Incubating online course design and development at sub saharan african v2


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Presentation at CO14 online conference:
Incubating online course design and development at 7 sub-Sahara African Universities.

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  • The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa is a joint project of seven U.S. based foundations with the primary goal of strengthening the capacity of higher education in Africa. Consortium members: Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation. The participating HEIs were largely on-campus institutions who were planning to adopt a hybrid approach to using educational technology, by delivering a blend of online and face-to-face components. The majority of planned online courses were to be deployed at an undergraduate level, with the minority planned for the post-graduate level (PHEA, 2009).(Mounted over 140 online / blended courses)
  • The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA) Educational Technology Initiative (ETI) supported the use of educational technology at seven sub-Saharan African universities over 5 years. This included 11 projects involving mounting of online/blended courses. A feature was that the HEIs identified their projects themselves – with guidance provided by the support team.
  • For many academic staff this was their first experience of online learning. The initiative developed and delivered a series of capacity building workshops to support the participants to in course design and development for blended or online delivery. The effect of the capacity building initiative was measured in the progressive design and development of actual online courses and a quality improvement review.Moodle chosen by all 7 HEIs – either migration or new installation.
  • Implications for course deliveryWhat if there is no internet for students? Importance of IntranetPoodle
  • One of the major activities of the initiative was to build academic staff capacity (skills and competencies) to be able to teach effectively using technology. The initiative adopted a longer term perspective to focus on the development of lasting capacity and enabling systems and processes.Overall Project over 5 years; 3 years capacity buildingLater added: Moodle for Teacher Administrators - Training (M4TA-T)ID = Learning Design in the Open using Leicester/OU OER resources
  • HEIs need to ascertain how to build the staff capacity to integrate technology and facilitate their online offerings (Wilson and Stacey, 2004). Much of the existing teaching practice on campuses tends to replicate weak pedagogical approaches that often occur in face-to-face courses, most notably by presenting large volumes of content to learners who are perceived largely as passive recipients of that material, whose primary function is to read and memorize the content. Consequently, the initiative placed strong emphasis on developing courses built on effective instructional design principles that make most effective use of the available technology (PHEA, 2009).
  • Workshops co-facilitated by internal institutional project support team (where possible)
  • Some units started developing models for the adoption of educational technology on a wider scale 1 HEI had a solid existing central support unit.1 had an ODeL Unit – but only for DE1 had a small understaffed support unitMany capitalized on DE unitsSome formed centralized units as a result of the project – sustainability.
  • Research Output: Case Study bookletPeer Reviewed Journal Articles – 8 (with 4 more under review; and 3 still in prep)Conference Presentations – 38Other research reports – MAK2; etc – see page 71 of funders’ reportMulti-site research study
  • The 3 Project Management Critical Success Factors – Support from top management; User involvement; Clear Requirements;Blended model Ran ALL the capacity building f2f, in a lab, but working within a virtual environmentWHY? - The medium is the messageAll the HEIs were predominately on campus, with only a few having distance programmes in addition to their f2fUnreliable internet access – discovered Poodle early on Often facilitated a workshop the whole week with out internet Unreliable power – generatorsWhat are the implications for course delivery?Importance of flexible approach to capacity buildings intranet - justify use of LMS – more accessible on Intranet
  • Incubating online course design and development at sub saharan african v2

    1. 1. Incubating Online Course Design and Development at 7 sub-Saharan Africa Universities Brenda Mallinson & Greig Krull 5th Annual Connecting Online Conference CO14, 8 February 2014
    2. 2. Project Background Capacity Building Approach Successes and Challenges Outcomes Reflection and Discussion
    3. 3. PHEA ETI Project Background Vision to “support interventions in universities to make increasingly effective use of educational technology to address some of the underlying educational challenges facing the higher educational sector in Africa” Time span: 2009-2013 One of the Specific PHEA ETI objectives: • Build academic capacity in quality online course design and delivery through use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
    4. 4. 7 participating sub-Saharan Africa HEIs Makerere University (Uganda) Kenyatta University (Kenya) University of Education Winneba (Ghana) University of Ibadan (Nigeria) University of Jos (Nigeria) University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) Catholic University of Mozambique (Beira)
    5. 5. Context & Motivation • The first experience of engaging with online learning for majority of academics • Phase B (Implementation) planned for: – Initial Sensitisation – Series of Capacity Building Workshops (over 3 years) • Interspersed with – Support for Design & Development of own online course – Quality Improvement Review process • Customised for each participating HEI – Environmental Context – Specific Project Purpose
    6. 6. How? • Blended model • Ran ALL the capacity building on-site, f2f, in a lab, but working within a virtual learning environment (Moodle) Why? • The medium is the message • All the HEIs were predominately on campus, with only a few having distance programmes in addition to their f2f • Unreliable internet access – Sometimes facilitated a workshop the whole week without internet – Discovered ‘Poodle’ early on  • Unreliable power – generators Implications for Course Delivery? • Importance of flexible approach
    7. 7. Moodle Front End Administration Capacity Building Programme Sensitisation Supporting Online Learning Design & Dev of Effective Online Courses (Online Facilitation) OER Deployment External Review & Feedback Quality Improvement of Multimedia Learning Design using 7Cs Model (Leicester Uni) Peer Support External Team Support Internal Team Support Learning Dev using OSS Supporting Course Dev & Internal Reviewing Multimedia Design & Dev VLE (Moodle) in Depth Quality Improvement of Online Courses
    8. 8. Sensitisation – Changing the Mindset • What is possible using supporting Edu ICTs? • What are the characteristics of online vs traditional classroom teaching and learning? – Collaboration, interaction, resources – Changed roles of academic and student • The importance of Learning Design • Engaging with supporting ICTs
    9. 9. Flexible Capacity Building Approach Facilitated /supported by external project support team – – – – – Academics identify courses for online/blended design Skills dev / deepen understanding via regular workshops Customised as required for project purpose Quality Improvement Internal and External Review Facilitated / supported by internal project support team – Continue to work on courses between workshops – Practical implementation - phased, mentored – Respond to feedback from QI reviews
    10. 10. Successes Experienced Course Developers Internal Project /Unit • • • • • • • • • High degree of enthusiasm Keen to develop new skills Shared achievements Opportunity to interact and collaborate across disciplines Peer review a positive experience Increasing confidence in the discourse, concepts, and practices of using educational technology Re-examined own pedagogical practices Appreciated external review opportunity • • • • • • • • Smooth running of the on-site capacity development workshops Local support personnel mostly present and active at the workshops Good leadership and commitment by local project leaders led to sustained motivation Some centralised eLearning support units were enhanced by the HEI Increased capacity for Multimedia support Increased capacity in supporting use of the VLE (Moodle) Growth in deployment of online courses Increased training for academics and students wrt online teaching & learning Increased collaboration with departments
    11. 11. Challenges Experienced Course Developers Internal project /unit • Unreliable internet access and limited bandwidth (initially) • Unreliable local power supply • Quality of courses was variable – many low-end • Multimedia development more difficult than expected • Academics overextended time-wise • On-site workshops meant that regular work interruptions could take place • Support staff changes led to loss of skills and experience • Some project leaders left the institution, gap to be filled • Support staff overextended due to increased Ed Tech activity and support required • Quality Improvement process required considerable coordination • Sustained effort over 4-5 years required in addition to regular duties
    12. 12. Outcomes Institutional • Raised awareness of the potential and practice of delivering online courses • Increased focus on what enhancement is necessary wrt policies, strategies, systems and support for academic staff • Increased expertise; Research output Project ( • Proportion of institutions’ courses or parts thereof (learning objects) to be made available as Open Educational Resources (OER) to be shared with other institutions • Capacity Building workshops to become available as OERs from Saide website for any course developers or support teams to use or adapt (early 2014)
    13. 13. Lessons Learned Project Support Team (Saide) • • • • • Conducive institutional environment (Apex support) Establish pedagogical practice of academics up front Importance of internal centralized support units Off-campus venues preferable for workshops Prepare off-line solutions (e.g. Poodle) Course Developers (Academics) •Using supporting ICTS requires a high level of perseverance •Multimedia development requires considerable expertise •Takes time (iterations) to design, develop and pilot an online course •A blended delivery approach can add value to an on-campus environment
    14. 14. Reflection • What is the potential impact of online / blended course delivery on the stakeholders? • How can you develop or enhance capacity building processes at your institution? • Who should be involved and at what stage? User Involvement Executive Management Support Clear Statement of Requirements
    15. 15. Thank You! Questions? Brenda Mallinson and Greig Krull / Slideshare - This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.