Educators can now learn to design and teach their own online and blended courses with the launch next month (28 July) of UNSW’s newest Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the Coursera platform.

Based on the award-winning educational resources of the same name developed at UNSW’s College of Fine Arts (COFA), the Learning to Teach Online (LTTO) MOOC is designed to help existing and prospective educators establish their own online or blended teaching practices.

“Our course aims to help educators make that leap from their current practice to teaching online in a way that’s meaningful to them,” said lead instructor and COFA Learning and Innovation Director, Simon McIntyre.

The original video-based LTTO resources, developed by a team led by McIntyre, won the prestigious international 2012 MERLOT Award for Exemplary Online Learning Resources and helped teachers in 138 countries step into the online classroom.

McIntyre, a pioneer of online learning for art and design courses, said one of the distinctive features of the free eight-week course is that it offers a personalised approach which allows students to determine their learning pathway based on personal goals and situations.

“Teachers know their own content and teaching strengths better than anyone, and the ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula of some MOOCs doesn’t suit everyone,” he said. “Students enrolled in LTTO can choose to broaden their knowledge in the specific areas they require.”

The LTTO MOOC is aimed at teachers and prospective educators in higher education, K-12, community colleges, and vocational or private education.

Course instructor, Dr Negin Mirriahi, said the content of the MOOC “is comprised of the shared knowledge and wisdom of real educators and students who are already engaged in online learning”.

COFA Dean Professor Ross Harley said the LTTO MOOC provides the perfect platform for educators wanting to transition into online teaching.

“As education moves into the cloud, it’s important that educators understand how they can keep their feet firmly on the new ground of online learning and teaching,” Professor Harley said.

UNSW announced in 2013 that it was joining some of the world’s leading universities in partnering with US-based Coursera, the largest provider of MOOCs.

This is UNSW’s second Coursera MOOC. The first – Introduction to Systems Engineering – attracted close to 30,000 enrolments, a significant increase from the average class sizes of 200 for postgraduate courses.

UNSW’s first science MOOC, 'Mechanics: Motion, Forces, Energy and Gravity, from Particles to Planets', will be launched in August.

McIntyre recently spoke at Tertiary 3.0: Exploring Local Innovation in Higher Education at the VIVID Festival in Sydney, Australia.

Find out more about the Learning to Teach Online MOOC here

About Simon McIntyre: Simon has over 10 years of experience in graphic and interactive media design and online education. His research investigates new ways of developing advanced online pedagogical professional development and its impact upon tertiary teaching practice. Simon has drawn together educators and creative professionals in the development and design of sustainable and effective online learning strategies, through his work at the College of Fine Arts. 

About Dr Negin Mirriahi: Negin is an Academic Developer and Lecturer at UNSW Australia. With over 10 years of experience working in higher education institutions in Canada and Australia, Negin has extensive experience in managing, designing, implementing and evaluating educational technology in higher education and in designing fully online and blended courses. She currently co-leads the design and delivery of UNSW’s Foundations of University Learning & Teaching Program and teaches a postgraduate course, Educational Design for Learning in Higher Education. Negin’s current research focuses on blended learning, students' preferences towards online technology, learning analytics to inform pedagogical practice and student learning in open and online courses, and technology adoption among academic staff.

Media contact: Fran Strachan, UNSW Media | 9385 8732 | 0429 416 070