ALIA Schools Online Forum: Online learning – Day 4


ALIA Schools Online Forum: Online learning – Day 4

This week we shift our focus to explore various online learning courses and programs that are available online.

If you have never tried an online learning course before, below are a few well known examples that we encourage you to take a look at today. You are encouraged to post a brief comment in response regarding what you have discovered today.

If you have tried online learning before and have recommendations for participants to try, please post them in the comments section below along with a brief comment about how the course helped you.

We look forward to reading and engaging with you all in the comments section of this post.


13 thoughts on “ALIA Schools Online Forum: Online learning – Day 4

  1. I have participated in three online learning with courses offered by SLAV/State Library of Victoria for school libraries: Personal Learning Network, Research Toolkit and Shift Alt Story. The first of these courses was offered in 2012 and was my first experience of formal professional learning online. These courses gave me a taste of online learning and the confidence to embark on my Master of Education course delivered via distance education. I am reasonably tech savvy so I wasn’t too daunted by learning online but others are. My advice is to take advantage of the communication tools to ask questions and engage in the tasks without fear of embarrassment. No doubt others will be experiencing the same problems, concerns and insecurities as you. It is also likely that the more experienced or confident participants may be able to help you. This has certainly been the case in my university course where the participatory and sharing elements of online learning have been challenging at times but also very rewarding.

    • I found when I did the PLN that the confidence came by doing….and in one sense it is easy to explore in the privacy of your own space. Motivation to continue if you feel that it is too hard is a real issue.

  2. Online learning is convenient and enables training with groups who could not meet due to time or distance to work together and participate in a much wider range of offerings than if they had to attend.

    Online learning has moved on from a few modules offered by correspodence with a once in a while teleconference. Online courses can be webinars, Reading/Blog/Webinar, Stepped units with tests of understanding, Flipped learning with use of collaborative spaces or any combination of the above.

    I note that lots of our TAFE accredited units for Child Safety, First Aid and Disability Access are now offered as fully online courses. This rigid stepped module system works to ensure a large student base have read and understood information but is not the best most engaging way to learn.

    I find that courses which involve collaboration, be it in the form of webinars, blogging or use of communal space such as OneNote or Google Docs are likely to retain students.

    ALIA courses use Moodle which combine flipped learning (read or watch beforehand), with blogging.
    I have completed a SEEK learning course which was a stepped and graded course. You move to the next level if you meet milestones.

    Our school uses the Office 365 educational collaboration spaces. This means that you can set up your class in One Note where each student has a private page that they can see as well as Collaborative spaces. The teacher can see everyone’s pages and is prompted when students add or change things. This is a very powerful online learning tool.

    Issues which need to be considered, especially by librarians, is where the information in the shared online space comes from. Open Source Educational resources become very important and our role in liaising with faculties to curate good resources becomes very valuable.

  3. Here is an example of a collaborative project that I worked on for a Masters subject on digital citizenship (online). Our group used Google Hangout, Skype, collaborative Google Docs, email and the Wikispaces platform to collaborate and create the resource. Ethical Participation in the Digital Environment is aimed at teachers and teacher librarians and focuses on copyright, Creative Commons, plagiarism, remix and briefly touches on Open Educational Resources in the “What’s Next” section. I hope you find it useful.

  4. My first online learning experience was five years ago when I completed a Digital Information course with Kelly Gardiner and the SLV. It was such a good experience that it encouraged me to try more. I have completed several with the TAA that go over 6-8 weeks – they use Moodle as the platform with lots of online discussion and online tasks with feedback from other participants and the presenter. This Thursday I am going to do a 2hr online learning course with a new provider UWS and we are going to use ZOOM which is an app which I can use via my phone. The courses I have mainly chosen to do online have been to do with information literacy or literacy in the History classroom as I teach one class of History as well as being a teacher librarian and ICT integrator. This online learning has also helped me to complete hours for the Institute of Teachers after hours which makes it so much easier to get your 100 hours.

  5. One of my first experiences of online learning was completing the E-learning and Digital Cultures course, run by the University of Edinburgh through Coursera . It was a fascinating experience, and introduced me to the concept of ‘quad-blogging’ – where you work in a group of four, blogging and commenting and providing feedback. Although there were many completing the course simultaneously, being in a small group for the blogging component ensured you were never overwhelmed by the need to comment on hundreds of blogs, and you also had the opportunity to develop online connections with those in your group. Giving and receiving feedback doesn’t always happen in the wider world of blogging, as there are just so many out there, so this was a great experience.

    Just this year, I have been involved in the Open Network Learning course, which is entirely run on open and freely accessible applications including WordPress and Google Plus. Four Swedish universities and one South African university have worked together to develop this course, which focuses on exploring online pedagogies in higher education, that support open and networked learning. I completed the course in the first half of the year, and now in its second iteration of 2016, I have been asked to act as a co-facilitator for one of the PBL groups. Like the E-learning and Digital Cultures course, Open Network Learning has a large online cohort from all over the world, but also provides connectivity and collegiality by grouping participants into smaller, ‘problem-based learning’ (PBL) groups. In my group, we have participants from Sweden, Poland, South Africa, Pakistan, and myself in Australia. Working in this small group, we create responses to scenarios around different topics, which are introduced every couple of weeks. These responses (created using a range of free and open tools such as Padlet, Weebly, Prezi etc) are then shared to the larger group, so that everyone can see and comment on the resources. Participants are also challenged to track their learning through a series of blog posts.

    These experiences have been challenging but overwhelmingly positive for me. Even though I am relatively comfortable in the online sphere, I have learnt so much from sharing and connecting with other learners from around the world – the differences in perspectives provide so much food for thought, and yet the similarity of our challenges and our shared joy in learning really helps to make the world seem a smaller, more connected place.

  6. Hello. I was very keen to get involved in this PL opportunity but events etc have stalled me until tonight. I am keen to hear what others know and do and also to share my experiences. I work in a shared library – a senior secondary face to face school and the R-12 distance education school for SA. Online learning and access to many of the resources and learning tools is the way of life for many of these students – and of course, the teachers. Both schools use many of the same tools eg Moodle, Google Docs. We also use a variety of options for lessons eg WebEx. Library resources need to be accessed online where possible and we utilise a range of options to assist students to use them. We have investigated and use flipped learning, As a learner myself I have been involved in attending but also running online PL for others eg webinars. It is always interesting to sit on the side of the learner to see how it feels.

  7. I like people-driven online courses. I get a bit bored with traditional, structured courses (I know – wah!) My favourite moocs have been #Rhizo15 (sadly #Rhizo16 didn’t eventuate because Dave Cormier felt he couldn’t organise another one) and #clmooc which forces you to create stuff. You learn a lot of tech tools through this, not only from the course itself but from people doing it. I dip in and out depending on my time. I did a couple of Monash Uni online courses: Media Literacy and Mindfulness – they were good but more about content than interacting with people. It’s hard to create a really interactive online course. There’s no one-size-fits-all.

  8. I undertook my Bachelor of Applied Science (Library and Information Management) degree online through Charles Sturt University – and that was my first venture into any type of online learning. Since then, I’ve undertaken a number of MOOCs – my favourite being New Librarianship, through Syracuse University and led by David Lankes. I absolutely loved it – it was run in a very structured and easy to keep up with way and I felt that I learned so many new things and gained new insights into what it means to be a librarian. At the time, I was between jobs – which was a bit of a shame, because I felt like I wanted to put all the amazing things that I’d learned into place straight away! 😉

    The differences I felt between the two were that my degree course felt a lot more interactive – there were forums and a real connectivity between students, other students and the tutors. The latter was more about taking the information in and responding as required, but it didn’t feel QUITE as connected with others.

    MOOCs are so exciting to me, because they provide the opportunity for pretty much anyone to undertake learning and educate themselves. Being that libraries of all kinds generally provide the capacity for users to access technology where they might not have it themselves, we can play a part in assisting users to hook into these things!

  9. I have undertaken several online learning courses and find it a great way to learn because I can work at my own pace, at a time and location that suits me. I have participated in the Personal Learning Network (PLN) conducted by the State Library of Victoria (SLV) and found that I was able to develop new skills and knowledge as well as reinforcing what I did already know. The advantage with online courses is that you are able to speed through content that you know already and you can repeat aspects that you need to view several times in order to fully understand it.

    Another course I found useful was the Power Searching with Google course that definitely enhanced my knowledge of Google searching even though I started with a good understanding.

    I do agree with comments by others about not feeling connected to other course participants. This can be alleviated if you encourage others to join you in course participation. When I undertook the PLN and the Google course I encouraged others in my workplace to participate. This allowed for real-time conversations as we were working on the same activities and were able to support each other in our learning. The PLN was good in that the SLV had some sessions at the SLV for learning support so you were able to interact with others.

    What I do find frustrating with online courses are the ones where the pace is dictated by the online format; they are often the training courses that are compulsory in the workplace e.g. OH&S , Equal Opportunity, etc. You are forced to step through the course and are not able to speed an area up if it is knowledge you already have.

    I was already aware of Open Universities Australia but had forgotten about the Open Learning site. For teachers in Victoria who are now required to undertake professional development related to disabilities in order to retain their VIT registration; there were a number of useful courses available. I look at some of the others and think “Hurry up Retirement” so that I have the time to fully participate.

  10. I’ve also tried a few of the Open Learning on the Open Universities Australia, site. There is a very useful course on Indigenous peoples that a number of teachers at my school have completed for professional development that gave them information to assist in the accreditation process as well.

    I did an edX course called Library Advocacy unshushed, run by the University of Toronto. I found it very useful for brushing up on advocacy skills. The interaction with other participants was positive.

    I’d recommend the Copyright 4 educators course. You work within a group in an online setting, and have a different scenario to work through each week.There is the opportunity for peer assessing of other groups responses, allowing you to think more deeply on the copyright scenarios presented.

    I agree with Amanda about the pace of some of these online courses. They seem to require you to “push” through the content, without allowing you to explore more fully.

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