Monday, 27 July 2009

Face-to-face to Online - A Process

I've been way behind on my blog reading but have been learning loads converting a face-to-face course into an online one. My key learning point from the last couple of week is not to underestimate the time and effort it takes to do this. Overall, it's very rewarding. This is especially true as the lecturer I am working with is receptive to the process and happy to learn about everything that's an offer. I thought I'd record here the process we have gone through so far:

- I learn about the course
- I demonstrate the organisation VLE we are supposed to be using
- We decide where to house the course - The VLE with Web 2.0 linked in where necessary
- We talk through the activities used on each face-to-face day. Each activity is unpicked and I suggest and demonstrate the options available online
- I set up the course online
- Timings are set and activities are edited

Actually, we haven't finished and the last 3 points are currently being worked up through several iterations. Much of the time is taken with distilling the activity to what's most important and addressing that above everything else. Another big issues is ensuring making it right timing-wise. At the heart of this issue is transferring the synchronous to asynchronous. It sounds straightforward to try and replicate any face-to-face discussion online in a forum of some sort. You could do the odd one synchronously but largely this will need to be asynchronous and with any asynchronous discussion you need to give it time to develop. I favour two weeks for any subject but one week often has to do. So, if you have 4 discussions during 1 face-to-face day and you want to keep all of these online, you will need 4 weeks at least. Hopefully, timeframes are not as pressing as time spent - which needs to be comparable with face-to-face. All this needs to be carefully thought through.

One of the other main things I am trying to do is mix things up and use a wide a range of Web 2.0 tools as possible. You shouldn't really do things for the sake of it so I'm trying to ensure suitability and appropriateness. However, there is an evangelical element to it. I want people to experience a new learning tool to show how good it is! Show how easy it is! It makes it harder to be tied to a less than impressive VLE but they are getting better as they cobble together some Web 2.0-like tools to keep up with the real world and I can link to outside tools easily.

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