Topic outline

  • General

  • Course Introduction - Teaching in a Digital Age

    Introduction

    Dr. Tony Bates “Teaching in a Digital Age” provides theoretical as well as practical tips to improve the quality of teaching and learning in campus-based, blended, or fully online learning environments. This short course offered by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is based on the highly popular book “Teaching in a Digital Age” by Dr. Tony Bates, online learning Guru and author of eleven books in the field of online learning and distance education. He has provided consulting services specializing in training in the planning and management of online learning and distance education, working with over 40 organizations in 25 countries. Tony is a Research Associate with Contact North | Contact Nord, Ontario’s Distance Education & Training Network.

    On the request of COL, Dr. Bates prepared 12 video lectures around his book, Teaching in a Digital Age. These videos were recorded using online tools and prepared during the COVID19 crisis. While these videos are available on YouTube, we used these to create a course for giving an experience of a micro-learning course. 

    Since you have chosen to go through this course, we suggest you read this section carefully. In this course,  you will get an overview of the skills needed in the digital age, methods of teaching and learning, choice of media for teaching online, quality issues in online learning, theories of learning, trends in open learning, open educational resources (OER), massive open online courses (MOOCs) and emerging technologies, such as AR/VR, among others. While the book covers in depth on many of these topics, this course is primarily based on the videos and interactive quizzes to provide an orientation and to encourage you to go through the resources and work on the activities.

    Please Note: While we have used the videos of Dr. Tony Bates and his open textbook as the resources for this course, the presentation is not necessarily endorsed by him. The presentation and design of the course have been done by Dr. Sanjaya Mishra, Education Specialist, eLearning at Commonwealth of Learning. This is an example of  rapid online learning using open educational resources. The approach adopted here is simple and test. We encourage you to adopt more collaborative and discussion oriented approach while developing courses for a specific cohort.  

    Course Objectives

    Upon completion of this course, you are expected to be able to:

    • Understand the nature of the knowledge that results in different approaches to teaching
    • Decide on whether your courses should be face-to-face, blended or fully online using the science and research on teaching
    • Understand the changing demographics of learners in the digital age and design courses and learner support according to their needs
    • Apply the best strategies when teaching in a technology-rich environment
    • Use the most effective methods of teaching for blended and online classes
    • Make choices among all the available media, whether text, audio, video, computer, or social media, in order to benefit your students and the subject you teach
    • Maintain high quality in teaching in a rapidly changing learning environment while managing your workload
    • Explore the possibilities for teaching and learning using MOOCs, OER, open textbooks
    • Consider the use of emerging technologies, wherever possible

    Course Progress and Certificate

    Kindly note that this is a self-paced course and there is no specific support. In order to complete the courses, we suggest you to do the following:

    • Watch the videos (12) carefully (as many times as you like) embedded in the beginning of each of the lessons
    • Attempt the Knowledge Check Questions in each of the 12 lessons
    • Complete the Final Test

    Those who receive 80% on average of all the 12 lesson Knowledge Check Exercises and the Final Test shall be eligible to receive a Certificate.

    Optional Activities

    We have reused the texts from the book – Teaching in a Digital Age (available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International Licenses) to help your further read and learn. While this is optional, we strongly recommend you to do so, and also attempt the activities, wherever they are. 

    Course Contact

    If you have any concern or question about this course, please send email to tel@col.org.

  • Lesson 1 - Skills Needed in a Digital Age

    Introduction:

    Welcome to this lesson on core digital skills that are required in today’s digital age. In this lesson, we will learn about the growing importance of skill development, needs of the modern digital society, and different types of skills. This lesson will give you a comprehensive overview of developing skills and measuring skills. You will in fact learn about the skills and the learning outcomes along with rethinking teaching and learning.

    Objectives:

    Objectives

    Upon completion of this lesson, you are expected to be able to:

    • Identify the difference between content and skills
    • List some of the core digital skills
    • Explain the methods to teach skills successfully
    • Understand the special role of online learning in skill development


    Book: 1Quiz: 1
  • Lesson 2 - Online Learning and Teaching Methods

    Introduction:

    Welcome to this lesson on online learning and teaching methods. This lesson explains when and how to accept an approach for integrating openness in the design and delivery of learning. But still, there has been much debate about the advantages and disadvantages of online learning and distance education in terms of quality. So, teachers and instructors must choose the delivery modes properly. As teaching is migrating to more online and digital methods, we must clearly analyze face-to-face teaching through the student demographics, which helps in deciding whether to offer a particular course as either campus-based or fully online.

    Objectives:

    Objectives


    Upon completion of this lesson, you are expected to be able to:

    • Determine the most appropriate mode of delivery for any course or program you wish to offer
    • Determine what factors would influence your decision on mode of delivery
    • Identify the role of classroom teaching when students can now increasingly study most things online

    Book: 1Quiz: 1
  • Lesson 3 - Implementing Online Learning

    Introduction:

    Welcome to this lesson on implementing online learning. The lesson mainly focuses on detailing the technological advancements that serve as an alternative to performing the fundamental human activity without any intervention. It can be achieved through some practical guidelines for teachers and instructors to ensure quality teaching along with the role of a teacher or instructor in the digital age.

    Objectives:

    Upon completion of this lesson, you are expected to be able to:

    • Understand the nature and role of media and technologies in education and use these technologies appropriately
    • Recognize the need for professional development and training in teaching and define your own needs
    • Recognize the role and importance of learning technology support systems
    • Develop a team approach to teach large classes
    • Understand the need for institutional strategy to support teaching and learning in the digital age
    • Implement the changes within your organization to ensure that quality teaching is properly supported


    Book: 1Quiz: 1
  • Lesson 4 - Understanding the Learners

    Introduction:

    Welcome to this lesson on understanding the learners. In this lesson, you will learn about the older, part-time, and isolated, often less confident learners in the digital age. This lesson will highlight the need for manageable 'chunks' of work, regular feedback, and Internet access.

    Objectives:

    Objectives

    Upon completion of this lesson, you are expected to be able to:

    • Identify the different types of learners in the digital age
    • Explain the need for manageable 'chunks' of work
    • Identify how to regularly provide feedback
    • Understand the variable internet access

    Book: 1Quiz: 1
  • Lesson 5 - Theories of Learning

    Introduction:

    Welcome to this lesson on theories of learning which discuss different beliefs about the nature of knowledge, and how that influences teaching and learning. Here, five perspectives on teaching are examined and related to epistemologies and theories of learning, with a particular emphasis on their relevance to a digital age. This lesson describes the increasing influence of online learning for both classroom/campus-based teaching as it leads to new models or designs for teaching and learning.

    Objective:

    Objectives

    Upon completion of this lesson, you are expected to be able to:

    • Recognize your own epistemological/philosophical position that determines the way you are currently teaching
    • Describe in broad terms the main theories of learning and discuss their implications for teaching
    • Identify different levels and types of learning and decide which is most appropriate for your subject area/students
    • Discuss the general strengths and weaknesses of different methods of teaching on campus
    • Decide which model or combination of models will fit best for online/ blended teaching in your own context

    Book: 1Quiz: 1
  • Lesson 6 - Learner Support

    Introduction:

    Welcome to this lesson on learner support. In this lesson, you will learn about the need for a clear workload, regular feedback, and tutors or main instructor presence. This lesson will give you a comprehensive overview of designing the course structure and learning activities. We will in fact learn about the instructor presence.

    Objectives:

    Objectives

    Upon completion of this lesson, you are expected to be able to:

    • Understand the need for clear workload, regular feedback, and instructor presence
    • Explain the forms of assistance to the learners
    • List the institutional or organizational requirements for different types of learning
    • Identify the methods to structure a blended learning course

    Book: 1Quiz: 1
  • Lesson 7 - Choosing Media

    Introduction:

    Welcome to this lesson on choosing media, which focuses primarily on the pedagogical differences among different types of media. The lesson provides a model or set of criteria to use when making decisions about media and technology for teaching. The main purpose of this lesson is to provide a framework for making effective decisions about the choice and use of media for teaching and learning.

    Objectives:

    Objectives

    Upon completion of this lesson, you are expected to be able to:
    • Understand the difference between media and technologies in educational contexts
    • Identify the main pedagogical characteristics of different media
    • Appropriately use media according to their pedagogical roles
    • Apply SECTIONS model for making effective decisions about the choice and use of media for teaching and learning

    Book: 1Quiz: 1
  • Lesson 8 - Assessment Strategies

    Introduction:

    Welcome to this lesson on assessment strategies. This lesson mainly focuses on the pressures that are mounting on post-secondary institutions to change, particularly about the way they deliver and assess one of their core activities, that is, teaching. When it comes to student assessment, we are mostly focused on the pen and paper tests or at best we talk of practical examinations. In the online learning scenario, we can adopt a range of alternative assessments that is the core of this lesson.

    Objectives:

    Objectives

    Upon completion of this lesson, you are expected to be able to:

    • Identify the new ways and methods of assessment of student learning online

    • Select appropriate strategies for student assessment in your course

    Book: 1Quiz: 1
  • Lesson 9 - Quality Teaching in a Digital Age

    Introduction: 

    Welcome to this lesson on quality in teaching in the digital age, which is intended to provide some practical guidelines for teachers and instructors to ensure quality teaching in the digital age. 

    Objectives:

    Objectives

    Upon completion of this lesson, you are expected to be able to:

    • Define quality in terms of teaching in the digital age
    • Determine what are your preferred approaches in teaching and learning
    • Decide what mode of delivery is most appropriate for any course you design or teach
    • Understand why teamwork is essential for effective teaching in the digital age
    • Make the best use of existing resources for any course
    • Choose and use the right technology and tools to support your learning
    • Set appropriate learning goals for teaching in the digital age
    • Design an appropriate course structure and set of learning activities
    • Know when and how to communicate with learners
    • Evaluate your teaching, make necessary improvements and improve your teaching through further innovation

    Book: 1Quiz: 1
  • Lesson 10 - Trends in Open Learning

    Introduction:

    Welcome to this lesson on trends in open learning. In this lesson, we will learn about access and cost barriers. This lesson will give you a comprehensive overview on how to use the open educational resources (OER). We will also discuss about open pedagogy, which encourages open educational practice.

    Objectives:

    Objectives

    Upon completion of this lesson, you are expected to be able to:

    • Explain how your role as an instructor is likely to change the developments in open learning
    • Identify the use of open educational resources (OER)
    • Determine how to maximize the use of digital materials once created, in terms of the design of courses

    Book: 1Quiz: 1
  • Lesson 11 - Massive Open Online Courses

    Introduction:

    Welcome to this lesson on massive open online courses (MOOCs). In this lesson, we will learn about the differences between various kinds of MOOCs. You will in fact learn about the differences between MOOCs and other forms of online and open learning courses. This lesson will give you a comprehensive overview of pedagogical issues around the development and administrative issues of investments in MOOCs. It has been claimed that MOOCs are the most disruptive of all technologically based innovations in higher education, and as a result, are the most controversial.

    Objectives:

    Objectives

    Upon completion of this lesson, you are expected to be able to:

    • Understand the differences between various kinds of MOOCs
    • Differentiate between MOOCs and other forms of online and open learning courses
    • Identify whether or not to develop your own special kind of MOOCs
    • Advise your administration on whether or not to invest in MOOCs

    Book: 1Quiz: 1
  • Lesson 12 - Emerging Technologies

    Introduction:

    Welcome to this lesson on emerging technologies for teaching and learning. The lesson mainly focuses serious games, AR/VR and Artificial Intelligence and their  potential affordances, advantages, and disadvantages. 

    Objectives:

    Objectives

    Upon completion of this lesson, you are expected to be able to:

    • Understand the significance of the constantly emerging new technologies in educational applications
    • Explain the recent technological developments that helped to use series games and virtual reality 
    • Identify the different possible areas to apply artificial intelligence (AI) in education
    • Recognize the potential of new technologies to influence teaching and learning in the digital age

    Book: 1Quiz: 1