High Impact Learning Experiences for the Online Environment - Learning from Our Award Winners

University of Tasmania, Australia

Natalie BROWN
University of Tasmania, Australia

Rebecca SHAW
University of Tasmania, Australia


The University of Tasmania (UTAS) has adopted an institution wide approach to technology enhanced learning and teaching (Brown, Kregor & Williams, 2013). The UTAS Blended Learning Model outlines three characteristics that should be evident in all units. The first is high quality online resources to support learning. The second is high quality interaction (peer to peer; student to teacher to student). The third critical element is the concept of high impact learning experiences (HILEs). It is these that move beyond resources and interaction to provide purposeful and planned experiences to enable students to meet learning outcomes. The concept is based on the work of George Kuh (2008) who identified high impact educational practices through extensive research and surveying of students. HILEs also connect to the work of Biggs (2003), requiring purposeful alignment to learning outcomes and explicit scaffolding of student learning to enable successful achievement of intended learning outcomes. Whilst design and delivery of HILEs in on-campus units is well characterized, extending these to the online environment can present challenges. A key enabler of the blended learning vision, therefore, is professional learning for staff. As UTAS adopts a strong peer-led professional learning model, drawing from the experiences of colleagues is a natural starting point. This showcase will present and discuss a selection of case studies to exemplify fully online HILEs collated from UTAS teaching award winners. In doing so, our model of professional learning and continued engagement with award winning teachers though communities of practice will also be outlined.

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