Online Distance Learning – Challenges, Conversations, Solutions

David Eddy & Dr Colette Fegan
@sonofedd / @colfegan

Parallel session 3, CoLab 3.5

Short Abstract
This workshop will explore the challenges and barriers associated with online distance learning (ODL). Examples of how Allied Health Professions teams have overcome these to offer innovative and engaging flexible learning opportunities will be shared. The collective wisdom of the group will be harnessed to draw out key emergent themes and considerations.

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Detailed Outline
A full online distance learning (ODL) experience is the default offer in the AHP department. This includes PG education aimed at physiotherapists, occupational therapists, therapeutic radiographers, diagnostic radiographers and practitioners working in the areas of prostate cancer care, vocational rehabilitation and supportive and palliative care.

This workshop functions as a ‘think tank’ and will explore some of the opportunities and challenges that ODL presents at SHU. It will offer a clear and structured framework for delivery and support of students undertaking a distance learning experience. The workshop will explore some of the myths around distance learning and also some of the barriers and how teams in the department of AHP have overcome these. Examples of innovation and engagement of an online community will be shared.

Prior to the workshop, participants will be sent an online survey to complete asking 3 key questions:

1) What is the 1 key ingredient for success in online distance learning?
2) What is the 1 key enabler which would support and encourage the development of an online distance learning programme?
3) What is the 1 the barrier which hinders successful development and/or delivery of online distance learning courses.

Respondents answers will be collated to utilise in the workshop
Workshop participants will be split into discussion groups, facilitated by the co-presenters, focussing upon strategies and approaches to enable ODL provision to develop, and flourish.
A plenary will bring together the collective wisdom and draw out the key themes which have emerged and identify any key considerations for the institution, faculties, departments or course teams.

If desired by the participants, we will carry on the conversations online and build a resource and support toolkit for developing ODL.