Lawrence Tech creates open learning environment for non-traditional students
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
Four members of the Lawrence Tech community collaborated on a presentation and panel discussion at the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Academy Conference held at Eastern Michigan University in May.
eLearning Services Director Richard Bush, Course Producer Marija Franetovic, Associate Professor Pamela Lowry, and Associate Professor Jacqueline Stavros co-authored and presented the session, “Creating an Open Learning Environment for Non-Traditional Students.” The presentation drew upon the work of eLearning Services (LTU Online) and the Masters of Education Technology and Doctorate Business Administration (DBA) programs to develop a consistent, quality learning environment for hybrid and online students.
Lawrence Tech facilitates a set of standards for technology-enhanced courses that enhance the look and feel, along with policies and practices that complement teaching and learning.
“LTU has established itself as a leader in technology-enhanced education by setting a bedrock of standards and policies that enable an immersive learning environment with a consistent look and feel; appropriate choices and uses of technologies; and open communication about enhancing teaching and learning methods,” Bush said.
“A uniform look and feel can create opportunities for open student dialogue, discovery, and self-reflection toward life-long learning,” Franetovic added.
Incorporating technologies, recognizing differences in learners, and incorporating best practices significantly changes the teacher-student relationship as well as the relationships between students.
“Students should feel the instructor is approachable, a real person, whether the interaction is happening in a face-to-face, hybrid, or online classroom,” Lowry said.
Faculty from nearby universities wanted to find out more about how LTU was leveraging student services, such as the library through eReference and with course development.
“The DBA and the doctorate in management in information technology were able to leverage technologies and creative scheduling through a faculty-driven task force. This reduced the long-term teaching and administrative costs, time and travel costs for students, and course content redundancy,” Stavros said. “It also maximized the availability of faculty and ensured a consistent, high-quality learning environment.”
Franetovic said some SoTL audience participants wished they had a centralized eLearning unit that emphasizes course development assistance in addition to regular computer help.