Keeping it simple!Some things not to do in Online Learning  Brian Mulligan, Institute of Technology Sligo, Ireland,       ...
A little story!     (aka “case study”)A naive approach to online learning?
Prehistory• 1985 – photocopied self-learning materials• 1989 – Distance Learning manual• 1993 – Transferred self-learning ...
Original Pedagogic Strategy• Internet Supported Independent Learning• Low/no cost learning materials  – Textbooks, handout...
Finance• No significant investment• No payment for preparation of materials• Time off teaching for training purposes  – In...
Modification of initial strategy• Did not work with mathematical topics  – needed regular live classes• Added synchronous ...
The Emergent Model ‘Evening Classes’     online
live classes (online)
textbook
Handouts + websites
Course Webpage for non-live
independent learning  Assignments, support, feedback
Assignment Submission
Good online communication
Peer Support
Bring ‘em in if you have to!
We’re working on that!
A Learning Model       Textbooks Handouts                       WebsitesLive classes Resources  Video            Learning ...
So how did it go?
Growth of online learning         700         600         500         400                                                 ...
Longest list of courses in Ireland   Level 6 - Higher Certificate              Level 8 - Honours Bachelor Degree,         ...
“The on-line courses offered by IT Sligo are suitable for people who want a high quality and challenging qualification whi...
And their employers!
Characteristics of ‘Sligo’ model• Minimal investment (and risk)  – Significant running costs (currently)  – Viable at low ...
What were other similar           institutions doing?•   Developing content•   Looking for scale economies•   Market resea...
How were they getting on?• Slow going• Scale of operations:  ~140,000 full-time higher education students in    Ireland  ~...
Observations....on common assumptions that might be causing the problem.
The merits of teamwork   – vs. Individual work
The merits of collaboration      – vs. competition
• The impact of sophisticated pedagogical  approaches  – vs. simple good teaching practices
• The value of research  – vs. simple good teaching practices
• The impact of high investment  –on operating and maintenance costs
• The reliability of deterministic approaches  – vs. continuous improvement approaches in    changing environments
• The merits of high quality“Excellence is the enemy of the good!”
• The value of content  – vs. Communication  – “Content is King?”
• Grant aid helps
• We have the right people.  – Distance learning experts  – Educational researchers  – Instructional designers  – Informat...
Any Questions?               Brian Mulligan     mulligan.brian@itsligo.ie
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Keeping it Simple: Some things not to do in online learning

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Mulligan, B. "Keeping it Simple: Some things not to do in online learning", Adobe Connect Academic User Group, September 16th, 2011

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  • Click for “Evening Classes” Click again for ‘online’ Just imagine you could come in and teach evening classes and that people could join in without driving in. So what was involved (in putting these evening classes online)
  • You might argue that this would be enough (well not as good as real face to face classes) However, it easy to make it better.
  • So you don’t have to cover everything in class Sounds obvious – but lots of people think that if you have a distance learning programme you have to type everything up – this is expensive – would never do that for a night course.
  • Handouts can be uploaded into a VLE (Blackboard, WebCT, Moodle) – even easier than using the photocopier. Even better – use many free resources on the web – give them the link.
  • Get them to do some work – learn by doing – help them with it (VLE queries) – let them know how they are getting on.
  • Send out notices, answer queries, let them talk to each other using ‘bulletin boards’ or forums.
  • So here is a proposed model AT its core it NOT ABOUT TECHNOLOGY – learning activities Question: What resources do you think can be provided? All about communication. Next slide – What learning activities?
  • Narrow this down again. Where is the student growth? Most recent growth has been in online distance learning. (Trad DL is also migrating online) Can we assure quality? Organic growth – outwards as well as upwards. – about 11 programmes. So, How did we achieve this.
  • Look at how much we have achieved: 7 traditional distance education courses in over 3 departments. 12 online-distance (11 in one department) Already the largest selection in the country.
  • This is our objective. We are streaking ahead of other institutions in the country, particularly the Universities who do not seem to be interested.
  • Keeping it Simple: Some things not to do in online learning

    1. 1. Keeping it simple!Some things not to do in Online Learning Brian Mulligan, Institute of Technology Sligo, Ireland, ACAUG meeting, Sep 16th, 2011.
    2. 2. A little story! (aka “case study”)A naive approach to online learning?
    3. 3. Prehistory• 1985 – photocopied self-learning materials• 1989 – Distance Learning manual• 1993 – Transferred self-learning materials onto the Internet• 1997 – 2000 Educational Technology Officer – learning technologies for campus students – Poor progress (little faculty interest)• 2000 – Online Distance Learning – Greenfield site for new techniques – Self-learning approach• 2002 Launched pilot
    4. 4. Original Pedagogic Strategy• Internet Supported Independent Learning• Low/no cost learning materials – Textbooks, handouts , websites• Independent Learning Activities• Guidance given by ‘text’ over the Internet• Access to asynchronous discussion fora to support• Travel to Institute as required – Practical labs and math tutorials
    5. 5. Finance• No significant investment• No payment for preparation of materials• Time off teaching for training purposes – Initially – dropped later• Low level of planning – Instead - a fast response to problem solving• Faculty payment same as campus classes
    6. 6. Modification of initial strategy• Did not work with mathematical topics – needed regular live classes• Added synchronous (live) classes – These proved very popular with all topics
    7. 7. The Emergent Model ‘Evening Classes’ online
    8. 8. live classes (online)
    9. 9. textbook
    10. 10. Handouts + websites
    11. 11. Course Webpage for non-live
    12. 12. independent learning Assignments, support, feedback
    13. 13. Assignment Submission
    14. 14. Good online communication
    15. 15. Peer Support
    16. 16. Bring ‘em in if you have to!
    17. 17. We’re working on that!
    18. 18. A Learning Model Textbooks Handouts WebsitesLive classes Resources Video Learning Activities Lecturer Feedback Support Fellow learners
    19. 19. So how did it go?
    20. 20. Growth of online learning 700 600 500 400 Students 300 200 100 0 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011• Excludes: – Traditional DL – Bespoke – Minor awards – evening
    21. 21. Longest list of courses in Ireland Level 6 - Higher Certificate Level 8 - Honours Bachelor Degree, Higher Diploma - 2 Years Part Time  HC in Arts in Advocacy Studies  Higher Diploma in Science in Quality  HC in GMP (Good Manufacturing  B.Sc. (Hons) in Quality Management Practice) and Technology  HC in Science in Environmental  B.Eng. (Hons) in Mechatronics Management  HC in Supervisory Management  B.Eng. (Hons) in Electronics  B.Sc. Hons. in Pharmaceutical Science Level 7 - Ordinary Bachelors Degree - 2 Years Part Time Level 9 - Masters Degree - 2 Years Part  B.Eng. in Electronic Engineering Time  B.Eng. in Mechatronics  M.Sc. in Quality  B.Sc. in Manufacturing Management  Postgraduate Diploma/ M.Sc. in Energy Management  B.Sc. in Quality  Postgraduate Diploma/Master of  B.Sc. in Construction Management Science in Biopharmaceutical Science.  B.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Science  Postgraduate Diploma & Masters  B.Sc. in Polymer Processing Science in Environmental Protection  B.Sc. in Environmental Management  Masters in Industrial Pharmaceutical Science ScienceExcludes: Bespoke, minor awards,
    22. 22. “The on-line courses offered by IT Sligo are suitable for people who want a high quality and challenging qualification which offers flexibility to those who have to balance work, home- life and study.”Barney McAleer,Senior Quality EngineerMedtronic Vascular, Galway.Student in the on-line MSc Quality.
    23. 23. And their employers!
    24. 24. Characteristics of ‘Sligo’ model• Minimal investment (and risk) – Significant running costs (currently) – Viable at low enrolment levels• Agile and Responsive (short lead time)• Attractive to lecturers and students – Convenient, social, effective• Versatile (can be augmented)• Can command higher fee levels – Lowers total costs• Increased catchment area – Larger classes
    25. 25. What were other similar institutions doing?• Developing content• Looking for scale economies• Market research• Pedagogical research.• Detailed Planning and Design• Collaboration• Submitting grant applications• Hiring specialists (non-faculty)• Top-down initiatives
    26. 26. How were they getting on?• Slow going• Scale of operations: ~140,000 full-time higher education students in Ireland ~5,000 in IT Sligo• IT Sligo had around the same number of online courses as all the other HE institutions put together.
    27. 27. Observations....on common assumptions that might be causing the problem.
    28. 28. The merits of teamwork – vs. Individual work
    29. 29. The merits of collaboration – vs. competition
    30. 30. • The impact of sophisticated pedagogical approaches – vs. simple good teaching practices
    31. 31. • The value of research – vs. simple good teaching practices
    32. 32. • The impact of high investment –on operating and maintenance costs
    33. 33. • The reliability of deterministic approaches – vs. continuous improvement approaches in changing environments
    34. 34. • The merits of high quality“Excellence is the enemy of the good!”
    35. 35. • The value of content – vs. Communication – “Content is King?”
    36. 36. • Grant aid helps
    37. 37. • We have the right people. – Distance learning experts – Educational researchers – Instructional designers – Information technologists – Multi-media specialists
    38. 38. Any Questions? Brian Mulligan mulligan.brian@itsligo.ie

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