“It won’t take too long” – eLU presentation on developing online learning

Recently, Liverpool’s Hope University got in contact with Glenn Godenho, an academic in Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, to ask him if he would deliver a CPD presentation about online / blended learning courses. Glenn was happy to take up the offer and quickly extended the invitation to me to help bring the holistic message of eLearning to his session. I have worked closely with Glenn over the last few years to develop and deliver a MOOC through the Future Learn platform,  as well as a designing a series of Continuing Education courses. We felt our experience had dealt specifically with the tensions of translating traditional forms of teaching face-to-face into the ever changing online environment, tackling the popular ‘It won’t take too long’ attitude, that can creep around such developments.

Our message was simple – don’t let content dictate how an online course should be designed and delivered. It seems obvious, but you will be surprised how even the most adept users of technology in teaching easily fall into this trap. I’ve known countless academics that try to convert their subject expertise into online course content only to be faced with more questions and troubleshooting issues, particularly issues about the deeper design and pedagogical structure of their course. In the digital domain this is not an easy task but it’s an important stage to understand, within the framework of an institution.

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I always point staff to the TPACK model of education. TPACK is a model that states the need for equilibrium between content-knowledge, pedagogical-knowledge and technological-knowledge. The centre of that model is an environment that is ripe for online learning to take place. The principles behind the model seem straight-forward enough when designing courses in practice I really notice how each of these features needs to work together.

 

Overall the session was an exposition of our thinking and the developments of guidance materials that enable online course delivery to be more streamlined within the institutional processes of UoL. Hope University are not currently producing MOOCs but they have a good awareness of the pedagogical tensions within traditional modes of teaching. It’ll be interesting to see how they develop over the years ahead. They certainly have some great facilities, including their flexible learning laboratory (which won an AV industry award last year and you can read a case study with more detail here) designed for collaboration in several group areas with screen sharing technology to pass group material to the numerous displays inside the space.

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We hope to visit Hope again at some point. Networks in Higher Education become more valuable as we tread more on new ground, whether that be in the online classroom or within carefully crafted learning spaces like this one.

 

Philip Walker | Learning Technologist

Delving Into the Archives

As part of a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) project creating online learning resources with the Centre for Archive Studies Paul Duvall and Phil Walker, from the eLearning Unit, captured a series of archive images in a specially arranged photo shoot.

Access was granted to the Special Collections & Archives section of the Sydney Jones Library at the University of Liverpool. The collections include manuscripts and archives, medieval to modern; early and finely printed books, and science fiction collections. The Archive of the University includes administrative records, personal papers of former staff and students, photographs and objects relating to the history and function of the University of Liverpool. Some of the oldest manuscripts even date back to the 12th Century! Here is a highlights gallery illustrating some of the more unusual and colourful items in the collection.

The purpose of the photo shoot was to capture any relevant and appropriate images that could be used throughout the online CPD content. Showing the realistic conditions and environment of a current archive will hopefully provide a more stimulating educational experience for the CPD participants. Still images were taken in the Reading Room, which allows up to 18 readers to view materials on request, and the archive which is only accessible for certain staff.

The eLearning Unit capture high quality still images (and video) as part of CPD projects or as a stand alone request. If you would like to know more about eLearning Unit activities in this area or have any other enquiries related to producing online CPD please contact us at elearning@liv.ac.uk.

If you have any questions about the Special Collections and Archives please get in touch with the relevant member of staff from the library.

A selection of the photos taken on the day are presented below. Click on the thumbnail images to view a larger version in a new window/tab.

Paul Duvall.

Acute Oncology Online Module

Many people’s lives are touched by cancer, either through direct experience or seeing someone close to them suffer with the disease. In line with a desire to diagnose and treat cancer more effectively specialist acute oncology teams have been established in District General Hospitals throughout the country. These teams include consultants, nurses and other practitioners who all need to work together to treat emergency presentations of cancer and care for patients with their expertise and experience.

To help develop and train these teams, establish new treatment protocols and share best practice an online module in Acute Oncology has been developed within the University of Liverpool. Running for the second time in September this year, and significantly redeveloped from the first instance in February, this eight week module aims to train professionals involved with acute oncology. It is the first online module in the UK catering for this specialised important initiative.

The module structure consists of six purely online weeks of content created by experts in the field, combined with participation in interactive discussion boards on selected topics. This module is fully accredited by the University and carries 15 CETS and is approved for 16 CPD points. The activities within the module ask participants to demonstrate their knowledge of NHS structures and the management of cancer. It also asks them to critically reflect on their own practice and evaluate current protocols and processes with reference to the appropriate literature. The personal reflection takes the form of entries into an assessed learning diary and recorded outcomes from formative assessments.

Paul Duvall and Phil Walker from the eLearning Unit (eLU) have produced this online module in partnership with academic colleagues from the Health and Life Sciences Faculty. The academic lead for this module is Dr John Green from the Institute of Translational Medicine. The eLU provide support to create online Continuing Professional Development (CPD) modules and resources for departments in the University. This module is just one of the online CPD projects currently in progress within the eLU.

With students from around the country (one even studying from New Zealand!) in the current cohort it is anticipated that this module will be repeated multiple times over the coming years and plans to enhance the module further with additional multimedia content and interviews with experts in the field are already under way.

If you are interested in this module development, eLearning Unit activities or if you would like to produce online CPD within your department please contact us for further information at elearning@liv.ac.uk .

Paul Duvall