A video-based program helping teachers in 138 countries step into the virtual classroom, has earned its developers a prestigious international award.

Learning to Teach Online, is a series of online video and PDF resources developed at UNSW’s College of Fine Arts. Funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, the project supports teachers in any discipline who are new to online learning.

Project leaders, COFA’s Simon McIntyre and Karin Watson, have been awarded the 2012 MERLOT Award for Exemplary Online Learning Resources. They will be presenting at the 5th Annual International Symposium for Emerging Technologies for Online Learning in the United States later this year.

 “It’s really satisfying to be selected by our peers as it shows we are achieving our goal of helping other teachers,” says McIntyre, a senior lecturer at COFA Online. 

“The success of Learning to Teach Online proves you can design something around principles of pedagogy, rather than being overly-specific about technology.”

Forty-four universities around the world are now using the program in their Masters courses and for staff development.

“We’ve had 135,000 views – most of them in the UK, US and Australia. Around 300 people are accessing the resource every day, as more and more teaching and learning moves online,” he says.

Although it was originally designed for higher education, McIntyre says many of the teachers using the resource are working in primary and high schools and in vocational education.

 “The reason this project has been successful is because it’s been thought about deeply. There is a good structure and pedagogy behind the content, which is why thousands of educators have shared the resources with colleagues all around the world,” McIntyre says.

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Media Office, 02 9385 1583