Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

The three projects that were part of GippsTAFE’s 2013 e-Learning grant provided valuable professional development to a large number of general teaching staff and also provided the opportunity for staff in the Innovation Department to research new processes that significantly enhance their ability to support institute staff.

Project 1 – Getting it Right Online

The aim of this project was to investigate ways to make it easier for GippsTAFE teachers to ensure that their teaching programs and record keeping processes satisfy the stringent requirements of evidence of engagement audits as well as meeting quality assurance standards.

After consultation with the Quality Assurance team at GippsTAFE and extensive investigation of the online platforms in use at the institute a range of strategies were developed to assist teachers.

These strategies were shared with GippsTAFE staff via a series of training webinars. All webinars were recorded and the recordings are available via the GippsTAFE Innovation Blog.

https://gippstafeinnovation.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/getting-it-right-in-moodle-training-webinars/

Teachers who were unable to attend the ‘real-time’ webinars have been able to access the recordings after the event. These recordings also allow teachers to re-visit subject material on multiple occasions if required.

Where appropriate the GippsTAFE Online Learning Help Guides were updated to include tips and examples to help teachers set courses and units up in an appropriate manner allowing the knowledge gained throughout this project to be shared with a wider audience. The GippsTAFE Online Learning Help Guides can be found at:

http://libguides.gippstafe.edu.au/friendly.php?s=onlinelearning

Project 2 – Using Video

This project investigated the use of video for teaching and learning in a range of situations.

A survey of a group of interested teachers identified some key areas to target. These were:

  • Communication
  • Instruction
  • Narrate presentation
  • Scenario/Case Study
  • Assessment

A range of equipment and software were trialled to identify convenient ways for teachers to capture and prepare video files to use with their students. The aim was to use software that was readily available to all GippsTAFE staff and to develop processes that were simple and not too time consuming. Apps for mobile devices were also investigated and some were identified that make it easier for both teachers and students to capture video at lower resolutions so the file size is more manageable.

A series of face to face training sessions were organised to show teachers how to use Windows Movie Maker and assist them to start on a project of their own. The presentations used in these sessions are available at:

https://innovation.gippstafe.edu.au/MovieMaker/

Whilst working on this project it quickly became evident that the wide range of video formats in current use made a one-size-fits-all solution difficult to achieve. Despite this we were able to work with a pilot group of teachers to trial a range of possible solutions.

  • Time was spent with teachers from the Building Studies department to help them better use existing video resources with their students.
  • A Diploma of Nursing teacher was assisted to create a successful video for use with her students and we expect to create more videos on a range of topics.
  • Teachers from the Business Studies department worked on two different projects to create videos for their courses.

Following this pilot phase a webinar was conducted to share this knowledge with the wider GippsTAFE community and it was pleasing to note that this webinar has sparked more interest in the use of video and ways to make teaching more interesting and interactive.

Click here for the webinar recording.

Project 3 – Virtual Classrooms

This project investigated a range of virtual classrooms currently available to assess their suitability for use at GippsTAFE. Of particular interest was the compatibility of these products with Moodle, the LMS used at GippsTAFE.

A pilot group of teachers, who currently use the virtual classroom, Blackboard Collaborate, were surveyed to find out which features they used most and which were most important to them. The results of this survey showed that GippsTAFE teachers require a virtual classroom that provides participants with a high degree of interactivity in particular the ability to type text onto an interactive whiteboard. The online sessions they conduct are more in the nature of a tutorial or discussion group rather than a lecture format.

Following this investigation members of the group were introduced to two virtual classrooms, Big Blue Button and Go To Meeting, to assess their usability and convenience. Webinars were conducted in each platform to demonstrate the various features. Discussion in these sessions allowed the teachers to share the strategies they currently use in online sessions with each other. Unfortunately the technology did not allow these sessions to be recorded.

Of the two virtual classroom trialled Big Blue Button was found to be the better option for GippsTAFE teachers rather than Go To Meeting. This was mostly due to the way it can be integrated into Moodle via the Training Virtual Campus. However the teachers found the degree of interactivity for the participants was not suitable for their requirements in either platform. In fact one teacher commented that if there was a change to Big Blue Button he would consider replacing his online tutorials with face to face sessions.

The results of this project indicate that GippsTAFE teachers currently deliver highly interactive online sessions using Blackboard Collaborate and that at this stage other platforms are not suitable for their needs. We understand that Big Blue Button continues to be developed and improved so we will monitor this and may consider it suitable in the future.

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During 2013 the Innovation Department at GippsTAFE has delivered six training webinars looking at features of Moodle and other online plaforms in use at GippsTAFE that will assist teachers to comply with reporting and auditing requirements. These sessions have all been recorded and the recordings can be accessed using the links below.

Webinar 1 – Starting off Right
• See how different departments set up their units and courses
• Hear about an online student induction
• Explore the reports available to demonstrate evidence of engagement

Webinar 2 – Assignment 2.3
• Learn about the new features of the Moodle assignment tool including the student declaration.
• Hear how this tool collects evidence for auditing purposes

Webinar 3 – Making the Most of Grades
• Hear how some departments use Moodle to track student progress
• Learn how to streamline grading using online grading forms or rubrics
• See how to replace numeric grading with a scale

Webinar 4 – Moodle Management
Explore ways Moodle can help you better manage your students using:
• Groups and Groupings
• Completion tracking
• Selective release

Webinar 5 – Evidence of Engagement Online
Explore the many ways to capture evidence of student engagement online using E-Tivities

Webinar 6 – Making the Most of Webinars
• Learn how to organise a webinar for your students
• Hear how to make your webinar more interesting and engaging
• See what reports are available to prove evidence of engagement

Please be patient when you click on the links above as these may take several minutes to download and begin playing.

It has been very exciting to be a part of this project that used iPads to deliver training to young learners with disabilities. We found that the use of mobile technologies increases the learners’ level of engagement and allows them to undertake activities that are suitable for their ability level. There is also the opportunity for them to move to new levels as their skills develop.

We found that it was important to use apps that were appropriate to the learners’ individual level of ability rather than worrying that the graphics might be too “babyish”. The learners were very supportive of each other in this respect but in a different group this could be an issue to consider.

This group found the iPads easy to use and because they are not bulky they are unobtrusive and still allow the learners to feel part of a group and focus on the teacher when necessary without being distracted by bulky screens and other equipment.

Click here to watch a video about this project and the learners’ achievements.

We have created this list of tips for other organisations and teachers who may wish to run a program similar to this. Here they are:

  • Start enrolment process earlier so there is time to gather ID
  • Start with a few apps and add to this each week so that learners are not overwhelmed to begin with and they have something new to engage in each week
  • Spend time in each of the apps before you use them in class so that you can answer any technical questions in class
  • Set up the administration part of the app before taking them into class – this can be time consuming but makes for a smoother class
  • Take photos each week for evidence of engagement
  • Teach students to take screen shots when they have completed tasks for evidence
  • Look for apps that have a reporting mechanism
  • Be mindful of American apps where the language may be different eg: money notes / bills
  • If using apps with voice you may need to spend time arranging the speed of voice so that it is easily understood
  • Look for apps with levels so that students can move through at their own pace
  • Use a combination of apps and teaching styles in each lesson to cater for all students
  • Purchase headphones so that each student can be listening to their own app
  • Spend time getting to know each student

The project VIC242 – Education Support a Pathway to Teaching was recently completed and was a voyage of discovery for all. Here is a summary of our findings.

The Education Support online program provided students with an innovative alternative to traditional paper-based workbooks. Students enjoyed the opportunity to interact with each other in the online space and found that participating in the discussion forum activities allowed them to learn from each other.

The online activities that were set up allowed students to explore the topics in a variety of ways; students were encouraged to use the internet to search for content and examples to share with the group as well as reflect on their own experiences. This variety ensured students with different learning styles were engaged by the program and provided scaffolding for them to move their learning to a higher level.

The teachers involved also found that the program enjoyable. They liked interacting with the students online and enjoyed reading and assessing the wide variety of responses to each of the learning activities.

This model could provide efficiencies for GippsTAFE by combining students from different courses who are studying common units of competency.

Click here to hear more about this project.

We have created this list of tips for other organisations and teachers who may wish to run a program similar to this. Here they are:

  • The delivery model could be adapted to a range of courses and teaching situations
  • Work out a facilitation plan for the teachers so they know what to do and when, this can include when to post announcements and when to contact students who are falling behind
  • Start the move to online learning by targeting specific units of competency from a course, set these up online then add more units as the teachers develop the necessary skills and have time available
  • Spend time and energy fostering the development of an online community
  • Include an orientation period/week
  • Support teachers by having regular meetings with a mentor experienced in the area of online delivery (In this project this was a member of the GippsTAFE Innovation Department)
  • Set up an electronic spread sheet with student names and contact details to facilitate group e-mails and efficient communication (This was used for all sorts of purposes not just for the online group. It is a practice that will be continued in the future)
  • Provide an Online Communication Hub as a way for students to communicate and support each other
  • Combine groups of students when units of competency are used in several courses
  • Take the time to develop clear and simple instructions for each activity

GippsTAFE is currently delivering training to a group of learners in South Gippsland who have a disability. This training forms part of the project funded under the National VET E-Learning Strategy, E-Learning for Participation and Skills.

The training is now under way and the learners are making good progress and, more importantly, they are having a lot of fun using a range of apps on their iPads.

PuppetPals has proved to be a popular app and is a great way of improving the learners’ literacy skills.

Lisa Kuhne has organised the training program and is currently delivering the training sessions. She has found that using iPad apps alongside traditional worksheets and group work is a successful mix. The learners are engaged and happy with their learning. Apps that include levels to pass are proving to be the most successful as the sense of achievement felt when a new level is passed provides great motivation to the learners.

groupVic215
 Some of the students at a recent training session.

Lisa reported the following achievements from this weeks session:

  • One learner completed 17 levels of a maths app and was incredibly proud. He refused to take a break as he wanted to keep going.
  • Another learner, usually very hard to engage, worked for over half an hour on a money recognition app.
  • The money recognition app was popular with another learner but he had lots of trouble adding up money so next week we are going to give him actual coins to work alongside the app.
  • One learner with more advanced skills took it upon herself to do further investigation of apps to find ones that would challenge her further.
  • Another learner was so motivated  that he would not stop for a break as he wanted to continue on his maths app. He reached level 7 today which was a huge effort.

ePortfolios in Mahara

Posted: November 11, 2012 in Projects, Training
Tags: ,

Recently GippsTAFE staff members attended a training session to introduce them to the use of Mahara ePortfolios. The session focussed on  the use of ePortfolios as a way for students to gather evidence of their skills and  experiences and present this for the purpose of Recognition of Prior Learning assessments or to document tasks undertaken by apprentice or trainees in the work place.

The concept of creating views that could be used as templates for specific purposes was also discussed as well as how to use ePortfolios as evidence of engagement for auditing purposes.

Staff were encouraged to create their own ePortfolio as a way of exploring the tool and its application to their individual teaching needs.

The presentation for these sessions can be found at:
Introducing Mahara Presentation

A webinar for a group of students was also conducted. During the webinar students were shown how to:

  •  Add information to their Mahara profile
  • Complete their online resume
  • Upload files
  • Create and share views

A recording of the webinar can be found at:
Webinar recording

eLearning Forum

Posted: October 17, 2012 in Events, Training
Tags: , ,

Recently GippsTAFE, in partnership with Monash University, conducted an eLearning Forum at the GippsTAFE Academy in Traralgon. The forum was a face to face event and was attended by over 80 people. While many of the audience came from GippsTAFE and Monash Universtiy it was a pleasure to welcome participants from a range of organisations including secondary colleges, other TAFE colleges and private industry. The forum was the latest event in the joint professional development series organised by Monash University and GippsTAFE’s Innovation Department.

The eLearning Forum featured speakers from GippsTAFE and Monash University along with an extended workshop with internationally recognised eLearning expert Professor Gilly Salmon, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Swinburne University of Technology.

Below is a summary of the various session conducted during the day:

SHOWCASE – LEARNING AND TEACHING INNOVATION
Mitch Hughes  (Lead Educational Designer, Monash Virtual Learning Environment Program)

During this session Mitch explored the diversity of teaching approaches within Monash University and demonstrated a range of techniques a teacher can use to make their online teaching platform, in this case Moodle 2, more engaging for their students.

Mitch Hughes Presentation

DISCOVERING GOOGLE APPS FOR EDUCATION
Samantha Garrett (Business Analyst, Google Product Specialist, eSolutions, Monash University)

Samantha discussed the use of Google Apps as a way to enhance online communication and collaboration. She demonstrated how Google Apps can be used in the classroom.

Samantha Garrett Presentation

FACILITATING IN SYNCHRONOUS ELEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
Brad Beach (Manager, Innovation and International Programs GippsTAFE)

Brad’s presentation highlighted the key criteria to consider when selecting a synchronous elearning environment. He also discussed critical aspects of planning and designing a virtual classroom session and provided an understanding of the types of learning activities which are most suited to a synchronous environment as opposed to an asynchronous space.

Brad Beach Presentation

HARNESSING TECHNOLOGY… AND WINNING HANDS DOWN
Professor Gilly Salmon (Pro Vice-Chancellor, Learning Transformations, Swinburne University of Technology)

Gilly’s presentation was in two parts. The first part looked at elearning from a broad perspective and discussed the key stages in the development of an online community. During the second part of the presentation Gilly gave some terrific examples of online activities (e-tivities) including practical strategies that ensure maximum student engagement.

Prof Gilly Salmon Presentation 1

Prof Gilly Salmon Presentation 2