Digital education takes “open first” approach

March 7, 2018
Master of Arts in Learning and Technology
The School of Education and Technology is celebrating its 5-year anniversary. SET offers a variety of graduate masters programs as well as graduate certificates and diplomas in educational leadership, higher education administration and leadership, instructional design and technology-enhanced learning and design.

You’re probably familiar with the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle. But what about the five Rs? In open education, they’re known as reuse, revise, remix, redistribute and retain.

Information sharing provides the fertile ground for new ideas to grow—and new ideas, rooted in innovation and openness, are central to the Master of Arts in Learning and Technology (MALAT) program at Royal Roads.

“Remixing is core to the dynamic nature of the research process which weaves throughout the program. It is a continual evolution,” says Elizabeth Childs, associate professor and program head of the MALAT program in the School of Education and Technology.

Last year, the school redesigned the MALAT program in response to stakeholder feedback. The result is a student-centred and experiential program designed with openness as a core value.

In the “open-first” approach, Childs says MALAT students are encouraged to share and revise their work in shared online spaces.

Canada Research Chair Prof. George Veletsianos says open practices strengthen students’ experiences.Prof. George Veletsianos

An open classroom invites discussion from experts around the world, he says.

“In our public-facing courses, our resources, activities and some of our discussions are public,” he says. “We invite experts from the community to join our courses and interact with students. When you do that, you expand learning opportunities.”

Even course syllabi and activities are created with student input.

“A lot of our students are experts in their fields,” Veletsianos says, adding the program draws people who are interested in the use of digital technology in education to industry trainers and military professionals to aspiring instructional designers and education entrepreneurs.

“These are people who have experiences in the field and they have important insights as to what we should be exploring together,” Veletsianos says.

As part of their coursework, students create digital products such as training modules, online courses and toolkits for leading the implementation of learning technologies. After completing the program, students leave with a portfolio of projects and research insights to apply at work or show to potential employers.  

Veletsianos will be speaking about ways to design online courses that are effective, engaging and efficient Thursday, March 15 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. as part of SET Presents, a speaker series hosted by the School of Education and Technology.

The interactive public session, held in Royal Roads LIC Centre for Dialogue and on Livestream, will explore strategies to reimagine online learning courses.

“Opportunities for sharing allow us to learn what we each do and spark ideas for doing things differently,” he says.