Online professional learning opportunities are widely available these days. How do we choose the right opportunities, and fit them into our home and working lives? Eilidh Gittus, EIS Organiser, offer insights as she talks about her recent experiences of participating in an online Open University course.
1. Congratulations on successfully completing the Open University Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners course this summer. What are some of the key learning points that have stuck with you?
‘One of the most important points is that courses that you normally teach face to face, shouldn’t simply be transferred into online delivery; the design of learning outcomes, activities and assessment need to be carefully considered and planned for the specifics of an online learning environment. This course really made me think about accessibility for students and how to create equitable access.’
2. How did your experience of studying this course compare with other experiences of learning (both face to face and online)?
‘Previously I had tried online learning and thought that it just didn’t suit me, but studying this OU course was completely different. It is so carefully structured and supported every step of the way to enable you to succeed. I loved that you begin thinking about and working towards your assessment from the start of the course by using your reflective portfolio. No last-minute panics because you have been writing elements of your final assessment the whole way through.’
3. 150 hours of study over 12 weeks is a large time commitment, alongside working and home life. How did you manage?
‘To be completely honest, it was hard. I work full-time and have a toddler, so life is already pretty full on. However, the way the course is broken down and your success is measured, along with support from peers and mentors, kept me going. I was really interested in the course content and because it was a mix of videos, articles, websites, and discussion, that kept my interest levels up. We created an informal study support group within my organisation so that we could share ideas and support each other which was invaluable.’
4. What advice would you give to those considering undertaking this or a similar course online?
‘These courses are very well-designed so that you can access small chunks and measure your progress so don’t be put off applying even if you are worried about the time commitment. If you can, get together with others on the course for a bit of support/blowing off steam!’