This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

#ocTEL: Digital Templates

This week, we’ve been asked to read and reflect on the use of templates for developing online courses. I read the paper by Hill and colleagues (2012), and was perhaps more confused by the fact that this just made common sense to me, rather than it becoming rather a complicated presentation of model. I’ve been teaching on a course which has always had a main template, used by the instructors when updating or writing new course units. The template has proved its value by the fact that it has been used for over twelve years, and by many different instructors. The paper by Hill did make me reflect again on that we don’t make any clear links to the pedagogy and teaching theory from the course design perspective. I doubt the design of the course units would change, in terms of teaching methods etc, even if we did this – using what I have learnt so far on this MOOC, in terms of teaching theories, I now understand more about how and why I teach the way that I do, but have not found much to suggest that what I am doing is not supported by appropriate theories. That been said, I am keen to explore how I can develop more of a social learning community on the course. I am aware that this is my need, and might not be of value to our rather diverse, international community of adult workers. My bias is that by taking MOOCs and taking part in social learning communities online, I have learnt far more, and rather different things, than I had initially anticipated, and often beyond the materials in the course. I’m a great advocate of cMOOCS all round.

I like the idea of having suggested templates, that would have clear links to theoretical theories etc. There is a danger that this might however, reduce the thought that instructors give to their course design, rather than enhance it – they might just try and fill in the gaps without clearly thinking through why they want to do something in a particular way.

As always, there is a great need to work together with instructors and learning technologists part of the design and delivery team.



Hi, I'm a senior lecturer in public health, at the University of Manchester. For seven years I have been course unit leader on a fully online distance learning programme in public health/primary care. I've been designing & running course units for this, using Blackboard now. I work with other lecturers alongside a e-learning team. Having students all over the world helps give an interesting perspective to the teaching of public health and to using online learning. I am keen to learn more about pedagogical principles and development for technology enhanced learning, and how to maximise the student learning experience. More recently I have become involved in developing proposals and hopefully design and running of a MOOC. I am also interested in exploring greater use of OERs for public health and would like to pursue my research interest/hypothesis I am calling "Just In Time Learning". But with a PhD already alongside other things, my friends are trying to keep me away from more studying. I am a convert for free-education across the world, which is frustrating at times working in a university which clearly needs to bring in income too. But massive shifts have taken place with Web 2 and democratic education movements. I would like to find out if there is a local network / northern network for TEHL in higher education, and if not, perhaps we could start one.

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