Interview with...

Lecturer of the course Clinical Epidemiology

Think different. Explore new territory in teaching and learning.

The course

The first full e-learning course I was involved in was Clinical Epidemiology. There are similarities as well as differences between the e-learning course and regular classes. The background and interest of the participants was as usual, but the involvement in the course was surprisingly more intense and complete than could be reached in a face-to-face setting.

The involvement in the course was more intense and complete than in a face-to-face setting.

Distance learning

In our e-learning course we used a range of methods, from weblectures to wiki’s and blogs. The new teaching formats distance learning offers are truly exciting. For students the obvious advantage is that participation in the course is not limited to time and place. Interestingly, instead of the communication being “a-synchronous”, student participation was quite intense. A clear advantage is that moderates can closely monitor the involvement of individuals and trigger responses by those that would otherwise try to hide quietly in the back of the class room. It was remarkable to see how students in a way reinvented and expanded their teaching material while discussing complicated topics and examples in the virtual environment. There are three major advantages to distance learning. For students it takes away financial or logistical barriers to participate as it removes geographic and time barriers. For students as well as for teachers, the format allows for a much larger level of individual customization as the range of educational options is so much larger. For those involved in running courses the scalability of e-learning is a major attraction. Courses that would normally be limited in numbers of participants by square meters of classroom can now be offered to thousands of students on a global scale.

Participation in the course is not limited to time and place.

Do you have any advice for participants or teachers who would are considering to participate or teach in distance courses?

Think different. Explore new territory in teaching and learning. Get used to the feeling that technology is in between you and the student and vice versa, but that the power of technology and the international scale of participation and collaboration fully compensates for that limitation. In the era of social media, “social education” is perhaps what Elevate stands for.

Think different.
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