Tuesday here in Irvine was a couple of meetings with people on the other side of the campus – Irvine’s educational design and distance learning sections. The meetings were a good opportunity to learn about these two areas and how they operate here at Irvine. I think the most interesting points were the commonalities in dealing with academic staff. Despite the fact that the Pacific Ocean separates us – academics are the same the world over. It’s not a negative thing or an attack on personalities – its more about the strategies and tactics that need to be deployed in dealing and servicing people within a university.
I was interested in the educational design strategy of having longer focused development sessions to develop and implement new strategies. So to develop a new subject based around PBL a small group would be formed from different areas around the university and over a number of days actually develop their subject plan and structure. The combination of peer groups and a defined outcome was an interesting mix and a novel approach. Getting the time and funding to work like this may be a challenge but I thought it was a very different to how we work at CSU but something that holds a lot of potential too.
Distance education at UCI is definitely on the increase and it was interesting to learn how this was happening and the history behind it. Having built their courses online and delivered via Moodle it was good to see well thought out and progressive online teaching. Mixed media, self guided structures and self assessment were really great examples of how online courses should be developed.
It was good to see a mirror of our Division of Learning & Teaching Services here at Irvine and to see the commonalities and the differences.