Course for educators: designing an instructional event centre for innovative educational and communication technologies (CIECT) University of the Western Cape
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The Centre for Innovative Educational and Communication Technologies (CIECT) at the University of the Western Cape designed and developed a blended learning course for teacher-educators, namely: designing an Instructional Event. The course is registered with the South African Quality Authority (SAQA) at a National Qualification Framework (NQF), Level 6. Research indicates that, online courses (popularly known as eLearning) can enhance face-to-face interaction. However, there is need for the selection of the relevant eLearning Tools (eTools) and the application of sound ePedagogical Practices. This course aimed at demonstrating how to make use of various eTools to supplement the traditional face-to-face approaches. By the end of the course, the teacher-educators were expected to: (i) explain the current trends in eLearning and how they affect the teaching practice; (ii) understand the educational philosophies that could inform the online teaching/learning/instructional practices; (iii) design an online teaching/instructional event ;(iv) understand the need for good structuring of course content for blended learning; (v) select eTools for use in the instructional event according to their pedagogical values and underpinning; and (vi) understand the roles of an online facilitator and how they affect the learning process. In addition, the 36 teacher-educators across Grades (R to 12) and various disciplines were assessed in relation to the provision of assessment criterion. The facilitators created an awareness of assessment processes and the submission of formal tasks during the face-to-face and online phases. As a follow-up, the participants were expected to plan, design and develop a small online teaching event; and actively participate in various online discussion topics. The researchers aimed to determine the effective use of the presented eTools for application by teachers in their specific disciplines – to enhance teaching-and-learning practices; as well as the effective application of eAssessment tools. This paper will highlight the main themes as derived from the responses within discussion forums; and related to the submission of the formal assessment task, namely, the creation of a prototype - an online environment for their specific discipline. Furthermore, some of the findings highlighted an increase in the innovative teaching methodologies of teachers after the completion. The principles also expressed observable augmented instructional abilities, and that the course would even be of benefit to the school leaders -the principles themselves.