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Distance Learning Professional Development for Staff

The following professional development seminars are for:

DISTAID - New-to-Distance workshop via Zoom

All workshops are via Zoom -

Facilitator: Dr Sarah Stein

Target audience: Anyone new to the teaching or administration of distance learning programme or papers.

Description: This two hour workshopis for people who have not taught a distance course previously or have not had to develop one. The New-to-Distance workshop introduces you to how distance learning happens at Otago. It explores five areas of critical importance to effective distance courses, and provides a brief and easy introduction to them. These are:

  1. Learning goals and content: Preparing good instructional materials, "why" and "how" are as important as "what".
  2. Interactions: Facilitating interactions and engaging students, especially online, but with a variety of technologies too.
  3. Assessment and evaluation: What is special about assessment and evaluation in distance education? And how do you manage them?
  4. Instructional media, tools, and technologies: It's so hard to choose! What should I use, and how should I use it?
  5. Learner and course services and support: ... but they are independent learners, surely they don't need support! Well, do they? And if so, how do we best provide it?

This workshop will provide opportunities for you to:

  • consider and discuss a number of issues to be aware of as you develop and then teach a distance course.
  • develop foundational knowledge of what works, in each of the five areas, to ensure effective distance learning occurs; and
  • note a number of sources for ideas and resources about distance course development and teaching.

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DISTAID Programme

Those of you involved with distance teaching may be interested in the DISTAID programme, an opportunity for you to engage in an extended professional development experience. Northern campus staff are welcome to register for the programme as the facilitators use both video and audio conferencing.

DISTAID works by supporting your investigation of:

      Distance Education through your
      Investigation of how
      Services and support,
      Tools and technologies,
      Assessment and evaluation,
      Interactions, and

work within distance courses and papers.

DISTAID is made up of workshops which address ideas about the five areas of distance courses that are critical for success.

Target audience: anyone involved in teaching or administering distance education papers and programmes.

Note: All workshops are offered via Zoom -

By appointment: Contact Sarah to arrange a tailored workshop, either face-to-face, on any campus, or via Zoom. Minimum group size is 6.

Programme components and workshops

A series of 5 workshops.

The focus of these modules is on essential topics/knowledge which have relevance and importance to all distance education contexts.

  1. Course DESIGN for distance papers
  2. Englaging your students and INTERACTING at a distance
  3. Choosing and using TOOLS and TECHNOLOGIES in distance education
  4. Supporting learning and teaching through ASSESSMENT of distance student work
  5. Get them and keep them!: SUPPORTING distance students (and you)

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1. DISTAID – Course DESIGN for distance papers 

Facilitator: Dr Sarah Stein

Description: This workshop looks at the building blocks of course design as it relates to distance papers and programmes.

The workshop will:

  • help you to make good decisions about ways to design and structure your papers;
  • provide an overview of the elements that you can include in a paper and the purposes and uses of each element;
  • give you the opportunity to review course material against good design criteria; and
  • help you to consider how you should design or redesign aspects of your paper(s) to better support learning at a distance.

2. DISTAID – Engaging your students and INTERACTING at a distance

Facilitator: Dr Sarah Stein

Description: This workshop will help you to make decisions about the best ways to use interaction possibilities in your distance teaching so that your students can most effectively achieve the learning outcomes of your paper effectively.

By the end of the workshop you will have:

  • explored strategies and techniques for establishing and maintaining interactions among your distance students;
  • discussed ways to chose appropriate interaction tools;
  • considered reasons for using real-time and asynchronous technologies; and
  • reviewed techniques to ensure that interactions work.

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3. DISTAID - Choosing and using TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGIES in distance education

Facilitator: Dr Sarah Stein

Description: This workshop focuses on a fundamental aspect of distance education: that education at a distance is mediated by technologies.

In this workshop you will:

  • consider the factors that you have to take into account when incorporating technologies into your distance teaching;
  • discuss the importance of the connection between choice of technology, course goals, and course design;
  • explore the various characteristics of a range of technologies available at Otago and ideas for using them effectively; and
  • consider the technologies you will use in your own distance teaching and why and how you might use them.

4. DISTAID - Supporting learning and teaching through ASSESSMENT of distance student work

Facilitator: Dr Sarah Stein

Description: In this workshop, you will be asked to consider principles underpinning effective assessment, with a particular focus upon important factors that become critical when teaching at a distance.

This workshop will provide you with opportunities to:

  • review a number of assessment strategies that can be used successfully at a distance, and how they can be made suitable for varying student and course needs;
  • discuss the nature and quality of feedback as a means to supporting learning at a distance; and
  • consider how to chose appropriate assessment strategies and techniques for promoting and enhancing your distance students' learning.

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5. DISTAID - Get them and keep them!: SUPPORTING distance students (and you)

Facilitator: Dr Sarah Stein

Description: In distance papers, students often find it difficult to maintain motivation and engagement for the length of the course. This workshop highlights a range of practical ways in which you can support students to learn effectively at a distance throughout their course.

By the end of this workshop you will:

  • know how to find help for your own distance teaching when you need it;
  • know how to help your distance students get the advice, services and support they need; and
  • consider the ways in which staff themselves are supported in their distance teaching.

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