Robert Farmer, Kate Littlemore
The University of Northampton, GB
This presentation will outline the process of taking a face-to-face course, and transforming it through three distinct stages into an entirely online course. The transitional stages are: (1) course delivered online plus approximately twelve hours of face-to-face contact; (2) course delivered online with online tutor involvement only; (3) course delivered online with minimal or no tutor involvement (SOOC/MOOC) This presentation will discuss the process of transforming the course, delivering the first transitional version of the new course (which at the time of writing, May 2013, is currently underway), and the plans for the second and third stages of delivery. The evaluation of the completed stage one version of the course will be finalised during July 2013.
The redesigned course is entitled Study Skills for Academic Success, and is a ten credit level four course designed to build confidence in mature students who are new (or returning) to Higher Education. The course is delivered in the months before students begin their first year of study, and costs are kept as low as possible as students fund the course themselves. The problem that motivated this significant course redesign was threefold. Firstly, the course was becoming increasingly popular, and it was proving difficult for teaching staff to meet this demand. Secondly, because costs were kept deliberately low, the course was not financially sustainable and a wider roll-out of the course was not economically viable. Thirdly, because the students studying on the course were often still in full-time employment, the face-to-face mode of delivery was increasingly not meeting the needs of the learners, who required a more open and flexible model.
Two possible solutions to these problems were considered, both of which focussed on the scalability and sustainability of the course. The first option was to keep delivering the face-to-face version of the course and either increasing the cost to the student, or requiring a subsidy from the student’s department at the University. However, this approach was dismissed as it still did not meet the needs of the learner for a more flexible mode of delivery. In addition, neither the students nor the University departments wanted to bear the necessary additional costs. This meant that a second solution was required, and the one chosen was to create a scalable and sustainable online course that could solve all three problems that we needed to address. The online course made significant use of OERs, and each week was structured around an e-tivity (see, Salmon, 2004, 2011, 2012). This allowed us to ensure that course content would be engaged in as part of a structured activity that involved engagement with content, collaboration with peers and the course moderator, and reflection.
Salmon, G. (2004) All Things in Moderation [online].
Available from: http://www.atimod.com/ (accessed 26th February 2013).
Salmon, G. (2011) E-Moderating: The Key to Online Teaching and Learning, Abingdon, Routledge.
Salmon, G. (2012) Foresight and Choices for Learning Futures [online]
Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fPV7UNv5tU (accessed 26th February 2013).