UniServe Science News Volume 18 October 2001


Moving Online II: A conference to explore the challenges for workplaces, colleges and universities

Anne Fernandez
UniServe Science

The conference (held on the Gold Coast, Queensland in September 2001) was attended by 100 delegates representing 63 institutions and organisations. Conference papers are available at

Selected keynote presentations

Ron Oliver, Edith Cowan University
Assuring the quality of on-line learning in Australian higher education
This paper discussed four major issues that often hinder the successful adoption and sustained use of online learning in universities: development of cost-effective approaches; achievement and maintenance of quality learning; ensuring access and equity of delivery; and development of strategies to sustain online course delivery. Potential strategies to deal with these issues include: academic professional development (facilitator skills - scaffold then fade); student skills development (including self-regulated learning and time management); adequate technology infrastructure; and reusable learning designs and objects (e.g. MERLOT - Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching).

Peter Calopedos, Qantas College
Overcoming online learning barriers
30,000 staff worldwide and approximately 60 courses online. A major problem they face is the high dropout rate. Some of the strategies being implemented to address this are: online study guides (clear indication of number of hours per week required and what work is expected to be covered during that time); local support ('online champions'); mix of classroom and online delivery; 24 x 7 support; qualifications framework; and improved navigation and access.

Annabelle Sheehan, Australian Film TV and Radio School
Moving the AFTRS online: the processes of change
Successfully using the Teaching, Learning and Technology Roundtable concept from the TLT Group which was brought to everyone's attention at Moving Online I by Paul Bacsich. Working collaboratively with Macquarie University's CTL.

Tony Brady, TAFE NSW
Motivation, impact and implementation issues for VET providers
The Option Keys site, developed to support TAFE's web material developers, has useful information on accessibility issues relating to the Web.

Selected refereed presentations

Peter LeCornu, Canberra Institute of Technology and Julie Ahern, Flexible Learning Advisory Group
Organisational change and the Australian Flexible Learning Framework
Although the Australian Flexible Learning Framework is for the national VET sector they have produced a number of Toolboxes (collections of resources, suggested learning strategies and supporting material to support online delivery) of interest, in particular Series 3: Laboratory Operations.

John Kenny, RMIT University
Implementing an institutional on-line learning system: Some illustrative case studies at RMIT
Following the implementation of a Distributed Learning System (includes: Blackboard CourseInfo; WebBoard; QM Perception; WebLearn; e-journal; etc.) at RMIT in semester one 1999, the number of units of study using it rose rapidly to 1053 in semester 1, 2001. However, a quality review (McNaught and Kennedy, 2000) found that much of the material was poorly suited to the new learning environment. RMIT now has in place a QA process that has led to a significant drop in the number of units of study using the DLS.

A second important issue is the need for professional development for staff (e-moderators) involved in the delivery of learning that makes use of the new technologies. Other issues included: the increased workload for staff (for these teaching and learning innovations to be sustainable there needs to be a great deal of thought put into the planning and implementation - tasks should be 'instead of' rather than 'on top of', long term maintenance should be minimized and budgeted for); student attitudes; and student time management skills (or lack of).

McNaught, C. and Kennedy, P. (2000) Staff development at RMIT: bottom-up work serviced by top-down investment and policy. Association of Learning Technology Journal, 8(1), 4-18.

Rob Ellis, The University of Sydney
Web-inclusive curricula design: bottom-up and top-down
The primary objective of university curricula is quality learning outcomes. When moving curricula online it is vital that this remains in focus. This paper highlighted the importance of alignment between the various course components, such as, the objectives, the teaching methodologies, the assessment (including alignment between formative and summative assessment) and the learning outcomes. Case studies were used to illustrate approaches that may be taken by academics to ensure curriculum alignment in the process of moving online.

Lyn Ambrose, Southbank Institute of TAFE
Learning online facilitation online
Ideally online educators should have had some experience as online learners. Online learning requires the learner to take more responsibility for their learning [should we be teaching students these skills before we expect them to cope with major parts of their unit of study online?]. This paper discussed the role of the e-moderator and the online student and introduced Salmon's (2000) five-step model for teaching and learning online through computer mediated conferencing (access and motivation; online socialisation; information exchange; knowledge construction; development).

Collison, G., Elbaum, B., Haavind, S. and Tinker, R. (2000) Facilitating online learning: Effective strategies for moderators. Atwood Publishing, Madison.
Salmon, G. (2000) E-moderating: The key to teaching and learning online. Kogan Page Limited, London.

Ron Oliver and Jan Herrington, Edith Cowan University
Online learning: professional development for the changing role of the lecturer
This paper examined the impact the Internet has had on the teacher's role and outlined a list of competencies for online teaching, and associated attributes, identified at a recent workshop in the UK. It then discussed Edith Cowan University's response to teaching staff professional development - a Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning introduced in 2001.

Sophie di Corpo, University of New South Wales
The instructional designer, the academics and learning technologies
This paper compared the experiences of three academic staff who had instructional design support when incorporating online teaching into the delivery of their units of study with the experiences of three others who did not have access to the support. Those with support found they were able to reflect on the educational goals and effective teaching strategies rather than being concerned with the technology.

Anne Fernandez
UniServe Science

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UniServe Science News Volume 18 October 2001

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