The revolution in online learning continues to sweep through the tertiary education sector. Now teachers will find it easier to keep up - thanks to an innovative project at UNSW.
The video-based Learning to Teach Online project has gone live on the COFA website. The Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) funded program, developed by the team at UNSW's COFA Online, it aims to help teachers from any discipline understand online teaching practice so they can start teaching online.
The episodes are in video and PDF format and explore successful online teaching strategies from a wide variety of disciplines. A total of 37 episodes will be available.
Teachers can watch the episodes on the project website, UNSWTV, or on mobile devices using YouTube or iTunes U, and are urged to follow COFA Online on Twitter to be alerted to new releases.
The episodes feature interviews with academics from around the world. A bonus for teachers is that the project is free and open to everyone.
"That means that someone lecturing in maths in Australia might have something that they can share with a French teacher in Paris," says the ALTC project leader Simon McIntyre. "It's not a one-way communication. Nobody is working in isolation. It's a community."
While there has been some resistance amongst time-pressured academics to use new technologies, the popularity of online courses among students has been phenomenal, says Karin Watson, Professional Development Coordinator of COFA's Online Courses and Programs.
"Some students are reporting that using these online communities was the first time they felt they were able to contribute. It can be particularly useful for some students who have English as a second language or who may have a disability - such as being hearing impaired," says Watson.
There are nearly 1000 people enrolled in 23 undergraduate and postgraduate modules which are part of COFA's online art and design courses.
"This is not a replacement of face-to-face teaching," she says. "It just allows us to be more flexible."
The project has been given a $219,000 grant over two years through the ALTC. For more on the project and information about how to get involved, go to COFA Online.
Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Media unit, 9385 1583 or 0422 934 024.