Transferring that f2f magic to the online environment at OEB14

Yesterday I ran a workshop with Jeff Stanford at Online Educa Berlin. Participants came along with an existing course that they wanted to convert from face-to-face delivery mode into either blended or fully online learning. The course topics in the room ranged from business through family mediation to, intriguingly, swing dancing… (Oliver, the swing dance teacher, will be at the OEB anniversary celebration dinner tonight, leading us all in the face-to-face version of his course!)

Our aim was to transfer the ‘magic’ that exists in face-to-face teaching into the online or blended learning environment. There was great participation from the group, as can be seen from the photos – with thanks to the participants for giving their permission.

In the morning participants looked at the highlights of the courses in their current face-to-face form, and brainstormed ways in which they could transfer those highlights into the online version of their courses, and possibly even improve on the classroom experience – especially in terms of enabling deep interaction between learners. We discussed the possibilities of various tools both within the LMS/VLE, and on the open Web, and considered when it might be appropriate to use them.

A lot of hard work was done on storyboarding the designs for the new, online versions of the courses  in the afternoon. (If you’re at the conference and are interested in the concept of storyboarding for learning design, storyboarding supremo Gilly Salmon will be running a hands-on session with Janet Gregory on Friday morning.) Participants chose whether to use the big, bold, colourful technology of a flipchart sheet with coloured sticky notes, or a colour-coded spreadsheet template for storyboarding. (Template available in Google Spreadsheets here. Also see example of a storyboard, which is work-in-progress for the OOC on Storyboarding. More examples to come in different formats soon, including Lino.it and Popplet – I’ll blog on those in the coming weeks.)

A few more links from the workshop:

  • Workshop handouts available here as OERs.
  • The Google Doc with participants’ ‘burning questions‘, which also includes a list of LMSs and web-conferencing tools used by participants, and some URLs added by participants during the day. We found it really useful having a running Google Doc live throughout the session, so that as questions or answers arose, people could add them there, and as suggestions were made of useful tools/ technologies, they could all be captured. It’s a great record for everyone to take away.
  • Jacob Christensen’s blog – he blogged about the workshop and promised he would be live-blogging all the sessions he attends at OEB.

Post script: I was interested to hear from Joanne Roxburgh of Kaplan that in her instructional design context, the term storyboarding is used to refer to the creation of a script for the content that is to be authored – quite a different meaning from the idea of a storyboard as a plan for the whole course, showing the alignment between learning outcomes, assessment, learning activities and content. This was a good reminder to always clarify terminology at the start of a session!

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About Gabi Witthaus

Open educator. Learning and Teaching Facilitator for School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University. Consultant & blogger at Art of E-learning. Previously Research Associate at University of Leicester (Beyond Distance Research Alliance and Institute of Learning Innovation); Distance Learning Manager at Bradford University School of Management. Masters in Training and Development (USQ, Australia); Masters in English Education (Wits University, South Africa). PhD in Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement through Lancaster University - in progress.
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