It’s not every day you receive an endorsement from a US President. But that’s exactly what an initiative that includes UNSW’s Learning to Teach Online MOOC has achieved.
The initiative by Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider Coursera delivers professional development courses for free to teachers in the US Department of Education. It was endorsed by President Obama last year.
The UNSW MOOC, which was the only Australian MOOC chosen to be part of initiative, is designed to help existing and prospective educators establish their own online or blended teaching practices.
Based on award-winning educational resources developed by UNSW Art & Design, the MOOC is aimed at teachers and prospective educators from kindergarten to Year 12, and higher education through to community colleges. The second offering of the free six-week course starts on 6 July.
The UNSW MOOC is also opening up educational opportunities for disadvantaged learners in Trinidad and Tobago. The country’s ‘Knowledge.tt’ program sponsors individuals to receive a verified certificate upon completing the MOOC.
Leading Australian educators recently ranked blended teaching, which mixes face-to-face and digital modes of teaching, as one of the top three trends in Australian tertiary education.
According to Director of Learning and Innovation at UNSW Art & Design and one of the course instructors, Mr Simon McIntyre, the MOOC offers practical advice to help educators develop or improve an online teaching strategy and is designed to be applied to their own teaching.
“The course also offers a personalised approach, which allows participants to determine their own pathway through the MOOC based on their own learning goals,” says McIntyre.
Course instructor and academic developer at UNSW’s Learning and Teaching Unit, Dr Negin Mirriahi, says the MOOC will help educators make the leap from their current practice to teaching online in a way that is meaningful to them.
“We’ve also enhanced the MOOC by shortening the course from eight to six weeks and increasing the personalised learning experience through more tailored resources, particularly for teaching English as a second language (ESL), K-12 and higher education teachers,” Dr Mirriahi says.