Get ready for blended learning: tips by Genetic Counselling
Genetic Counselling enlists the support of a specialist learning designer to develop its new program.
Our Master of Genetic Counselling is a first for the Graduate School of Health. It’s delivered in what’s called a ‘blended mode’, utilising active online learning, and weekly live and online classes using Zoom, combined with blocks of 1-2 weeks spent on campus each session.
To help us deliver this, we’ve been working with Senior Learning Designer Emily Oquist and the postgraduate.futures team. Emily has 20 years’ of on the ground experience as an educator, and has specialised in learning design processes for ten years.
Sharing her extensive knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for rich learning experiences, Emily is supporting the development of the new Master of Genetic Counselling program that welcomes its first cohort of students next month.
Genetic Counselling’s Head of Discipline, Alison McEwen says, “What’s clear is that Emily is as passionate about the future generations of genetic counselling as we are. Her experience and zeal will help us deliver a course full of highly interactive, authentic learning experiences for our students in online and hybrid environments. In many ways, Emily is Genetic Counselling’s ghost writer. Students will experience Emily’s ‘voice’ and influence throughout the online aspects of the curriculum.”
Emily says that in her experience, many academics and teachers find working in the online environment unfamiliar and new. “While learning online has been around for quite a few years now, developing rich, engaging and active learning experiences is still quite cutting-edge.”
The Discipline wanted to make genetic counselling education more accessible to people unable to relocate to Sydney for the two-year program, broadening the availability of training. The team has been working with postgraduate.futures over the past year developing active online content and will continue working together as the program launches.
The curriculum provides almost daily opportunities for students to collaborate and interact with the Genetic Counselling team and peers. The weekly live and online classes offer regular opportunities for students to work together discussing key concepts and issues, practicing new skills, meeting experts in the field, debating ideas and reflecting on their learning.
“The live and online workshops, discussions and group work allow for students to be exposed to different approaches and ideas,” says Emily. “This will deepen students’ knowledge and promote critical thinking, as well as give them the opportunity to develop tacit skills such as communication, negotiation and teamwork.”
Emily has a few tips and suggestions for students about to embark on the program:
- Familiarise yourself with the learning environment – we’ll help with that during professional skills week when we’ll do Zoom training and set up ePortfolios in Canvas
- Log-in regularly – Canvas and Zoom are your virtual classrooms
- Join in with the online discussions – along with the weekly live and online workshops, the online discussions offer regular opportunities to engage and connect with your peers and with us
- Ask for help – the links to Zoom and Canvas support are included in your coursework
- Have fun! We’ve had fun designing the program, and we are looking forward to sharing it!