News

Student project hits #1 on iTunes



24 May 2011

PhD candidate Simon McIntyre is behind the Online teaching project that's topping the charts in iTunes.

Simon McIntyre, PhD candidate at the faculty's CoCo Research Centre, is at the helm of a project for teachers that recently hit the top ten in the iTunes U Teaching and Education category.

The ALTC funded "Learning to Teach Online" (LTTO) project now sees 300 viewers a day who come to the site for valuable resources on online learning issues, including topics as diverse as using Twitter for teaching, learning in virtual worlds, time management, and effective online discussions. "We are thrilled that so many educators are finding the project valuable and worthwhile, and that many are engaging with the resource in iTunes and on their mobile devices!"

The LTTO project is developed for COFA Online, an academic unit at the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales, where Simon is Online Postgraduate Director. COFA Online has been researching, developing and evaluating professional development programs since 2003. Simon and his colleague Karin Watson designed the project to be practical and easy to access for time-poor teachers, with video and PDF based episodes examining successful online teaching strategies.

The project's goal is to enable communication between educators, according to Simon. "I want to establish a global online community for teachers, where they can get advice about teaching online, share their experiences, ask questions to solve their problems, and get some real help with the real nitty gritty issues that are part of the reality of teaching online."

Simon, who recently presented a seminar on the project as part of the CoCo seminar series, believes that this ranking comes at an excellent time. "Needless to say we are very pleased with how the project is progressing, and the promotion on this main category page by iTunes should help move the project along further."

The project's popularity is not limited to iTunes, where it ranked as the number one in the Teaching and Education category in late April. LTTO is also rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by independent academics through MERLOT.org, an international Open Educational Resource (OER) that allows the sharing of peer-reviewed educational and training material. In the six since the first episodes were published, the resources themselves have received over 44,464 unique views from 110 countries and territories around the world.

So far the project has interviewed 49 academics, Deans, Learning and Teaching professionals and librarians from 18 different institutions in Australia and the UK on disciplines including art, education, science, maths, medicine, humanities, business and architecture. LTTO includes interviews with academics from all over the country, including CoCo Co-Director and Laureate Fellow Professor Peter Goodyear.

Nine educational institutions are using the resources in their own professional development programs and the project receives an average of 300 unique views per day from around the world, but Simon believes this is just the beginning. "What I am hoping is that this concept can be taken much further with the help of the community; to increase the potential of this interaction amongst those passionate about online teaching, to collectively evolve online teaching practice, to stop teachers working in isolation and provide mutual support, and to provide a dissemination point of successful, proven strategies for the benefit of everyone else who is trying to achieve a similar goal."


The project can be viewed at online.cofa.unsw.edu.au/learning-to-teach-online/ltto-episodes You can also read Simon's blog.


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