what good online learning looks like

What good online learning looks like 

We want to continue to see learning and teaching that is DIAL  

  • Diverse: We have been working hard to ensure that students from a range of backgrounds see themselves reflected in the curriculum taught. We want to ensure that no student receives a ‘white curriculum’, but instead they’re able to explore the rich landscape of their subject without prejudice to one narrative over the other.  

  • Inclusive: We have been working closely with the university on ensuring that all students have the equitable access to the same learning opportunities and outcomes. All assessment and teaching methodology should consider this at the heart of change to university teaching, going forward.  

  • Authentic: The world is changing rapidly and after the current crisis facing the world, we will establish a new normal for Higher Education going forward. We want to ensure that assessment is useful and tangible to students. Students should feel like they are gaining useful skills and applying their knowledge practically, rather than being assessed to pass.  

  • Learner Focused: Effective learning and teaching will occur when there is a strong dialogue between educator and learner. The beating heart of quality curriculum will be when students feel reflected in the curriculum and when educators are able to co-create their pedagogy with the student.  

Approaches to learning  

Blended Learning: A combination of different approaches to teaching and learning. Including face-to-face learning, online methods are incorporated. This helps to build on student’s ‘self-directed’ learning skills. (AdvanceHE, 2019)   

Flipped Learning: Turning the conventional large-scale classroom-based learning on its head and using the individual's space as the learning environment. Group-based discussions can then be used to explore deeper concepts and understandings. (AdvanceHE,2019; Flipped Learning Network, 2016) For example, you may be asked to do some tasks before the session, discuss in a online forum with a group and prepare some concluding thoughts to give in a seminar or lecture. The lecture would then be given and will support your learning that you acquired before the lecture. This ‘flips’ the learning experience for you as the learner, and the educator.  

Virtual Learning: This is what it says on the tin. Learning takes place mostly online through various methods, a lot of which is similar to what students are experiencing at the moment.  

We want the UEA to provide quality learning and teaching that considers all of these approaches. Students deserve face-to-face teaching, that they were promised as part of the package when they applied to university. However, with changes likely to have an impact on the way that curriculum moves forward, we need to ensure that the resources and methods of new learning opportunity are good value for money.  We want UEA to work towards the 5I’s :  

  • Invest in its technological resources  

  • Incorporate authentic assessment tasks to create diverse learning opportunities 

  • Introduce a stronger mechanism for providing quality feedback and communication online  

  • Include blended learning opportunities, where possible, to ensure that student receive value for money.  

  • Inform students on how they can access all learning resources to ensure every student has an equitable opportunity.  

Ideas for practice: 

Guidance:  

Practice:  

  • Participation with Technology: creating clear, centralised information about online learning and assessment (e.g. video tutorials for specific types of assessments, or how to use Blackboard Collaborate). Student should be able to have choice on how they deliver the assessment, with less assessment tasks and less choice on assessment tasks. This helps to reduce the institutions staff workload, whilst not bombarding students with assessment workload and choice. For example, if a module in LDC is combined with a similar module we would see less choice for students on their course. However, we would expect to see an opportunity for students to have a say on what they want to explore in their assessment and how they choose to present it. This still allows flexibility for students to explore their interests in modules and to build positive wellbeing around assessment.  

  • Assessment: for examinations that are available over a 24-hour period, academic staff should provide a recommended time to spend on the exam, to help students know when they should stop and to avoid the risk of assessment burnout. This will also allow students who would ordinarily be provided with extra time in examinations, to plan how long they should expect to spend on the exam. 

  • Learning: Providing opportunity for peer-to-peer learning online, 1-2-1 interaction to help support student progression; and opportunity for further learning experiences through online and interactive platforms. This might be through MOOC’s, online courses or quizzes and forums that add an optional deeper learning experience for students. This also allows for ensuring the inclusivity agenda is enhanced and supported.  

Pedagogy:  

  • Online learning opportunities: Providing useful platforms for students and academic to engage in online learning techniques. Taking quizzes, participating in quick fire questions and discussion forums. These techniques are conducive to increasing active learning which help to narrow achievement gaps amongst students (Aula Education, 2020).  

  • Developing strong learning communities: Using technology and blended learning techniques to build on the formation of strong learning communities; characterized by ‘individuals engaged by influencing each other within a learning process’ (Kowch and Schwier, pg.2, 1997) and described by Kowch and Schwier (1997) as dependent on community, technology and learning.  

  • Creating authentic assessment opportunity: Tapping into the student psyche and providing new ways for students to display learning outcomes. Blogging, vlogging and podcasts could be explored as ways of presenting learning in ways that stimulate group discussion and engagement in the learning process.  

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