The Distance Learning Office provides support for staff through the following:
Distance Education Community Network
- Meetings for Distance Teaching Staff
- Distance Learning Forum
- Distance Learning Advisory Board
- Biennial Symposium
- Course Outline & Administration Guide template
- Student Support Email templates
- A Handbook for Distance Education Staff
- Otago Connect web based conferencing for distance teaching
- Leading an effective Audioconference
- Technologies: choosing digital tools for learning activities (opens a new page)
Note: The Directory and Guide are also available in hard copy from the Distance Learning Office
These additional background notes may also be of interest to distance education staff:
- Audioconference and Distance Learning Notes from Penny Field and Paul Trebilco (112k in PDF format)
- Distance Learning at the University of Otago - A History (24kb in PDF format)
The biennial symposium is an opportunity for distance educators to network and share practices and includes workshops & guest speakers.
This all day symposium was last held in Dunedin on Friday 5th December 2014 at St Margaret's College, titled: Towards Greater International Involvement: How Can we Help You?. Videos of a selection of presentations are available on Unitube.
The 2011 Symposium is also available on UniTube.
Distance Learning Forum
Distance education administrators meet four times a year to discuss matters of interest.
Meetings are held on Thursdays at 1pm (venue to be advised)
Staff from our northern campuses are able to join in via webconference using OtagoConnect.
This one hour meeting consists of short presentations from ITS, the Distance Library Service, Admissions & Enrolment, Student Administration and Network; followed by a topic for discussion. Previous topics have covered: Proposed developments for 2010, Marketing your Distance Programme, the new Library Distance Service, Supporting distance students, and Student access to new technologies.
Meeting Dates for 2015
- 12 March
- 14 May
- 13 August
- 19 November
Distance Learning Advisory Board
At a strategic level, the distance learning community at Otago is represented on the Distance Learning Advisory Board. Meeting four times a year, the Board is comprised of representatives from each of the Divisions and is convened by the Deputy Vice Chancellor. Visit the Otago University website for the full membership, meeting dates and terms of reference. You are welcome to raise issues with your Divisional representative.
- Issue 1 September 2009 (in PDF format)
- Issue 2 January 2010 (in PDF format)
- Issue 3 January 2011 (in PDF format)
- Issue 4 May 2011 (in PDF format)
- Issue 5 March 2012 (in PDF format)
- Issue 6 September 2012 (in PDF format)
Course Outline and Administration Guide
Also known as a paper outline or course book, it provides students with information about how the course will be run. The template can be adapted by lecturers for their own use. This template is available as either a Blackboard or Word doc template. Request the Blackboard zip file with importing instructions from the Distance Learning Office.
Course Outline & Administration Guide template (2013 version. 142KB in Word format, 47 pages)
Blackboard version information with sample home page screen shot (1 page in pdf format)
Staff user reviews (1 page in pdf format)
Student Support Email Templates
This resource outlines an easy and quick way to build engagement with distance students and to tell them about the range of information and support resources that are available at the University. Messages do not need to be sent individually to be effective. A "clas" message - the same to every student – will do. Although the resource is called "Email support", any technology is okay. Use Blackboard, email, even Facebook to send the messages.
Rationale and sample message (in PDF format)
Contact the Distance Learning Office - email@example.com for the full range of support messages.
Otago Connect is a web conferencing solution for online meetings and webinars used by the University of Otago.
Otago Connect is:
"a bit like Skype to use – but with a lot more functions to deliver [online classrooms]" at any time and to almost any one with an internet connection.
Otago Connect has many useful features to encourage collaboration and learning:
- Group text, audio and video chat
- Ability to share presentations (like Powerpoint)
- Collaborate on a whiteboard
- Conduct polls during your meetings
- Share useful files
Is Otago Connect for you?
- Have a look at the ITS Otago Connect webpages if you think it might be – there is a demo video to watch there as well.
- Read how one Otago distance educator used Connect in his teaching
Email template to send to participants
This email should be sent to students and other guests at least a week BEFORE the Connect meeting.
It contains advice about equipment needed, set up instructions and an audio quality test.