(October 14 – 16, 2014)
Participants from Wawasan Open University were trained on how to facilitate and assess learning in online courses during a workshop held at the main campus over three days.
The workshop on “OER-based eLearning online facilitation and assessment” was conducted by Dr. Som Naidu from Monash University, Australia. Of the total 22 participants, 19 were from WOU’s academic Schools, Library and the Educational Technology & Publishing (ETP) unit, and three from DISTED College and Universiti Sains Malaysia.
The workshop involved examining the learning outcomes of the five modules of the OER-based eLearning course, developing assessment criteria in line with the learning outcomes, and moderating discussion in an online learning environment. Participants in the workshop explored strategies for supporting students, and how and when to provide feedback to online learners.
This was a hands-on experience in which participants engaged in online role play activities by taking part in simulation exercises for better understanding of online moderation. It involved groups of participants posting comments to issues raised as ‘students’ on WOU’s learning management system (Moodle), while a member moderated the discussion with the student-moderator roles being reversed in a subsequent activity.
According to Dr. Naidu, the workshop was designed to achieve three goals. Firstly, there was the need to orient new staff to the five modules of the OER-based eLearning course that has been developed with the support of CEMCA and WOU over the last 18 months. This course has already been run once with a small number of learners earlier this year on a trial basis and the next step is to scale it up and run it again with larger intakes. In order to serve as tutors and moderators of those modules in subsequent offerings of the course, workshop participants needed to understand the modules.
“Secondly, participants needed to understand a little bit about assessment and providing feedback to learners online. And thirdly, we wanted to upskill participants on providing moderation and facilitation in the online environment. So apart from preparing workshop participants to become moderators and facilitators for the OER-based eLearning course, it also served to prepare them for moderating and facilitating online courses more generally,” he added.