Teaching and Learning with Technology: Pushing boundaries and breaking down walls

The Centre for Flexible Learning hosted a series of activities during the week of 2-6 March to celebrate Open Education Week 2020. One of the major events for the week was the launch of an open-access publication titled: Teaching and Learning with Technology: Pushing boundaries and breaking down walls. The book contains eleven chapters highlighting research undertaken by several staff members and students of the University of the South Pacific on the influences of online and digitally enhanced learning and teaching at the university. To download a copy of the book, please click here.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor, Flexible Learning and Director, Centre for Flexible Learning, Professor Som Naidu welcomed and addressed more than 60 participants to the book launch that included the authors,  senior management team, faculty heads, representatives from schools, staff from various departments as well as students. In addressing the participants, Professor Naidu spoke about the goals of open education initiatives, open access, open learning and open scholarship.

This was followed with further exploration of the concept Open Education Resources (OER) by Mr. Deepak Bhartu (Open Education Design Architect). Mr. Bhartu explained what OERs meant and discussed the various forms of Creative Commons Licenses available.

Afterwards, Professor Naidu gave an overview of the book from its genesis to its publication. He stated that the book captures the scholarship of teaching and learning where the contributors explored and investigated the current research and practices in the field of technology-enhanced learning.  The contributions in the book captures the engagement of practitioners in this process.

The highlight of the event was the presentations by the authors themselves, who gave brief accounts of their experience. These included:

  • Mr. Eroni Racule (Centre for Flexible Learning): Evaluating students’ perceptions of blended learning;
  • Dr. Nicholas Halter (School of Social Sciences, FALE): Engaging with living histories;
  • Pita Tuisawau (Centre for Flexible Learning): Collaborative reading online with Perusall;
  •  Mr. Krishan Kumar (School of Computing, Information and Mathematical Sciences, FSTE): Use of  peer assessment for formative assessments in large classes in higher education institutes;
  • Dr. Rajni Chand (School of Language, Arts and Media, FALE): “It rains a lot here”: Online assessments versus Mother Nature;
  • Dr. Irene Yee Chief (Centre for Flexible Learning): Supporting flexible assessment of competencies with ePortfolios;
  • Mr. Evan Naqiolevu (Centre for Flexible Learning): Researching learning and teaching technologies for flexible learning;
  • Ms Tilisi Bryce (School of Language, Arts and Media, FALE): Supporting the transition to tertiary studies: How students engage with academic literacy;
  • Mr. Sarvesh Chand and Mr. Divnesh Prasad (School of Engineering and Physics, FSTE): Providing equal educational opportunities with a technology-based scholarship platform.

The Pro-Chancellor, Mr Winston Thompson, a keen advocate of the adoption of technology-enhanced learning and teaching as well as the scholarship of teaching, also attended the event. In his remarks following the presentations, Chancellor Thompson congratulated Professor Naidu and his team for spearheading the Technology-enhanced Learning (TeL) initiative at USP. He also commended the authors of the book for their presentations, and their work in supporting the University Council’s responsibilities and aspirations for promoting best practices in learning and teaching throughout our region as innovatively as much as possible.

The book was formally launched by the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, Professor Jito Vanualailai who stated that the research undertaken and reported in this book is ‘one of the first research done by an entity outside the academic sections’ at USP.

(L-R) USP Pro-Chancellor, Mr. Winston Thompson, USP Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jito Vanualailai, and USP Pro Vice-Chancellor Flexible Learning and Director, Centre for Flexible Learning, Professor Som Naidu during the official launch of the publication.

Professor Vanualailai commended the efforts of the authors and congratulated Professor Naidu for championing research into Technology-enhanced learning and investigating how ICTs can be used to leverage learning and teaching transactions at the university.

Authors/contributors with copies of the publication during the book launch.

Videos

Teaching and Learning with Technology: pushing boundaries and breaking down walls

1. Opening of TeL Book Launch – Professor Som Naidu

2. TeL Initiative @USP (Background and Objectives) + Introduction to the Book – Teaching and Learning with Technology: Pushing boundaries and breaking down walls – Professor Som Naidu

3. Introduction to the Book – Teaching and Learning with Technology: Pushing boundaries and breaking down walls – Professor Som Naidu

4. Evaluating students’ perceptions of blended learning – Mr. Eroni Racule (Centre for Flexible Learning)

5. Engaging with living histories – Dr. Nicholas Halter (School of Social Sciences, FALE)

6. Collaborative reading online with Perusall – Pita Tuisawau (Centre for Flexible Learning)

7. Use of peer assessment for formative assessments in large classes in higher education institutes – Mr. Krishan Kumar (School of Computing, Information and Mathematical Sciences, FSTE)

8. “It rains a lot here”: Online assessments versus Mother Nature – Dr. Rajni Chand (School of Language, Arts and Media, FALE)

9. Supporting flexible assessment of competencies with ePortfolios – Dr. Irene Yee Chief (Centre for Flexible Learning)

10. Researching learning and teaching technologies for flexible learning – Mr. Evan Naqiolevu and Mr. Nitendra Gounder (Centre for Flexible Learning)

11. Supporting the transition to tertiary studies: How students engage with academic literacy – Ms Tilisi Bryce (School of Language, Arts and Media, FALE)

12. Providing equal educational opportunities with a technology-based scholarship platform – Mr. Sarvesh Chand and Mr. Divnesh Prasad (School of Engineering and Physics, FSTE)

12. Address by Pro-Chancellor, USP – Mr. Winston Thompson

13. Address and Book Launch by DVC Education (Acting) – Professor Jito Vanualailai

14. Vote of Thanks – Sharishna Narayan

Open Education Week 2020

The Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL) is hosting a series of activities during the week of 2-6 March to celebrate Open Education Week 2020. A major event for this week is the launch of an open-access publication titled: Teaching and Learning with Technology: Pushing boundaries and breaking down walls.

The details for the books launch is as follows:

OE Week 2020 Programme

To view the article on the book launch, please click here.

Design for Mobile First – Professor Rory McGreal

Virtual mobility is part of the world that we live in and for educators, this means designing learning and teaching experiences for mobile first.

This was the message of Professor Rory McGreal, UNESCO/International Council for Open and Distance Education Chair in Open Educational Resources (OER) from Athabasca University, Canada during a public seminar organised by The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL) as part of the Open Education Week,which was hosted from 4 – 8 March 2019.

Professor Rory McGreal talks about Open Education and Training for Economic Development, during the Public Seminar.

The Open Education Week is promoted by the Open Education Consortium, which is a global network of educational institutions, individuals and organisations that support an approach to education that is based on openness, including collaboration, innovation and collective development and use of open educational materials.

Professor McGreal presented on Open Education and Training for Economic Development, whereby he reiterated the importance of digital and open learning to drive the world economy forward.

He said that designing for mobile first would mean that people can easily convert it to paper or face-to-face teaching, contrary to designing for the latter first.

Professor McGreal highlighted that the challenge for the 21st century educators is to look for methods of educational deliveries for large masses of learners, located in different parts of the world.

He emphasised that the largest companies in the world are based on bits of information, and are larger than those that produce tangible goods and services.

“It is these bits of information that drive the world economy, and the characteristic about them is zero mass and volume, that can be moved infinitely around the world,” he said.

Furthermore, he informed that in today’s world, economic activity is going more towards learning and training.

“Education and training are becoming the centre of world economy, and we as educators are the centre of the world economy. We are the ones working to transfer knowledge to different people,” Professor McGreal said.

He stressed that human capital has never been so important adding that, finding, training, and keeping knowledge workers is crucial.

“There is increased mobility of workforce, whereby you do not need to be on any particular site, rather we can work from anywhere,” he said.

Professor McGreal shared his thoughts about Open Educational Resources and Creative Commons.

He also spoke about self-directed learning, personal learning and connectivism, distance education, online learning, games for learning, digital rights management, digital licenses, credit transfers, recognition of prior learning, challenges for credit, and freedom for learners.

In launching Open Education Week at USP, Professor Som Naidu, Pro Vice-Chancellor Flexible Learning and Director of CFL said that Open Education is about Open Access, Open Learning and Open Scholarship.

And apart from this week’s activities, Professor Naidu mentioned that Open Educational Practices at USP, also included: the Development of an OER Policy for USP; development of an OER Repository for USP, OER Course Conversions, as well as notable initiatives such as the Pacific Centre for Flexible and Open Learning for Development; USP Global in partnership with CrystalDelta.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, Professor Richard Coll said that the University, particularly in the last ten (10) years, has moved more towards digital technologies and providing access to enhanced learning.

Professor Coll said that the University started off with its digital learning through concerns raised by the students’ association about rising costs of textbooks which drove the University to introduce teaching and learning pedagogies that will reach more students with lower costs associated for both the University and the students.

The evening’s program also included a panel discussion with Associate Deans (Learning and Teaching) from each Faculty together with the University librarian.

The week-long programme comprises targeted workshops for all Faculties, facilitated by Professor McGreal.

The workshops are aimed to help educators find OER and learn how to integrate them in their teaching.

—Republished from the News@USP website managed by the Office of Strategic Partnerships, Advancement & Communications (SPAC)— 

Open Education Week 2019

The Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL) is hosting a week-long event to celebrate Open Education week from 4-8 March 2019 (https://www.openeducationweek.org/).

This year we are planning a series of targeted workshops for all Faculties together with a public seminar. The lead facilitator for the workshops is Professor Rory McGreal who is the UNESCO/International Council for Open and Distance Education Chair in Open Educational Resources (OER).

The details for the public seminar is as follows:

OER Policy Development Workshop at USP

From L-R: Professor Jito Vanualailai, Director Research (USP), Dr. Sanjaya Mishra, Education Specialist eLearning (COL), and Professor Som Naidu, Pro Vice Chancellor Flexible Learning and Director Centre for Flexible Learning (USP).

The Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL) organised a two day workshop at USP from May 25th – 26th, 2017 in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) to improve a draft institutional policy on Open Educational Resources (OER). The workshop was co-facilitated by Professor Som Naidu, Pro Vice Chancellor Flexible Learning and Director Centre for Flexible Learning and Dr. Sanjaya Mishra, Education Specialist eLearning from COL.

The event was officially opened by Professor Jito Vanualailai, Director Research. In his opening remarks, Professor Vanualailai reiterated the University’s commitment to the open education movement, especially with news of planned enhancements to the USP network with faster connectivity and data transmission. The two day event was attended by a total of 30 participants from the three Faculties, the office of DVCLTSS, Library, the Planning and Quality Office, Disability Resource Centre, PACFOLD, USP Students Association and CFL.

At the start of the session, Professor Naidu explained the goal and purpose of the meeting. As part of his introductory remarks Professor Naidu explained the history behind the OER movement, its characteristics and in particular its value principles. He stated that, “we needed to understand the connection between the Mission and Goals of a University such as this and the need to adopt the use of open educational resources and open educational practice more broadly”.

He stated that engagement with open educational practice and the adoption of OER was driven by a belief and value system which suggested that the products of publically funded and supported research and scholarship ought to be shared openly and freely by all. He explained that this kind of sharing (of the products of research and scholarship) with others openly and freely DID NOT mean relinquishing of ownership and IP. It simply meant using a different kind of license — an open license which allowed use, reuse and redistribution at no cost, but with appropriate attribution of course.

Dr. Mishra elaborated on the points raised by Professor Naidu especially with regard to his experiences with OER policy development around the world. Of particular interest was the clarification and distinction of the various categories of open licenses available to use. He stated that the OER initiative should be built on three pillars, which were:

  1. Policy formulation;
  2. Capacity building; and
  3. Appropriate institutional mechanisms and facilities.

Both presentations set the tone for the discussions around the draft USP OER policy that followed. In groups, the participants were asked to identify certain existing institutional policies that would have an impact on the draft OER policy. This was followed by a SWOT analysis of the adoption of OER and OEP at the University with regard to OER. Some of the key points raised were:

  • The role of OER in preserving our cultural heritage;
  • The potential of OER in reducing workload and improving efficiency;
  • The need to have quality control mechanisms for OER in place;
  • Commitment from Senior Management Team in terms of articulation in the next strategic plan; and
  • Human Resource implications.

The two day workshop concluded with presentations from the groups feeding back to the various sections of the draft OER policy in terms of strengthening its scope, content and application. Professor Som Naidu thanked Dr. Mishra and the participants for availing themselves and the support they continued to show for the OER movement. He also thanked the CFL team that organised the workshop.


Videos from the USP OER Policy Development Workshop, 25th – 26th May 2017


Inauguration of the workshop and introductory remarks by Prof. Jito Vanualailai (USP Research Office)


Workshop goals, Work on OER/OEP @ USP, Introduction to OEP by Prof. Som Naidu (USP PVC Flexible Learning and Director – Centre for Flexible Learning)


OER @ USP: SWOT Analysis by Dr. Sanjaya Mishra (Commonwealth of Learning)


Workshop closing remarks (USP PVC Flexible Learning and Director – Centre for Flexible Learning)


USP OER Policy

View the USP OER Policy (in PDF)

Call for Expressions of Interest: GRANTS for OER Course Conversions

Expressions of interest are now open from USP staff for the revision and conversion of courses with Open Education Resources. The goal of this initiative—funded by the Office of the DVC LTSS and managed by the CFLis to increase the adoption, adaption, and creation of OER by USP faculty to increase student success through zero textbook costs and also to reduce the time and cost of course development.

Grant funding of up to $7,000 can be applied for projects that do one of the following:

  1. Up to $3,500: Revise – existing courses to integrate OER and/or free library materials.
  2. Up to $5,000: Develop – Create new courses using OER and/or free library materials.
  3. Up to $7,000: Author – Publish a new OER textbook from existing OER and faculty-authored content to replace the prescribed textbook in a high enrollment course (for use in face-to-face or flexible learning context).
  4. Up to $7,000: Other – Propose a different kind of project not covered by the preceding categories.

Eligibility

Any faculty member responsible for a course at USP is eligible to apply for this funding.

Grant recipients should be willing to share their experiences at USP’s Open Education Week in March 2018. Projects may be collaborative with multiple faculty members across USP. Funded projects will receive instructional design support from CFL.

Applications are encouraged for high-enrollment undergraduate courses.

Important Dates

Proposal deadline: July 31, 2017

Awards announcement:  August 4, 2017

Project timelines may vary but must be completed  4 weeks before the start of each semester in 2018.

Applications

To view the application form, visit: https://goo.gl/forms/qWDgLE0W5g9Tz1RZ2

Any questions can be sent to openedu@usp.ac.fj

Thank you and we look forward to receiving your submissions.