I am delighted to be able to share some thoughts about online methodology with the CISARC community, so thanks for inviting me. Let me start by saying that I am not an expert on simulation. My experience lies in educational technology in higher education, in particular the Moodle education platform, whose use at UVic-UCC has been my focus over the last ten years or so.
In the session on Thursday we’ll be taking a broad view of online methodology in the context of CoViD-19. How has delivery of higher education been changing over recent years? Why is the current context so transformative? We’ll explore attitudes to technology and perhaps explode some myths. We’ll also consider how teachers respond in general to new technology that is invading our profession.
We will take a look at some of the new options for online delivery of traditional university-level courses. Moving online in a rush means you need to have a clear sense of priorities. If teachers are not going to see students on-site for some time, what are the key items to get started working online? You need some kind of educational platform, such as Moodle, Sakai or Google Classroom, which include all you require.
I’ve created a CISARC acronym that covers the key items to start with, and reflects how we have been focusing on this challenge in my centre:
Individual graded assignments
Setting out the course details
Resources that are interactive
C is for communication
You need to have a space where students and teachers can ask and answer questions, can interact, and can consult other people’s messages. This is typically a Forum activity.
I is for individual graded assignments
No more work handed in on paper. Tasks need to be fully managed on line, from instructions through to submission, grading and feedback. In Moodle this is called an Assignment activity.
S is for setting out all course details
You need to make sure that the course calendar has all the main events, that assessment criteria are clearly stated and obligatory graded tasks are visually foregrounded.
A is for academic information
Students need access to all input: teacher’s recorded videos, teacher’s academic notes and handouts, links and references.
These four items are the minimum, I would say. The next two are for added value!
Resources that are interactive
Students love activities that are interactive. The simplest kind of interactive activity is a multiple-choice quiz with self-assessment. Students can get immediate feedback on their answers and an overall score, together with recommendations for follow-up work.
Online meetings are a place to meet up for spoken interaction, question and answer sessions, lecturing, and so on. But bear in mind that not all students have good internet access. Can you record and share these sessions?
The first four items are essential in any move to online training, I would say. The penultimate item adds quality. Though interactive activities take some time to create, they can be used again and again with different groups.
The last item, Conferencing, is the least significant, in my view, and is certainly no substitute for the first five. But online meetings could be a valuable addition to the overall mix, particularly if they are carefully planned and focus on students’ priorities.
Any move online involves extra work to start with, but all resources can be re-used in subsequent courses and will add value to them, even if and when we get back in on-site classrooms!
Different delivery models imply different approaches and methods. We’ll talk about teacher-centred and student-centred views and I will emphasise the importance of active methodology, focusing on what students actually do during training.
We will close with a brief consideration of best practice in online training and obstacles remaining in the path of increased adoption and innovation.
I am looking forward to input and discussion from seminar participants on how all this impinges on the training of healthcare professionals and the use of simulation techniques.
Richard Samson, Lecturer and Head of the University Teaching and Educational Technology Unit, University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia.