About 18 staff from the four Academic Schools and the Educational Technology
and Publishing Unit of Wawasan Open University attended a nine-day training
workshop for the in-house Certificate Course on Open and Distance Learning (ODL),
which ended on June 29.
The three course modules of training focused on Designing ODL Materials,
ODL Instructional Design, and on Use and Integration of Media.
They were conducted by Dr David Murphy, a veteran distance educator and
Visiting Fellow, at the WOU main campus. The modules are part of the seven
modules of training developed by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL).
For Designing ODL Materials, Dr Murphy looked into topics like
instructional design and curriculum development; identifying target audience
and writing aims and objectives; developing a study guide; learner support
systems; and managing materials development production and distribution.
On the subject of ODL Instructional Design, he facilitated
discussions on how to create ODL materials for learning. He covered areas on
planning an ODL course and writing a unit of learning for standalone
materials and OER; writing for the web; language, writing style and layout;
and quality assurance system.
The participants were divided into small groups to get first-hand practical
knowledge on how to write specific instructions for particular student types
of WOU. They also looked at what questions to reflect upon when reviewing
course materials, so that the final product is reader-friendly, engaging,
and accomplishes its learning objectives. The groups also presented a topic
each, which enabled the more experienced colleagues to work with newer staff
members in developing necessary skills.
The final module by Dr Murphy related to Use and Integration Media.
This included media applications; identification of OER media materials and
its integration; issues in distance delivery; and learner support systems.
He examined the use of the web and Internet in ODL, with a focus on Moodle
as WOU’s learning management system. Each participant was tasked to locate
an effective online, copyright-free teaching resource to share with others.
The sessions were highly interactive as Dr Murphy led the participants to
connect with related distance education experts in the field via Skype. In
particular, Prof Jim Taylor from Australia spoke about OER University, Prof
Terry Anderson from Canada answered questions about his article on the three
generations of distance learning, and Prof Martin Waller from the United
Kingdom shared his enthusiasm for educational technology in general and OER
The in-house training workshops offering the seven modules are organised by
WOU’s Human Resource Department for the university’s academic and academic
support staff, with a certificate issued upon completion.