Team Profile Page

Project Name: Innovative Online Teacher Facilitation

‍Public Contact Details

Name: Sarah SilverSarah Silver.PNG
Role in the project: Project Manager
Phone: 02 6207-4354

Other team members: Cathy Baxter, Angela Ryan, Jackie Trotter, Sam Mills, Josephine Whitfield

Project Profile:

Who are the learners and how will they benefit from this project?

The learners are teachers working in Vocational, Education and Training and High School and College Teachers in the ACT. The learners will benefit from the project by having flexible study options, excellent learning resources, an interactive learning environment, online collaboration and the exposure to online technologies to then incorporate into their own teaching practice.

Where are your learners located?

The learners are mostly situated in the ACT and bordering NSW suburbs.

How will training be delivered?

Training is delivered in mixed mode and the study mode is optional depending on the needs of the learner. All materials developed in the online environment universal, and do not change with study mode; face-to-face, fully online or work based learning model.

Describe the importance of this project for your target learners and explain how it will meet the strategic objective of the E-learning for Participation and Skills funding to utilise innovative e-learning practices and / or high speed broadband-enabled technologies to deliver e-learning projects and strategies which improve individuals’ access to gain pre-vocational skills, skills in priority employment areas, or to pursue educational pathways to gain higher qualifications?

The importance of the project for the target audience are as follows:-

- choice of study mode
- exposure to interactive resources and high definition video resources
- completion of units in the required 'Cert IV in Training and Assessment' qualification
- confidence in using an online course and its functions, forums, quizzes, uploading of assignments, collaboration sessions

In addition to the importance of the project to the target audience, the project has specifically set out to increase online participation, and embed teacher confidence in using online technologies. Recent feedback (27 Nov, 2012) from a learner was that the you-tube clips and quizzes are great and that she can't wait to put them into her own online course. If teachers use the online learning platform as a student, they will have a greater awareness of their own students needs when they design their own online learning courses.

What are the intended outcomes from your project, and how you will measure them?

The intended outcomes from the project was making units from the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment available online; increasing teachers exposure to online learning; and getting the students (existing and new teachers) to incorporate the online learning concepts into their own online learning courses.

The success of these outcomes will be measured by:-
Student completions for online learning compared to workshop attendance.
Completions of units compared to previous years and
Overall student satisfaction to be determined through the course evaluations and surveys (as detailed below).

The participants will be surveyed at the conclusion of the project. In addition to the project survey, all students within Canberra Institute of Technology are surveyed on their use of eLearn (online learning). The project surveys and 'CIT eLearn' surveys will be used to determine the success of the project.

What are the needs of the target learner group/s and relevant stakeholders (employers, community, training organisations etc)?

The learner group (potential and existing teachers) are required to use online learning as a platform for their own teaching. It is hoped that by exposing new teachers to the eLearn platform as a student that they will have an appreciation of online learning. This appreciation should then enable them to improve their own online resources and course facilitation. The online courses that we developed attempted to showcase best practice and a wide range of resources on online tools to give the students a variety of learning experiences.

Describe the learning approach, program and technologies to be used... (Include details about where the training and trials will take place, the number of learners and the qualification, units(s) or skills sets to be delivered.)

The aim of the project was to provide a number of units from the ‘Certificate IV in Training and Assessment’ qualification to CIT Teachers and ACT High School and College Teachers.
The units to be provided in this project are:-
§ TAEASS401B Plan assessment activities and processes
§ TAEASS402B Assess Competence
§ TAEDES401A Design and develop learning programs
§ TAEDES402A Use training packages and accredited courses to meet client needs and
§ TAEDEL501A Facilitate e-learning

Delivery and assessment of units within the qualification will be facilitated by our Integrated Learning Management System (Moodle) and a collection of online tools, including the TAE toolbox for training and assessment.

The project enabled the enhancement of previously limited online resources to develop a suite of fully online units for the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment qualification, where students can work at their own pace.

The innovative e-learning technologies that were utilised in the project included the use of an integrated online learning platform ‘Moodle 2.3’, repository for resource storage ‘Equella’. Within Canberra Institute of Technology the combination of Moodle and Equella is commonly known as eLearn. The innovative e-Learning technologies that were incorporated into the project, included the use Adobe Connect for online training, interactive activities including forums, and workshops. Students’ assessments can be provided as word documents, MP4 videos or portfolios of images.

The online learning platform (Moodle) can be accessed from a personal computer or tablet. Many of the resources within the course rely on good access to the Internet. These resources included animated power point presentations saved as MP4 videos, you tube clips and other educational videos created by the teachers for increased student learning.

Teachers working within the Vocational, Education and Training sector are required to hold the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. This is a requirement of our regulator Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). This increases the importance of providing increased opportunities for teachers to complete the qualification. By having the units online participants’ can study at their own pace and are not be locked into workshop attendance.

The final objective of the project was increasing the confidence of Teachers in using online technologies with the multiplier effect of its use in their own teaching. Annually a minimum of 250 Teachers will utilise the online courses that have been developed for this project.

Please list 5 key words (metadata) that people can use to find your project:

teacher training, online facilitation, teacher education

Monthly Project Updates
(Please complete minimum of 2 paragraphs each month providing an update of your project)

September 2012
Our project is to provide some of the Cert IV Training and Assessment qualification units as fully online units. The purpose of this is to increase enrolments, student participation and completions. In addition to this priority it is hoped that students will be exposed to the capabilities of online learning and feel sufficiently confident to incorporate some of the ideas into their own online delivery.
In September we received approval for our project and commenced researching opportunities for enhancement of existing online units. The existing online units contained no interactive content, and typically contained basic resources and an assignment (as downloadable word documents). There was little to no interactivity with the online units typified as a resource depot.
The emphasis of the project is exposure to the capabilities of an online learning course to encourage and expand the resources that teachers will use in their own courses. We are hoping to significantly increase the interactive content and provide opportunities for teachers (our students) to collaborate with one another. No enrolments will occur until November.
October 2012
During the month of October we were very busy building our online units. Our focus was the units that will contribute to the project, we have also been building online units for the remaining units within the Cert IV Training and Assessment qualification. I believe we underestimated the time required to develop the units and we were under extreme pressure to develop the resources to an acceptable standard. Considerable time was taken with researching for new resources, creating online resources such as books with you tube clips, and the development of self-marking quizzes.

There is a toolbox for the Cert IV in Training and Assessment however I have found this toolbox to be cumbersome to use and the toolbox itself offers limited interactivity. We have been able to encourage some parts of the toolbox but they have mostly been used to provide examples to support the new resources that we have created.

As CIT delivers such a wide range of courses we have also been sourcing examples from the different teaching centres. The sharing of teaching examples from different discipline areas will enable new teachers to have a broader perspective of teaching in vocational education.

Example of a sharing opportunity, utlising 'lightbox' feature in Moodle for students to share photos:-
Example of utlising the Moodle feature 'Lightbox' where students can contribute images to the course

November 2012
Enrolments into the online units commenced. The focus of the project will be enrolments in 2013, however in a response to demand enrolments were accepted in November 2012. This created some issues as the online units had not been sufficiently analysed planned with all assessments having to be manually marked and multiple forum entries per unit all requiring feedback and interaction from the facilitator. The facilitator workload was not sustainable due to staff shortages (through illness). To reduce the facilitator workload we introduced a number of interactive (formative and summative) self-marking quizzes. The number of forum entries required was also rationalised and the use of journals was replaced with the uploading of student responses. I believe the addition of self-marking quizzes has been particularly beneficial as it provides the students with instant feedback and does not require the facilitator to manually mark uncomplicated formative assessment items. The quizzes also provided automated feedback that provides a detailed explanation of the correct response if an incorrect response is entered.
November remained busy with finalising enhancements to the online units and fine tuning the resources that were being provided.
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Screen shot of a simulated RPL assessment that student use to make a decision about assessment

Some of the enhancements included the addition of you tube videos, provided reading resources as ‘books’ in moodle, using ‘go animate’ to enhance previously used audio recordings, the use of ‘xtranormal’ to provide a scenario of an RPL assessment conversation, integration of existing TAE toolbox information, and links to useful websites. There has also been a strong emphasis on web accessibility requirements including our attendance at the web accessibility workshops that were held in Canberra.
December 2012
In December our staff attended the Moodle Symposium that was hosted by the University of Canberra. The two day conference provided a wonderful professional development opportunity and a number of new concepts will be included in our course delivery. Final enhancements on the online units continued as changes in our VET environment need to be conveyed to your students.
January 2013
January was very quiet in terms of student work as many of the teachers (our student group) were on leave. This quiet period was used to continue enhancement and improvement of the pages in eLearn.

Through the month we were researching for interesting and current resources to include in the online course material.
February 2013
This month there was a rush of enrolments and it was very exciting to see the number of enrolments into unit’s grow. After students enrol they are sent instructions on how to access the eLearn pages. Once into the course they are asked to engage with other student's and contribute to a forum where they introduce themselves. As students progress through the sequence of units in the qualification the initial forum entry asks them to provide information about their knowledge or interest in the particular units – subject matter.
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Screen shot of links to resources and course evaluation for student feedback

In each of the eLearn courses there are detailed resources. As the participant progresses through the course they complete activities to enhance or provide evidence of their knowledge. Some of the units contain web quests or the opportunity to play a game to further consolidate their learning.
All final assessments are uploaded into the eLearn course. I have attempted to mark all assessments and provide feedback with one week of submissions.
March 2013
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Screen shot of an embedded you tube clip that is very informative
Enrolments into the online courses have continued at a steady pace. The courses are also utilised for face-to-face workshops. In the workshop the difficulties participants experience with online technology is very visible. Our older particpants find it difficult to navigate from one screen to the next and some of the assessments required a web search and viewing of multiple screens, these proved extremely challenging for all of them.
As the participants worked through the online quizzes it was evident that not all of the quiz questions were suitable (so too difficult) and that the functionality of the question type varied from PC to iPad. This difference was not substantial but certainly provided a different learning experience. The main database that stores all the documents failed for the entire length of the workshop making accessibility to vital resources impossible. There is no contingency for this when it occurs.
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Current number of participants in April in just one of the online units

April 2013
Throughout April was have been busy with ongoing enrolments, marking assessments and keeping the students on track for the completion of units. The number of students progressing through the online material has been disappointing. A significant issue of the online units was the generous flexibility we offered with enrolments. This is terrific for the students as they can enrol on any day of the week. However it is virtually impossible to provide ongoing meaningful facilitation, such as online classroom sessions, with ongoing enrolments.

Mostly the online units are designed for the students to work at their own pace, the complication of this is that there is no set deadline for assessments to be submitted and hence some students don’t submit any work for months on end. An improved model in terms of student completions may be set commencement timeframes and stricter completion dates. Having set enrolments would also make it possible to include and schedule online classroom session times to progress learning and activity/assessment submission.

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Feedback from one of our participants

May 2013
This month there has been some great professional development workshops including Greg O’Connor with ‘Integrating iPads into your classroom for learning support and special education’ and Julian Ridden the facilitator of the ‘ACT Moodle Master Class’. Both of the training days were excellent but for me the highlight was the Moodle Master Class. I learnt a lot at this session that has now been integrated into our online Moodle units. The concepts are relatively simple but had not been available to us until our recent upgrade of Moodle version to 2.3.

The features that have been added to our online units include the use of conditional release statements so that the course grows (elements become visible) as the student explores and interacts with the material in the online course/unit, increased use of explicit ‘use’ instructions, audio recordings to provide an alternative to reading text, a reward system so that the students receive praise and token awards for completing phases of the online unit.
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Examples of image links provided in the online courses

In addition to the use of more explicit instructions I have included the use of images as 'links' instead of always relying on text links only. There has been a concentrated effort to improve the overall appearance of the online units to make them more visually appealing.

In addition to MP3 audio recordings I have also started to include into the online courses 'self created' MP4 videos, constructed from power point with animations and audio.
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An example of a MP4 video constructed from power point

June 2013
Work on developing online learning courses will continue with enthusiasm and new skills to match.
Project wrap up
Wiki, Case Study and Digital Stories submitted as part of the project outcomes.