In 2014, Trinity College is evolving from the now firmly established base of mobile learning principles practiced in Foundation Studies, to expand our eLearning potential as an institution. An eLearning Incubator staffed by experienced classroom teachers and a technology specialist, is researching and piloting developing technologies, learning and teaching environments, project-based and student-centred learning. The anticipated outcomes are designed to equip students with the critical thinking and learning skills demanded by universities and employers in the 21st Century.
The eLearning Incubator works across the College, in all areas of teaching and learning – not just Foundation Studies. It has a pedagogical and educational focus, and is a consultative and collaborative group. Trinity is not new to eLearning – the Theological School has been successfully delivering quality online courses for many years – but there is much to be shared across the learning frontiers. Key aims of the eLearning Incubator are to deliver quality academic development to help staff create transformative educational experiences for students; to develop teaching solutions and strategies for innovative projects; and to research and measure the effectiveness of eLearning delivery. The group will also write and publish academic articles based on primary research in national and international peer-reviewed journals, and present at national and international conferences. Three articles, and two academic presentations are planned for 2014. One paper on the yearlong staff iPad training program is soon to be published as an open access article in an international education journal. A second, longer article is in progress, and concerns the outcomes for students after two years of learning in a 1:1 iPad environment, in a longitudinal comparison with earlier years.
The eLearning Incubator is also involved in delivering professional development training for academic and general staff across the college, and offering staff support with their teaching goals. One recent activity involved providing support and training to the BAX (Bachelor of Arts Extended) for Indigenous students engaged in a short movie trailer project. The eLearning Incubator is also working with a number of Foundation Studies administration services to develop online and interactive orientation information and learning activities. Other research projects in progress in 2014 include a study on the effectiveness – across a range of measures – of a ‘flipped classroom’ model in lectures; exploring the best ways to mine and analyse learning analytics, and an evaluation of project based learning and creative assessments within the Pathways School.
The eLearning Incubator aims to empower staff at Trinity to effectively engage students via online experiences. Ultimately the goal of the Incubator is make the most of important, yet limited face to face time; to design and then rigorously evaluate online learning models suited to our context for our staff to repurpose to meet diverse needs.