Rodosthenous, Christos; Constantinou, Evgenia; Themistocleous, Panagiotis
Empowering Educators with Digital Skills in a Distance Learning University Presentation
Empowering Educators with digital skills in a distance learning University
The new digital era and the new learning trends, overtake the traditional model of education and training. Educators need to acquire and harness new digital skills to cultivate a more open and transparent research lifecycle. The Open University of Cyprus (OUC) is the only public higher education institution in Cyprus that offers recognized academic programmes at higher levels of education, using the open and distance learning methodology. The academic programmes offered by the OUC are international, career-oriented and fit the needs of a continuously evolving economy for the development of new skills and new career paths. These programs include undergraduate, postgraduate, PhDs and vocational training courses which are delivered online, through a state of the art eLearning platform that supports virtual classrooms, coursework submissions, content delivery and a suite of collaboration tools.
In this work, we present the methodology and infrastructure used to train and empower the educators of the Open University of Cyprus (OUC) in using the information tools, the library resources and knowledge content available, while delivering online courses to students.
Furthermore, we emphasize on the infrastructure that supports the educational methodology, which includes the eLearning Platform and the Library services. This infrastructure is also used for supporting the creation of educational content suitable for distance learning. Moreover, a detailed analysis of the training needs is presented, followed by the steps taken to design and deliver a training course appropriate for the OUC educators. This training course is delivered during the academic year and includes various formats of training material, such as electronic resources, digital objects and webinars.
In this technological environment, the OUC Library Service aims to provide a wide range of electronic as well as conventional sources such as international databases, e-Journals, e-books, digital collections and resources, offering comprehensive knowledge to its members and to the whole academic community.
Training programmes are provided, on how to use the electronic library through the eClass eLearning platform, aiming to familiarize its users in searching and retrieving data from electronic information sources, repositories and archives that the Library Service offers them access to.
In addition, distance seminars are provided to educators on how to use the “Kypseli” digital repository, search and upload theses and dissertations published throughout the academic year. In parallel, training on how to prepare their digital collections for hosting them on the digital repository is also delivered to interesting parties. Focus is also given on informing educators and researchers for publishing their work using Open Access.
The results of the training process are supported by analytics gathered during the years of application. These analytics include metrics of educational material usage, watch times for on-demand videos and participation in the online seminars.
Concluding this work, we aim in sharing our experiences of training and supporting the academic community of the OUC with the rest of the information specialist communities that share a common interest in this cause.