In June last year over 100 academics chose to embark on a bold expedition to turn concept into reality and create the Open Learning Environment (OLE). With support and guidance from trusted educational designers along the way, these pioneers have created new choices for all of us, and early feedback suggests they are on the right track.
In Semester 1 this year, the OLE became available to many undergraduate students – in particular those enrolled in the new liberal studies degrees which require OLE credit points.
A lesser known fact is all students (and staff) also have free access to the zero-credit-point component of the OLE – a suite of short, fully online, self-paced units that can be enrolled into at any time. While these standalone units don’t count towards credit in a degree, participants receive a digital badge on completion.
So how are we travelling?
Almost 75% of participants who have completed a zero-credit point OLE and responded to our survey agree or strongly agree the work has been intellectually rewarding, assessment tasks challenged them to learn and overall they were satisfied with the quality of the unit.
Feedback also shows the University’s aspiration to provide an OLE experience that caters for both professional needs and personal interest is being met. The following comments reflect themes from over 200 survey respondents to date:
- “[I] have found this unit beneficial and useful to my other studies and it has provided for a lot more real world knowledge.”
- “Allowed me to think about my personal career path choices.”
- “Learning how to critically reflect and how important it is in everyday life, especially in [the] work force”
- “I found it very interesting as I’ve been taking a particular focus on my own wellbeing over the past few months. It was content I found compelling enough to read on the basis of pure interest.”
- “I learnt things about the Australian national narrative that I never would have properly considered if I hadn’t been given this opportunity.”
- “I think the ease with which the unit can be completed is good, I think that makes it more attractive to people and more likely to be completed.”
What OLE path will you take?
Whether you are learning for personal interest, looking to gain new knowledge and skills, or simply wanting to see what might be valuable to your students, everything you need for your OLE journey is available on the OLE Canvas site. Through this site, you have access to over 60 zero-credit-point OLE units with more coming in Semester 2 and beyond. Data science, coding literacy, chronic disease prevention, entrepreneurial thinking, ethics, music notation and cultural competence – these are just some of the subjects that reflect the unique breadth and disciplinary expertise of Sydney. Once you enter the OLE site, browse the list of units, select a unit, and click enrol – it’s that simple!
If you are interested in developing your own OLE unit, you can preview examples of OLE units coming up in the online version of Open Door Week, and submit an Expression of Interest in May/June. In the meantime please contact your Associate Dean (Education) if you would like further information. Applications for the next round of strategic education grants to support OLE development in 2019 will open this July.