Open Training Education Network (OTEN) is constantly looking for new ways to improve the experience of its students and to achieve better educational outcomes. Engagement with the learner is a key element in course progression.
As Australia’s largest provider of distance education in Australia, OTEN understands that students participating in online education don’t have the same interactions as students at face-to-face colleges.
“Social interaction can make such a difference by changing the task of learning to an enjoyable one,” said Margaret Simpson, Manager - OTEN Completions Project.
OTEN is currently piloting iSee for delivery of online lectures. From within the immersive, iSee environment teachers delivered lessons from the front of virtual classrooms. They have access to interactive whiteboards, laser pointers and break-out discussion tables, just as they would in a real-world classroom.
“iSee offers all participants the freedom to roam around the environment. More than one conversation can occur in the same room without interference. The volume of each participant’s audio automatically decreases as individuals move away from each other (similar to what happens in a real life situation). Also it has features that can make lessons easier to set up,” said Margaret Simpson, Manager - OTEN Completions Project.
Students have face-to-face contact with their peers and teacher to engage and inspire them, just as they would in a physical classroom. By closely mimicking the appearance, format and ceremony of a real-world lesson, both student and teacher are able to interact effortlessly in the Cloud, building rapport, trust and mutual respect despite their geographical separation.
Importantly for remote and regional students, iSee requires around 70% less bandwidth than traditional video conferencing platforms, so students on less robust internet connections could still attend classes via iSee.
OTEN will run a second, larger test based on the success of the first pilot where:
- Students felt significantly engaged
- Rapport was easily established
- Increased ease of attending lessons (you can’t miss the bus in the Cloud!)
- Students were able to more easily balance their work, life, learning commitments
- Greater impact on student learning
- Students found the experience a fun way of learning
- Improved student outcomes.
“From OTEN’s perspective, iSee is very useful for teachers, as it can demonstrate real life scenarios (such as Property Auctions) in a teaching environment. For students, it gives them the opportunity to engage with one another. The environment is easily adaptable by the teacher, for example, creating different room designs and adding virtual furniture and landscapes.
“iSee has worked closely with OTEN in customising the tool to suit the needs of individual teaching sections. Teachers have reported that using iSee offers a fun way of teaching, with students demonstrating a high degree of engagement. Feedback from students has been very positive, with students requesting more sessions. iSee is quite a powerful tool for teachers.”
- Margaret Simpson, Manager OTEN Completions Project