I'm in charge of the distance learning program of a small university. My job is to define and execute an e-learning strategy that will propel our "analog" institution to the digital age.
I would like to share my experience and get feedback from other fellow Moodle users. This post is not directly related to Moodle but revolves around it.
We started using Moodle and successfully completed an initial pilot project with two courses. (Excellent piece of software BTW...)
Now, our next goal is to design a complete online curriculum (certificate or diploma) and offer it online.
The problem is that it takes a lot of time and effort to convert existing "analog" course material to a digital format (word, pdf, etc). Without this, we can't get to the next step that is building an online course (reshaping and enriching existing electronic content and convert it to a Moodle course).
My guess is that it takes at least 1 man-month to convert an existing course to the an electronic format such as word+powerpoint. As a result, a certificate would take 5 man-months, an Masters 12 man-months and a Bachelor's 32 man-months!
After that, we would still need some extra time to convert that electronic content to a pedagogically sound online course (a Moodle course with forums, quizzes, etc...).
The best plan I could come up with was that due to the huge resources this requires, every faculty should organize itself and convert its own content. Typing a course in word format and building a powerpoint for it does not require much specialized knowledge. And there is no way we can do this for the whole university anyway.
Once this is done, the distance learning center will sit down with members from the faculty, organize them into teams and work with them to produce the online courses. This requires a high level of specific knowledge and I believe this is where we should concentrate our efforts.
What do you fellow Moodlers think of all this?
Did anyone experience a similar situation?
Does this sound viable to you?
Yes, incentives are crucial to motivate faculty. We are also working on that.
If not confidential, I'd love to hear more about the "other pressures compelling this move" that you mention.
A note of warning. Teachers who have no experience or knowledge of teaching online are generally not good at making course materials for online use. Turning paper handouts and overhead sheets used in classroom teaching into Word documents and PowerPoint presentations does not constitute good web course material! For one thing Word documents should be turned into HTML resources or Books (so that they are easily updated and modified. You can add pictures and sound too). PowerPoint slides can be imported as Lessons, modified and connected with questions to become a lot more interactive and motivating for students.
It is not an easy task. I work at an eLearning Centre since 2000 and we still have lots of work coaching teachers in the creation of materials and the general, pedagogically sound, use of the learning environment (so that we will not have courses made up of just text and assignments).
The electronic content they will produce will only be used as raw material for the online course. I agree that left on their own, teachers will not be able to produce quality material.
That's why the course development team will take that raw material and use it to build a proper online course (BTW, we were planning to convert word to HTML ourselves because teachers lack the ability to produce correct HTML). We will not of course put their content directly online!
How did you proceed in your organization? Did you coach the teachers during the whole process?
Every organisation has some members that are interested in innovation and trying out different approaches. We harnessed this interest, by offering "pioneer training", i.e. we approached one or two interested people in every unit/department of our school and trained them (See figure below for approach), so that we had a foothold in each unit. The pioneers ran the first courses in those units ad served as examples and local support for the other teachers. We then started larger scale training programmes, both scheduled sessions where one pedagogical aspect or one Moodle tool was discussed in detail, and ad hoc training on request (teachers prefer the latter).
We have reached a point where most of our online teachers can add simple tools like resources and assignments. We build the more advanced stuff for them and coach them sometimes in their teaching.
please give me an insight in what it means to you to create "good materials for online courses"? As I am writing my diploma thesis about the problem of finding out in which teaching situation which modules (forum, wiki, quiz, ...) are fitting best I am very curious about your statement.
Do you have any experience which you can put in something like a table -->
- forum: good to use in group work, network-knowledge, ... (what's the teachers'/moderators' role)
- wiki: best suitable for....
??? You see, I am looking for a pedagogical guidance/instruction in which situation to best use which module - or to use the right module if you have a desired/given outcome in student knowledge.
Thanks in advance
A quick general reply (have unfortunately no time to go into this too deeply):
If I were to make a list or table as you suggested, I would not start with the tool, but with the desired learning activity (which is chosen to reach a learning goal). One learning goal can be reached by different activities which can be supported by various tools. Many of the Moodle tools are so flexible that they have many possible uses that can all be suitable in a given situation.
For a little more information about the use of different Moodle modules you might want to check out the teacher manual at http://moodle.tokem.fi
I always start with Bloom's taxonomy for all three domains, then write learning objectives, then try to figure out what to have the students do to make sure they are met, then try my plan on real students, then evaluate the outcome, iterate, iterate...talk to other faculty members, iterate,...
How to teach also depends on your student population, age, background, goals, etc.
Your dissertation sounds like something I would be interested in. When you feel comfortable, please send me a copy directly
Irmgard.Willcockson@uth.tmc.edu. Ich lese Deutsch, Englisch und ein bisschen Spanisch.
Thanks Paul and Irmgard,
well, my diploma thesis is supposed to be ready in May - so it may take a few months
Actually I am carrying out my case studies with about 140 students in different courses.
So thanks for your tipps (the teachers' manual looks very auspicious!!!)- I am going to do some research about that!!
Thank you all for your help! I really appreciate your feedback.
I'll let you know!
A really interesting discussion - thank you
I found this thread because I was looking for help putting together an elearning strategy document for a new degree, rather than for a whole institution - any suggestions (or even better existing docs!)?