Out of sight, but not out of mind: a case study of the collaborative development of a university-wide orientation resource for online students

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Abstract

The global online education sector has been rising rapidly, particularly during and after the events of 2020, and is becoming mainstream much sooner than expected. Despite this, research studies report higher levels of perceived isolation, difficulties with engagement, and higher attrition rates in online compared to equivalent on-campus programs. Reasons include restrictions to the type of institutional support accessible by online students, and the lack of comprehensiveness of orientation resources. This paper describes the collaborative efforts by a cross-faculty academic team, supported by a community of practice, to create a university-wide online orientation resource—the Monash Online Learning Hub (MOLH). The development of the MOLH involved multiple phases, including an analysis of current practice, resource design and content creation, formative evaluation by staff and students, and successful integration into the university’s mainstream student orientation platform for widescale implementation. The methods adopted were varied, and involved generating both qualitative and quantitative data across multiple phases of development from online education experts at the University, that culminated in the gradual building and refinement of the MOLH. Final outcomes, implications and lessons learned are also discussed in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Community of practice
  • Educational co-design
  • Online education
  • Online study support
  • Orientation resource

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