COAL FACE: Preparing Academics to Teach in Multi-campus and Multi-mode Courses to Build Communities of Active Learner who are Flexible Adaptive Connected & Engaged

John SMITHSON
James Cook University, Australia
john.smithson@jcu.edu.au

Janet BUCHAN
James Cook University, Australia
janet.buchan@jcu.edu.au

Melanie BIRKS
James Cook University, Australia
melanie.birks@jcu.edu.au

Kristin WICKING
James Cook University, Australia
kristin.wicking@jcu.edu.au

Helen MCDONALD
James Cook University, Australia
helen.mcdonald@jcu.edu.au

Matthew RIDDLE
La Trobe University, Australia
M.Riddle@latrobe.edu.au

Abstract

James Cook University (JCU) is a regional university committed to providing a quality learning experience and offers the Bachelor of Nursing Science course in both internal and external mode, and on 5 campuses which are separated by more than 1700 km at its extremes. Students who study in their own local, supported community experience greater success in completing their studies and also tend to remain or return to rural or remote locations during their career. Challenges faced by Universities such as JCU include the need to provide active learning experiences for all students, irrespective of mode or location, and to mitigate the impact of the very different affordances of the learning spaces, technology and resources available to learners at each site and via each mode.

The OLT Project: 'At the COAL-FACE (Community of Active Learners - Flexible, Adaptive, Connected and Engaged) builds on the Spaces for Knowledge Generation research on learning space design (Souter et al, 2011) and seeks to adapt the seven principles of learning space design for a multi-campus and distance education context. The COAL-FACE project aims to enhance the student learning experience and teaching staff readiness to work across sites and in different technology afforded spaces to support active, constructivist learning. The project uses a large and geographically dispersed Bachelor level course as a case study to describe strategies that may enhance student learning in such an environment. The presentation describes the project, the context of the environment, the development of strategies to improve the students' learning experiences in the physical and virtual environments, implementation strategies and the planned measures of intervention impact.

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