Moving from traditional face-to-face delivery to online delivery brings with it many challenges, especially for teachers who are new to online teaching or not yet comfortable using technology to support learning. There can be a tendency for teachers to re-use existing classroom-based materials, for example uploading them to a virtual learning environment (VLE) without adapting them for online delivery. However, for online teaching to be effective, materials need to be repurposed or even redeveloped from scratch. There is also a need to design engaging online activities (e-tivities) to keep distant learners motivated throughout the programme. In addition to developing content that is suitable for online delivery, new online teachers also need to learn how to moderate online discussions.
In 2014, the University of Limerick piloted a series of workshops with teachers who were required to develop online materials within a short timeframe for a new online programme. The ‘Developing UL Online (DUO)’ two-day workshops were designed to provide new online teachers with the skills and confidence to convert their existing materials and to design new materials. The DUO workshops are loosely based on Salmon’s Carpe Diem process (Salmon and Wright, 2014) and are part of a suite of initiatives that are currently being developed to support online teachers. DUO workshops cover topics such as learning outcomes, assessment alignment, e-moderating, and storyboarding for course design. In addition, the workshops comprise practical hands-on sessions, whereby teachers develop module storyboards, in a group environment. Teachers also develop VLE e-tivities, and feedback is provided on the quality of those e-tivities. In follow-on sessions, teachers receive one-to-one assistance as they technically implement their storyboarding plans. To-date, feedback from DUO participants has been positive.
This presentation will outline the rationale for the DUO workshops, the structure of the workshops, participant feedback, as well as future plans for professional development for online teachers.
Keywords: online teaching and learning; online activities; technology-enhanced learning; challenges; continuing professional development for teachers.
Reference: Salmon, G. and Wright, P. (2014) 'Transforming future teaching through ‘Carpe Diem’ learning design', Education Sciences, 4(1), 52-63.