langwitches, 2010
Over the past few decades, the computerisation of work has resulted in many jobs becoming much more knowledge intensive, and the rapid expansion of modern technologies are “changing the ways we produce, consume, communicate and think” (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p. 5). Yet, many universities continue to use traditional teacher-centred information delivery modes (Maor, 2003) that focus on delivering theory via lectures, and assessing students through the end of semester exams.

This approach no longer seems appropriate for educating students in the 21st century as McCombs and Vakili (2005) explain

… In the 21st century world, content is so abundant as to make it a poor foundation on which to base an educational system; rather, context and meaning are the scarce but relevant commodities today.  This alters the purpose of education to that of helping learners communicate with others, find relevant and accurate information for the task at hand, and be co-learners and partners with teachers and peers in diverse settings and learning communities that go beyond school walls (p. 1582).

A more student-centred learning approach that includes pedagogical techniques such as online collaboration, case-based learning and problem based learning (Kim & Bonk, 2006) that encourage students to become self-directed, independent learners can better prepare graduating university students for the twenty first century workplace.

Course overview

The focus of this course is on learning how to design an online course based on authentic learning principles. The course is delivered fully online and is a FREE professional development opportunity for lecturers, teachers and/or tutors interested in learning how to apply an authentic learning framework to a new or existing online higher education course. The course is not intended to concentrate on technical matters of how to use particular computer systems but instead aims to provide an introduction to the use of real-life tasks where students use technologies as powerful cognitive tools for learning.

Course aims

The main purpose of the course is to provide lecturers and tutors involved in creating online learning courses within higher education the opportunity to:

  1. experience online learning from a student’s perspective
  2. learn how to use an authentic learning framework to design and implement their own courses
  3. explore new technologies and
  4. network with peers