Don’t reinvent the wheel … work smarter, not harder

Author Information
Author(s): 
Jo Jenson
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Videos and/or podcasts can help students connect with, and understand content, in a way that print (or slides) alone may not be able to achieve (Brinthaupt et al 2011). Integration of video and/or podcasts into learning materials requires minimal (if any) training for teaching staff by following the step-by-step guide in the document attached to this submission. Streamlining instructional design, achieving consistency, and pedagogy of content to improve the online user experience, can be enhanced with the incorporation of video/podcasts that accompany lecture slides. Online learner readiness may be attributed to the learner initially requiring more instructor involvement. Increasing instructor involvement has ramifications for institutions that rely upon economies of scale through online educators managing larger online class sizes. The objective is to develop and customise content in a cost and time effective manner.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

When core curriculum is delivered across faculties, course material can be easily tailored to become faculty-centric. PowerPoint slides can become interactive through the adaption/incorporation of quizzes, multiple choice and/or drag and drop exercises. The equipment required to produce learning materials following the step-by-step guide in the attached document, will be found in the majority of educational institutions, perhaps with the exception of iSpring software.

Producing video/podcasts to accompany PowerPoint slides provides customisable learning resources without requiring online education specialists to become ICT or media specialists. When curriculum changes or online educators want to incorporate new material into their classes, updating learning resources simply becomes an alteration and/or insertion of a PowerPoint slide, record the accompanying audio, save and upload the file.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Academic institutions benefit by saving updated/new material with a new file name that demonstrates continuous improvement for audit and compliance reviews. The online educator benefits from a quick, simple process for updating materials. For the student, the benefit of choosing to access course materials on their computer or their mobile device in either print or audio caters to different learning styles.

The compromise of the flexibility that online study provides is that the learning that occurs in isolation. Including audio files that support text based learning materials enables study to occur anytime-anywhere. Anytime-anywhere student support is a growing area of investigation as indicated by its inclusion in a range of University policies and academic research (Augusto et al, 2010). Incorporating downloadable files enables learners to study anytime-anywhere; for example providing the opportunity to utilise travel time to study. This practice delivers the opportunity to study according to their own schedules (Tung, 2012) making their learning experience easier to accommodate.

Knowles’ (1998) theory advocates that adults need to learn via experience, and when an adult who knows little or nothing about a topic (in this instance online learning) they will be more dependent on the educator for instructions. The provision of supporting audio files offers access to course materials for learners to revisit, revise and review resources for a deeper learning experience. This technology can be utilised to develop online resources, not only to support PowerPoint lecture slides but extended to creating resources for responses to frequently asked questions, instruction on completing assessment tasks, a personalised welcome to the study program. The opportunity to create, develop, and implement audio using this procedure is endless and supports and enhances the online learning experience.

Education is moving past being “andragogues or pedagogues, to become knowledge brokers or heutagogues, pushing the use of technology in a technologically resourced world” (Wilks & Jacka 2013). Implementation of audio files that accompany text-based PowerPoint slides, demonstrates robust pedagogical practice. Lecture material designed in this format allows other educational specialists to deliver the online material in an asynchronous online session in case of an emergency should the person scheduled to deliver their online class is ill, or absent for another reason, someone can deliver the material on their behalf at short notice. This does not disrupt the online learner’s schedule and demonstrates a seamless approach to the education institution’s commitment in delivering higher levels of student satisfaction.

In 2012 a Babson Survey Research Group and Inside Higher Ed joint project identified that “Online instruction takes a considerable amount of effort and time to be done correctly and not all higher education institutions and their faculty members are taking this time and effort” Those who enjoy studying in an online environment value the flexibility of online learning, however, the online educators are struggling with new approaches to working and the increased expectations of quality learning materials. Implementation of this practice ensures course materials provide quality online education, catering to multiple learning styles, and are consistent in their design and pedagogy.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

This practice relates to the pillars as follows:

Leaning effectiveness increases as learners have choice of lecture material in either print or audio which caters for differing learning styles.

Scale (cost effectiveness and commitment) is minimal. The cost effectiveness is maximised through the reduction of time to update learning materials.

Access is demonstrated by saving updated files demonstrating continuous improvement of education materials.

Faculty satisfaction is evidenced by the willingness to implement this practice across the faculty.

Student satisfaction can be demonstrated by reduced need to contact online educators to answer general questions and to seek additional guidance on assessment clarification.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

• Computer
• Software - Microsoft Office: specifically PowerPoint and iSpring
• Headset with microphone

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

No probable costs associated with this practice

References, supporting documents: 

Allen, I.E., Seaman, J., Lederman, D. & Jaschik, S. (2012). Conflicted: Faculty and Online Education, 2012. Inside Higher Education, June 2012.
Augusto, J.C., McNair, V., McCullagh, P. & McRoberts, A. (2010). Scoping the Potential for Anytime-Anywhere Support Through Virtual Mentors. Innovation in Teaching and Learning in Information and Computer Sciences, 9(2).
Brinthaupt, T.M., Fisher, L.S., Gardner, J.G., Raffo, D.M., & Woodard, J.B. (2011). What the best online teachers should do. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(4), 515-523.
Knowles M. S., Holton III E. F. & Swanson R. A. (1998). The adult learner (5th ed). Houston: Gulf Publishing.
Tung, L.C. (2012). Proactive intervention strategies for improving online student retention in a Malaysian distance education institution. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 8(4), 312-323.
Wilks, J.L. & Jacka, L. (2013). Second life, first experiences: Using virtual worlds in teacher education. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(4), 165-182.

Other Comments: 

I have refined this process due to many lost hours of redesigning my online learning content. I hope this procedure enables others to save their valuable time by adopting my lessons learned.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Jo Jenson
Email this contact: 
jo.jenson@westnet.com.au