An ODL training course for developing teachers’ competence in planning, preparing, and organising online and distance-based education started on September 9. The course has a total of 105 participants from HEIs in Kenya, Zambia and Uganda.
Text Varpu Somersalo Images Tauno Tertsunen
ODL is short for Open and Distance Learning or Online and Distance Learning. Promoting ODL increases the accessibility of education, and allows learning unbound by time and place. Continuous and lifelong learning requires flexible training arrangements. For example, this training course is aimed at professional teachers who usually don’t have possibilities to travel and take time off from their main jobs for updating their knowledge and skills.
The training course consists of 9 weekly online workshops, covering competence-based education, facilitation of online learning and virtual PBL projects, among other pedagogical themes. The responsible teachers of the course are Mr. Tauno Tertsunen, a senior lecturer at Häme University of Applied Sciences, and Ms. Matleena Muhonen, Aalto University.
Tauno has worked for 34 years as a teacher trainer at HAMK. For the last 15 years, he has developed and implemented blended and online-based teacher training. Tauno has also developed ODL in multiple international projects in Vietnam, Nepal, Kazakstan, South Sudan, Tanzania and several European countries.
“The main challenge in switching traditional face-to-face training to online training is to change the teachers’ mindset from teacher-centred training to student-centred training”, Dr. Tertsunen notes.
Planning and organising learning processes is different from teaching processes. Learning environments as well as learning activities are different; assessment and guidance of learning also differ from traditional training. And students might remain the same. Quite a challenge, but fortunately there are experienced professionals to tackle the challenge.
“We are very happy to share our experiences in developing and organising online education with our partner universities”, Dr. Tertsunen expresses.
The course takes place on a Moodle platform, provided by the University of Nairobi. The training continues a PBL training course organised by PBL-BioAfrica’s sister project AgriSCALE.