eLearning at Mount Royal stays face-to-face with students

On Feb. 19, 2013 Mount Royal faculty will showcase new and innovative ways they are incorporating Mount Royal's face-to-face brand into online courses.

On Feb. 19, 2013 Mount Royal faculty will showcase new and innovative ways they are incorporating the Mount Royal's face-to-face brand into online courses.

This collaborative, round-table initiative will bring together some of the University's brightest minds. Faculty will share their experiences with eLearning and blended learning initiatives, establish best practices and set benchmarks to build upon - addressing the misconception that students are on their own if they take online courses.

The showcase, facilitated by the Academic Development Centre (ADC) and the Faculty of Health and Community Studies, will be an opportunity for faculty to engage each other and translate best practices into online environments.

"What eLearning at Mount Royal is really about is capturing the essence of the face-to-face brand that we are known for and translating it into an online environment. By leveraging technologies available to us, we are creating online learning communities that facilitate engagement, interaction and collaboration," says Pattie Mascaro, instructional design consultant with the ADC in the Faculty of Teaching and Learning.

Taking the driver's seat to learning

With the wide array of new technologies available to Mount Royal faculty who are developing online delivery of course materials, the preconceptions of disengaged students taking online courses are a thing of the past. The ADC assists in the development of courses as well as technology awareness and support.

In fact, delivering online courses sheds many of the structural constraints of traditional classroom delivery.

"Many students are taking more active control of their learning and many favour the flexibility offered from online courses as they juggle work and family responsibilities," says Mascaro.

"There are many myths around the online courses," says Marianne Rogerson, PhD, assistant professor of Advanced Specialty Health Studies in the Faculty of Health and Community Studies. "There is this misconception that students in online courses are given a course pack and sent out on their own, never seeing their professor or other students and thinking the course will be boring."

Interactive online learning

With new technologies and platforms available online, there is plenty of room for interactivity and collaboration while remaining in the realm of eLearning - this is where Mount Royal's dedication to creating a face-to-face learning experience really shines.

Rogerson developed her course, Studies of Aging, for online delivery and has received positive feedback in regards to student engagement.

"Some students who may not normally speak up in a classroom setting become much more engaged when they have the ability to review materials before responding, perhaps because they feel more protected in an online environment," says Rogerson.

Coming together to enhance education

As the ways students learn evolves and technologies to facilitate these delivery methods become more readily available, there is tremendous opportunity for faculty to collaborate and share ideas to ensure that the best learning options are available.

"It's important to recognize as faculty that student learning evolves over time as their need for engagement changes," says Mascaro."We are hoping that this event will act as a platform for dialogue between faculty that will spark creativity and facilitate some idea generation supporting the integration between online and classroom delivery."

To learn more about the world of eLearning pop down to the showcase where there will be roundtable sessions facilitated by faculty members that will provide insight on creating course content for online delivery and leveraging various technologies to ensure the best student experience.

There will also be a variety of poster sessions with various faculty showcasing some of their experiences in unique displays focused on various elements of eLearning and blended delivery of courses.

Brendan Greenslade - Jan. 31, 2013