I am starting to convene a fully online course for the first time. This is the Health Promotion course in the Bachelor of International Public Health program. The program itself is new and is a Plus Alliance program, jointly delivered by UNSW, Arizona State University, USA and Kings College, London. In my experience and in the experience of my colleagues, it is quite challenging to have students engaging meaningfully and critically with the course content in an online environment. Moreover, getting students to learn higher order thinking and problem solving skills can be quite challenging in the online environment. In this course I draw on principles of authentic learning to engage students actively in the online learning forums and to develop their higher order thinking skills.
A case study is used to anchor the discussion forums. The case study draws on real data gathered through the PhD research of a PhD candidate I supervised. However, the case study is presented as a fictitious country and the students are introduced to this fictitious country using the application of Prezi. Students can see real-life living context of the three families through the vivid scenes presented in the Prezi. Students are then required to apply the concepts they learn to these three family contexts and respond to the online discussion questions.
The approach to assessing whether or not students have actively engaged in the forums and whether they developed their higher order thinking skills has not yet been fully developed. What is being considered are the data from Moodle analytics, analysis of the online discussions and analysis of the contributions to an individual Blog that students are expected to contribute to during their course.
This activity is in its development phase and therefore no results are available as yet.
As the initiative is in it’s development phase, the impact of the case study approach is not yet known.