discussions and collaboration, flipped classroom and student response systems (SRS). In conjunction with the online resource Result also offered workshops where teachers and staff could get a more hands-on introduction to systems and technologies discussed in uDig as a whole. In this way we hoped to lessen initial trepidation in use of technology, and emphasising the why’s and how’s.
In reviewing our approach on how we instruct faculty staff and teachers at the university, to keep up with existing and emerging technologies. An internal report (2015:5(?)) revealed that our initial assumption that, creating an online, open and self paced resource would help our staff in considering the use of, and learning more about technology – was indeed correct. To build on these lessons we have consequently developed two new modules in uDig: learning strategies and introduction to digital surfaces, and also started work on a seventh module about using MOOCs as a teaching strategy.
uDig, has since its release, been well received by all teachers and lecturers at our university, and it keeps gathering attention from the whole of Norway. This indicates to us the importance of the work and that the idea was a good one in the first place. Our main objective, in this paper, is to present our experiences in planning, developing and launching an online open resource such as uDig. We will also discuss the road ahead, and future development of uDig as an important part of the universities desire to take more advantage of technology in all parts of higher education.