The MALAT program
Royal Roads University runs an excellent Master of Arts in Learning and Technology (MALAT). This program is the first master of arts degree in Canada to go textbook-free. Students can access all of the course materials through open educational resources, e-books, journal articles and other free digital resources. These types of courses are known as “Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC)” and aim to improve access to education and enhance student outcomes.
I always enjoy participating as a guest speaker on this program, because most of the students are actively engaged in online learning and teaching and the program makes them reflect on the deeper issues involved in using technology for teaching.
What will be the impact of Covid-19 on online learning?
One of the MALAT instructors, Irwin de Vries, said that his students had three questions they wanted to discuss with me:
- Can higher education institutions return to how things were before Covid-19? If not, how can higher education institutions set themselves up for success?
- Is face-to-face teaching inherently superior to online learning? Has Covid-19 changed this perception?
- What new technologies are most likely to impact on online learning over the next five years – and why?
So on June 1, I structured the session around these three questions, starting each question with a short (10 minute) presentation of what is known – and more importantly, what is NOT known – about each of these topics, followed by 5-10 minutes of discussion or questions and answers with the students about each question. There were approximately 16 students in the session.
A wide range of issues came up in the discussion, including
- the appropriateness of online learning for indigenous education
- the likely impact of Covid-19 on faculty development and training
- identifying the unique affordances of face-to-face teaching
- models for media selection
- the likely role of big tech companies in using AI to by-pass higher education systems.
The recording of the webinar
The session was recorded and Irwin and the students have made the recording openly available from here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBHIzoxPH68&t=3s.
The whole webinar lasts just over 52 minutes. Please note that there is a technical issue with the sound between 16’45” and 19’10” – just scroll through this period.
As always I was impressed by the questions and contributions of the students, and I am grateful that Irwin and the students are willing to share this with those who are interested.