Blended learning and online teaching/Web integrated teaching and learning
Web integrated learning was a panel looking at methods of teaching and learning that employ the wider Internet. If we consider it on a continuum, putting files and recordings up on a password restricted website like a Learning Management System or an Intranet is integrating the web very minimally, if at all - through to the other end where both teaching and learning is being documented and negotiated out on the web more widely. Think of 'the Internet-as-the-platform'.
Evidence in Oral Health Practice
Mark Gussy teaches Evidence in Oral Health Practice to students of the Oral Health Therapy course at La Trobe University. In this interview, Mark talks to Leigh Blackall about the groupwork assignment, where students were asked to investigate the evidence surrounding a scenario, and to use what they found to compile a website using Wikispaces. Mark highlights how no help was given in the use of Wikispaces, and that the platform's ability to record edit history and individual contributions helped to address some of the problem of groupwork, where some students do far less than others. Mark then goes on to outline his plans for the subject next year, were the investigation compares the credible scientific information against the popular and readily available information on channels like Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers and Youtube. He's considering asking the students to prepare resources and information to make an intervention on those channels (if/where needed), using the credible evidence they've collected.
Podcasting for Occupational Therapist students and professionals
Tracy Fortune and Carol McKinstry have started a project to establish the workflows necessary for producing an ongoing podcast program to support study in the Master of Occupational Therapy Practice, and wider audiences in professional practice.
The program will produce audio/video episodes for the capstone subject Macro Strategies for Professional Practice, a 30 credit point subject in the final year of the Master of Occupational Therapy Practice Program. Episode themes will relate to health promotion, service development, quality assurance, leadership, political skill, innovation and entrepreneurship, and project management in the profession, as well as related topics from practitioners and other experts.
The episodes will be published through podcast and embedded in subject websites. The theme of the episodes will also help to develop graduate capabilities and essentials across other occupational therapy subjects.
The project will upskill a small team of OT lecturers, buy microphones to compliment the recorders recently purchased by the Faculty, compensate key interviewees to establish the program, and establish the production and publishing workflows. Tracy is engaging an experienced podcaster to consult to the team on technical/practical aspects.
Professional development for midwives online
Sarah Stewart developed her interest and expertise in using the web - particularly social media, to support the professional development of midwives and other health professionals while working with Otago Polytechnic in 2005-2010. Sarah established and continues to coordinate the Virtual International Day of the Midwife, an annual online conference for midwives anywhere. Sarah currently works with the Australian College of Midwives, developing their professional development programs. Sarah outlines for us this journey, and shows us the work she's been doing.
Students using Wikibooks and Youtube in Dietetics
Sharon Croxford and Adrienne Forsyth have been recently asking students in their Dietetics subject to use Wikibooks and Youtube for their assignment work. The goal is to establish a form of relevance and reach for the work of students, by taking their traditional assignment developing educational programs and information pamphlets for target communities needing diet and nutritional advice, and making it publicly available on commonly used channels. While we wait to see how the students fair in their efforts, we spoke with Sharon and Adrienne about how they set this up, why they did, and what issues and challenges did they encounter through the first semester of running this changed subject.
Teachers using Wikiversity and Youtube Playlists
Meri Vukicevic teaches Human vision and function and orthoptics classes at La Trobe University. Meri has been using Wikiversity and Youtube to develop a fully online first year subject. Her subject outline, objectives, assignments and activities are developed in Wikiversity (to be eventually embedded in the University's Learning Management System), and she's largely replacing her lectures with playlist compilations of the best Youtube videos she can find. Here, Meri talks us through what she's done so far.
PebblePad in the Department of Occupational Therapy
In 2012, staff in the Department of Occupational Therapy recognized a need to begin using web-based learning tools to complement face-to-face teaching. These were needed to reach students on all campuses and to create more flexible learning opportunities for students who participate in a problem based learning curriculum in the Masters component of the course. Additionally, it was felt that the Department needed to embrace the growing web-based and technological learning environment, or be left seriously behind.
A literature review of occupational therapy research into web-based learning informed the development of guidelines to apply when designing web-based learning activities in a curriculum with a constructivist approach to learning. In particular, it was felt that web-based learning activities could provide a way for students to share knowledge they had created during the course.
In 2013, we selected the PebblePad system as the platform to create web-spaces where students could work collaboratively and share assignments. Students in third year were introduced to PebblePad and completed assignments and learning activities in three subjects over the year, with three of these resulting in access to shared knowledge resources created by the students. PebblePad was chosen it is supported at La Trobe University and so that resources could be accessed by students for the duration of their course. Students will have the opportunity to use the resources developed on placements in 2014.
Early feedback was sought from students about their experiences of using PebblePad, with the majority reporting that they found it difficult to use. Conversely, many reported that they regularly used FaceBook and YouTube in their learning.
We have learnt that students require a lot of support when introducing a new system and that benefits of sharing work need to be communicated more effectively, to gain support from students. For academics, developing the learning activities and understanding the system, although well supported by the University, was slow and fundamentally did not increase knowledge of a range of web-based tools. In reflection, PebblePad may not have been the most appropriate platform for the aims we wished to achieve. We are currently considering if and how to use PebblePad with new students in 2014 and what other web-based tools we could use. We would like to explore additional ways for academics to rapidly gain web-based learning literacy – the pace this year has been overall too slow.