It all began for me several years ago when I undertook a postgraduate teaching certificate in Higher Education and there was a module on ‘Technology Supported Learning’. I sat at the back with my arms folded for most of it and thought “this doesn’t have much to do with me”. The assessment, however, required me to discuss how I was using an aspect of technology-supported learning in my teaching, which I wasn’t. In desperation I spent a couple of long evenings locked in my work office with my computer, a takeaway and Wolverhampton’s guide to using our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). I then tried out a four-week experiment with my Level 3 Fin de Siècle undergraduate class. I set up a few online activities and encouraged them to join in. Some did, some didn’t, but enough did for me to be able to evaluate their responses to what they’d done online via a questionnaire, and based on those responses I took the leap of making a much more intergated online component part of my two Level 3 Victorian classes for the following academic year.
Getting to grips with any new teaching practice or approach is always a question of trying it out and seeing what works, refining if necessary. There’s been a fair amount of that over the subsequent years, perhaps particularly around the area of assessing online.
I couldn’t now, however, imagine teaching these two modules without their online component. They’d be lesser courses without it.