A model of online teaching and learning
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Deakin University has a long history of supporting distance education with technology. Such presentations have matured from a mix of remote-login/FTP/email in the 1980s through web mediated access in the 1990s to institution-wide learning management systems which are emerging currently. By the commencement of semester 1, 2003, online teaching at the University will be supported by a single, institution-wide, learning management system, which is expected to support approximately 28,000 students, who will each be accessing up to 4 of some 1500 undergraduate and 700 postgraduate courses. In this paper we describe a model for online teaching of both on-campus and off-campus students in the Bachelor of Computing, using various technologies to support different aspects of online teaching and learning. This programme has been running in a web-mediated environment for over six years. Each year the administration of the programme has been modified in a reactive manner, based on student feedback and the identification of failure points during the previous semester, resulting in the model maturing over that time. We discuss how the changes have impacted the model, the academics involved in the teaching of the unit and the students’ experience of learning in the online environment. We also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of online teaching and learning, as well as some potential pitfalls and how to avoid them, or, at least, minimise their impact.