First published in Campus Morning Mail 3rd May 2022
Enabling Online Learning: who are the educators? From The Open University
This chapter from The Handbook of Digital Higher Education is of interest for the way it blurs the idea of what ‘teaching activities’ are – placing a surprising number in the ‘third space’ between teaching and administration. Papathoma et al. examine teaching activities most commonly undertaken by 28 people teaching in MOOCs on the FutureLearn platform. Among these, they identity ‘securing funding for course development’, ‘allocating work’ and ‘ensuring rights clearance’ – alongside facilitating the course and presenting videos. It raises some interesting questions about what teaching is in the digital age.
Face to face lectures aren’t dead from Paul G Moss
Paul Moss (Uni Adelaide) makes an impassioned defence of students attending lectures in person, celebrating the cognitive and social presence they provide. He suggests that they should not be livestreamed but that students should still have access to recording for later review. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he has to say – even pre-pandemic, lecturers commonly complained about a sharp drop-off in lecture attendance after the first weeks of semester – but the pedagogical ideas are strong.
While the importance of good, timely feedback is slowly being understood, it is still not used as well as it might in Higher Ed. CRADLE at Deakin recently held a seminar focusing on Feedback literacy. This post from Juan Fischer Rodriguez summarises the key ideas emerging from this session, including the importance of equipping learners with the skills to take meaningful action informed by the feedback they receive.
Good accessibility (and pedagogical) practice demands the use of captions and transcripts whenever video (or audio) content in provided. For many years, this has unfortunately often landed in the too hard basket due to cost and technology limitations, with effort focused most on meeting legal requirements for disabled students. Fortunately this is slowly changing and we are seeing more research into the impact of wider provision of captions and transcripts. This paper in the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education offers some quantitative insights into their impact.
Perusall Exchange 2022 May 16-27 from Perusall
Perusall is an online tool that enables learners to collaboratively annotate learning resources, supporting peer learning and deeper discussion of concepts. They are running a free asynchronous “social conference” from May 16 around the theme of Social Learning. This looks like a great opportunity to explore learning and teaching modes beyond our prevalent synchronous modes.