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This paper reports on the experience of converting a face-to-face Master’s course to a wholly online, distance learning (DL) course largely following the Open University DL model but based on using and creating open educational resources (OER). The original course was an MSc in social research methods and had been running for 17 years, but it needed to reach a wider recruitment market. Two key aspects of this conversion were that many of the teaching team were not experienced in teaching DL, and that the changeover was not a special project, with special funding, but a run-of-the mill course development.
The development was taken through the standard university approval process but as a fully DL development it had to meet two specific criteria: the QAA DL precepts and our university DL regulations. Both, to varying degrees, assume that the course development and/or the course delivery will be undertaken by fully experienced staff. The teaching team was overwhelmingly a research active and research focussed group of academics and thus well qualified in the subject matter of the course, but although many had taught the previous, in-person Master’s for many years, they had little demonstrable experience with DL.
Presentation given at the HEA Social Sciences Conference 2014, The Studio, Birmingham, UK, 21-22 May 2014