Attaining 21st century skills online: A programmatic approach

Brunton, James, Costello, Eamon, Farrell, Orna and O'Keeffe, Noeleen (2018) Attaining 21st century skills online: A programmatic approach.


This case study reports on the practical use of technology to support a programmatic approach to achieving learning outcomes. This is achieved through the provision of appropriate opportunities for online distance learning (ODL) students to achieve the range of 21st century skills needed to manage the complexity of future problems and continue to be critical consumers and producers of knowledge throughout their lives. A programme-focused assessment strategy is utilised on an ODL Humanities programme with a distributed, modular provision model, in order to satisfy related learning outcomes. This strategy allows for the deployment of a range of assessment types, many of which are only possible through the current affordances of online learning, for example, wiki-building in groups and debates using discussion forums. Both the students and the majority of the academic staff are off-campus, with technology providing the means for interaction and communication relating to assessment of learning outcome achievement. Technology is also the medium through which the off-campus subject experts who develop assessments receive appropriate, professional development such that they understand the pedagogical approaches and technological solutions available for assessment and feedback design and development. This paper will present the model through which this professional development takes place, and the way in which a team-based approach is used to ensure the appropriate design and development of assessments and related feedback mechanisms.

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