Thursday, October 27, 2005

Contemporary Online Teaching Cases

James Farmer recently promoted Contemporary Online Teaching Cases, an immense amount of work to capture examples of online teaching at Deakin University. Its a pretty good job actually with many audio recording of academics talking about their work. I haven't gone through many of them personally - and, as James is looking for feedback on the work, I thought I might mention why I haven't looked at many.

Firstly, I think the project promoted itself as a whole too much, and not enough of the specific cases. The home page does have a featured case study, but its at the bottom of the home page - so I missed it first off. I went straight to the Flash intro, hoping to get a quick and dirty preview.. but again the Flash intro promotes the project as a whole more than actually extracting out the gold and helping me get to where I need to be quicker. So, I think the site should extract good quotes, make them big and bold, and perhaps think about making a better intro. An AV intro that doesn't just Flash names and faces by quickly, but actually samples good words and ideas, and offers clickable buttons straight into the case studies as the movie moves through the samples. A making of video would be cool too.

Secondly, the case studies I looked at (based on the participant list) each offered too much choice up front. So much so that I didn't really know where to start, and as a result, decided not to start. But on thinking about this, perhaps people with more patience and reason than I will spend the time looking through the media. When they find the gold they'll blog it (we hope) and link readers in to where they need to be.

Lastly, there is so much! James says it was developed in isolation for 6 months... why? Was there a need to accumulate all this and 'release' it in one hit? Why not release each case as you finished it. That way someone like me could have watched them as they came, and not be so overwhelmed. Perhaps you'll keep making case studies, and release them this way...

But over all it is a really impressive volume of work you have there, and is something I will point all teachers I work with to. It is my patience that is the real fault in all this. I want someone else to get in there and point me to the stuff I should be looking at. And there's nothing stopping people from doing that... in fact, I should get back to my Bloglines and check. Good effort all! I hope you can take my criticism somehow constructively.

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