Term 1 Moodle training at GippsTAFE is in the form of fortnightly webinars. The webinars are hour-long online sessions conducted in the virtual classroom, Blackboard Collaborate.
The advantage of this mode of delivery is that teachers can participate in the sessions from their work station. All they need is a computer connected to the internet and a microphone with a headset. They do not need to allow extra time to travel to and from a venue as they would if the sessions were conducted face to face. They can participate in the training with minimal impact on their already busy schedules.
Members of the plumbing department have shown particular ingenuity and co-operation in this regard. One staff member logs each person into the virtual classroom while the others are all occupied with students in the workshop. This means that once the teacher is free they just have to put on their headphones and join in the session rather than losing time waiting for Blackboard Collaborate to load.
Each session focuses on a particular aspect of Moodle and is offered twice, once at lunch time and once in the afternoon to cater for different teaching schedules. Sessions are also recorded so that anyone who cannot participate can catch up on what they have missed. Participants can also use the recordings to review the sessions if they wish.
The program is summarised in the MoodleWebinarsFlyer.
The participation in the program has been pleasing. 49 staff members from across the institute have registered for the training. They come from a variety of teaching areas and all GippsTAFE campuses are represented.
In order to introduce the participants to the virtual classroom preparation webinars were conducted in the week prior to the actual training. During these sessions the tools in the virtual classroom were explained and those who attended had the opportunity to participate in some simple activities so that they could become familiar with the technology.
Support documents about webinars were created and made available in the form of how to guides. These were loaded onto the GippsTAFE Online Learning Help Guides.
The program is well underway with good numbers participating in each session.