Meeting of Minds: Online Masters Programmes

July 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Posted in event | Leave a comment
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On 6 July, LATEU hosted the first of our ‘meeting of minds’ events, which brought together tutors from across the University to talk about their progress with developing online Masters programmes. There was a great deal of interest and our training room was packed out.

  • Julie Watson (eLanguages) talked about their online course (first run in 2005) to help prepare international students for their arrival in the UK and how that has influenced their approach to developing an online MA in English Language Teaching for students in Mexico, starting this October.
  • Sunhea Choi (Medicine) talked about the educational model and process used to develop their ‘virtual patient’.
  • Lisa Harris (Management) talked about her experience of tutoring the vast eMBA from liverpool, which has over 2000 students in 175 countries supported by a global network of 200+ tutors.
  • Richard Treves (Geography) talked about the development process used by the Open University.
  • Julia Schonheinz (Social Sciences) introduced her work developing a Postgraduate Certificate in Gerentology, starting this October.

Some of the points that I noted during the session were:

  • the important role of the subject librarian in helping with the reading list and being able to advise about the availability of e-books;
  • the role of an editor in ensuring consistency across course content written by several authors;
  • the challenges posed by gaps in the skills and knowledge about each others’ domains by e-learning developers and content experts;
  • the need to build in a proper evaluation plan at the start of development;
  • the critical importance of providing student support services at a distance – and the fact that our own services are williing but very inexperienced at this – and are worried about the workload implications.

Interesting ideas included:

  • Students being required to write a weekly summary that includes any learning that stood out for them, what they learned from other students, how they might apply it in their own work, and practical issues that affected their  learning process.
  • Micro-lectures (podcasts) between 1 and 3 minutes long that focus on the key learning points and act as a ‘jumping off point’ for independent study – I recall seeing something about this in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Or just Google ‘micro lecture’…
  • The use of MyPlick to enable student presentations to be assessed – they upload their slides and an MP3 file and then synchronise the two. I think that SlideBoom might be easier to use, especially if they download the free iSpring PowerPoint plug-in to enable easy conversion of narrated presentations to a streaming Flash format.

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