Second up in our stories from the front line blogging project around the five main chapters from E-Tivities 2nd edition- due out in June/July... we have Professor Kay Lipson, Academic Dean of Swinburne Online, Melbourne, Australia!
Professor Kay Lipson
Swinburne Online, Melbourne Australia
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your relationship to e-tivities:
In 2011 I was appointed Academic Dean of Swinburne Online, in Melbourne , Australia, a new entity formed to design, develop and deliver university degrees totally online.
Previously I had some personal experience teaching statistics online, and later I managed a faculty delivering a wide range of programs online.
Setting up Swinburne Online was an opportunity to look back over the previous 10 years of online experience and distil the knowledge gained, what had worked and what hadn’t.
We could thus determine from the outset what would be the essential components of the Swinburne Online learning model, and through this ensure that students would undertake the same high quality learning experience in every course throughout their program.
Interview Questions: E-Tivities Chapter One- Past, Present, Future
1. When were you first introduced to the notion of e-tivities and what was your first experience like with them?
I’m not sure when I first heard the term, but my real understanding of the power of e-tivities developed when Gilly Salmon was a visiting professor in the faculty at Swinburne for a week in 2010. I realised the potential of the e-tivity to operationalise a socio-constructivist pedagogical model consistently across a range of courses.
2. In what form do you use e-tivities today?
A range of media (video, audio, pictures, text, quizzes etc) are used as the spark for the e-tivity, and participants contribute through online discussion boards, podcasts, wiki's etc. There is always some level of collaboration or interaction between participants.
3. What do you think is important about the role of e-tivities in online learning design today?
The important role of e-tivities is to engage students with their learning materials and with each other, moving the learning experience from passive and independent to active and collaborative.
4. What has been your experience with e-tivities being used in professional development, and how was the use of e-tivities specifically helpful for this kind of training?
The challenge for Swinburne Online is to use the opportunities offered by current and emergent technologies to support a learning pedagogy which is designed to optimise the student experience and maximise the students’ chance of success.
The Swinburne Online learning model was developed according to this mandate, incorporating in the main socio-constructivist principles of online learning design, but at the same time recognising the opportunities offered by technologies to incorporate open educational resources, and to build connections. The pedagogical model incorporates the following principles:
5. What do you think are important considerations for using e-tivities in learning design in the future?
It’s very important that the e-tivities are seen as interesting, relevant and useful by participants. They must direct the participant towards the course learning outcomes, not distract from them. And they should clearly (from a student perspective) scaffold assessment.
6. What advice would you give future learning designers and facilitators of e-tivities?
Design your e-tivities with clear goals which align with the course learning outcomes, and resist the temptation of having too many, or making them too long or too complex. They need to invite the participant in, not scare them away.