Posts Tagged ‘training’

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.

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:

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:

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.


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.

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:

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

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

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

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

Recently the GippsTAFE Innovation Department delivered a training program to introduce the virtual classroom, Blackboard Collaborate, to a group of new online facilitators. The emphasis of the training was to develop skills based on a collaborative approach to learning so that these new facilitators would be able to conduct virtual classroom sessions that actively engaged the participants. The online facilitators involved in the training are acting in a peer support role so they did not come to the training with a great deal of experience in facilitating a learning group.

The training was a mix of face to face and online. The introductory session was face to face and explored the notion of online learning and how important it is for students to actively engage in the online space to maximise their learning. This session also included information on the various tools available in Blackboard Collaborate and discussion on how these tools can be used to engage the group.

In preparation for the online component of the training participants were given the opportunity to login to Blackboard Collaborate so that any technical problems could be identified and resolved prior to the actual session.

The facilitators were aged in their 20s. They approached the new technology with confidence expecting that the technology would work and that they would instinctively know how to use it. While they may not have previously used a virtual classroom they were experienced online communicators having previously used instant messaging and VoIP services, such as Skype. This attitude contrasts to older users who may require more encouragement and support when they first use new technology such as a virtual classroom.

The second session was conducted in the virtual classroom, Blackboard Collaborate. The participants first engaged in some learning activities which allowed them to see how some of the tools worked and provided a basis for discussion about how these tools could be used to engage their learner groups. During the second part of the session each person had the opportunity to act the part of facilitator and conduct a short online activity with the rest of the group acting as their students. This gave them the opportunity to see the interface from the perspectives of both a learner and a facilitator.

The emphasis of this session was not how to make the virtual classroom work but how to use it to engage their learner group and promote participation and collaborative learning. It was interesting to see how readily the group adapted to the virtual classroom needing little or no instruction about how to use the interface.

The new online facilitators were quick to put their new learning into practice and commenced their weekly peer support sessions without delay. Initial feedback indicated that the facilitators adopted practices that they felt comfortable with and thought most suitable for their learner group. One facilitator opted to use multiple microphones so that all participants could speak whenever they wanted to as this group preferred speaking to writing on the white board.

This same facilitator was impatient with the time it took for her to download Blackboard Collaborate comparing it to Skype which was already installed on her computer so opened instantly. She initially expressed a degree of frustration and questioned the value of using the more sophisticated platform for her sessions. It will be interesting to follow up on this to see how she feels as the program progresses.

As a follow up the GippsTAFE trainers sat in on a session for each of the new facilitators. It was noted that although each facilitator adopted their own style when it came to managing their sessions they all incorporated a range of activities that encouraged engagement and participation. They had adapted some of the sample activities from their training sessions and made them relevant to their group and the subject matter of their unit and used more than one mode of communication within the virtual classroom.

The GippsTAFE Innovation Department prides itself on supporting GippsTAFE teachers and students in the use of new technologies. A range of online learning help guides have been created to assist Blackboard Collaborate users and the new facilitators and their learners were encouraged to use these when necessary. These guides can be found at: