Semester 2 course uplift: Getting support for the transformation of VE courses to flexible delivery

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With the closure of RMIT campuses due to Covid-19 restrictions in March, there was a massive push to quickly move courses online for remote delivery to students situated overseas, interstate, and locally. This was a huge undertaking for teachers and program managers to merge synchronous (e.g., real-time online lectures) and asynchronous (e.g., activities students could complete on their own time) learning and teaching methods in a very short amount of time. 

As part of this rapid transition, the VE design team worked in coordination with Studios and other departments to support teachers by providing them with the information they needed to get their content and assessments up on Canvas. This included helping teachers to setup and host online lectures/tutorials, uploading a variety of learning materials, and devise work-around solutions for previously taught face-to-face learning activities, demos, and labs. The VE Essentials  and Flexible Delivery websites were created as starting reference points for teachers looking for teaching, tech, and tool resources. Additionally, training and PD sessions were offered, and teachers were encouraged to ask questions and share their experiences through Yammeronline chats, emails, one-on-one phone/video calls, and online drop-in sessions. 

With the closure of campuses extending from weeks to months to possibly the rest of 2020, a QC Framework review of all VE Semester 1 courses was conducted at the end of AprilCourses were evaluated across seven dimensions: 

  1. clarity of instructions given to students in Canvas 
  2. presentation and accessibility to the course content (e.g., online lectures, recordings, and PowerPoint slides) 
  3. type of learning materials available (e.g., embedded or link-outs to library or external resources) 
  4. use of learning activities for students to practice developing skills and knowledge 
  5. teacher contact and availability details 
  6. student engagement and collaboration through regular announcements, queries section, and activities 
  7. viability of assessments in remote delivery. 

The purpose of this review was to determine how well courses had been converted to a flexible delivery mode and when coupled with an analysis of the most frequently asked questions by teachers, provided insight into diversity and range of teacher skills, understanding, and comfort working with Canvas and associated tools. From here, key areas where we could provide greater support to teachers were identified. 

  • Course/content structure and instruction. 
  • Presentation and accessibility of learning resources. 
  • Use and integration of learning activities. 
  • Ways to encourage student engagement and collaboration. 

These key areas are important as flexible delivery will continue to drive the rest of the academic year with the university carefully staging how campuses will reopen to students and staff in the coming months. The lead up to Semester 2 is an opportunity to reflect and refine the time pressured changes teachers had to make to get their Semester 1 courses over the line.  

As part of this step towards applying lessons learned to support the transformation of VE courses to flexible delivery, Guidelines for Semester 2 Course Uplift  are now being released to coincide with teacher preparations of next semester’s courses. Over the month of June, teachers can access tips and links covering the four key areas or attend one of six online drop-in sessions with a Senior Learning Designer and Senior Multimedia Designer to address specific needs. 

You can check out these guidelines here, starting with course/content structure and instruction. It includes links to a Single Unit of Competency Canvas Shell template for building a new course or to merge with an existing one, practical examples to refer to, copy-and-paste instructions as guides on how to direct students through course content, and a schedule for the drop-in sessions. 

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