Concordia University Excelling in the Online Learning Industry
Concordia Rated Top Five Online Teaching School
Concordia University ranks third with 32,401 online course registrations after the University of Waterloo and Laval University.
According to a 2018 report from the Canadian Digital Learning Research Association, 63 per cent of the two million students enrolled in post-secondary institutions are from Canadian universities.
Over 200,000 of those university students took at least one online course during the year, with just over 30,000 students coming from Concordia.
“That has been a big growth,” said Sandra Gabriele, the vice-provost for innovation, teaching and learning at Concordia.
Online instructor Michael Beigleman said that he wanted to contribute to the student body by providing a good learning experience for them.
“I teach an educational communications class,” said Beigleman “It provides students with a lot of exercises that allow students to communicate in educational contexts.”
In his online class of around 300 students, Beigleman said he tries his best to make sure the class is engaging.
“I have set up, throughout the term, some online sessions where I hold interactive webinars. Students can log-in to hear a lecture online,” said Beigleman.
According to Beigleman, this gives students the opportunity to deviate from reading all of the course content and instead of having it be lectured to them which builds a similar contact with their instructor as one would have in an in-person environment.
Gabriele explained there’s a noticeable influx of students enrolling in online courses because the institution understands that students’ expectations, regarding online education, are changing and can adapt.
“We design courses with full flexibility for them to be following courses on their phones, on their tablets, in a variety of different places,” said Gabriele. “We design in such a way that we present content in much more smaller chunks.”
Gabriele added that creating an online course is not an inexpensive option.
“So we know that an online course can roughly cost anywhere from $35,000 to even as much as $100,000 just to do the development but that doesn’t include the teaching time invested, the instructors, the teaching assistants so there isn’t a singular cost,” said Gabriele.
She added that in-person and online pedagogies should divide their course content into understandable blocks regardless because it prevents students from being overloaded with content and being discouraged.
“We are very proud of that, being in the top five,” said President and Chief Electoral Officer of KnowledgeOne Robert Beauchemin, the entity that manages eConcordia. “We use a lot of gamification in the development of our courses,” he continued.
He explained that when they develop a course, they add storytelling to the lectures and exercises in order to give purpose to the resolution of the exercises.
“For example, you are in a chemistry class and there is a crime scene investigation story above that, so you need to solve your chemical equations in order to solve the crime,” Beauchemin explained.
He believes that is why they have increasingly noticed students completing assignments in a matter of hours rather than on the day it is due.
Beauchemin mentioned eConcordia courses are not simply what he calls, “glorified PowerPoints.” He provided another example of an “innovative online learning experience ”With the online course Tolkien’s Old English.
“This one is basically an online course on medieval English where we talk about the birth of Smaug, the dragon, which is not documented in Tolkien,” said Beauchemin.
Aside from the strong visuals of the course, Beauchemin said enrolled students will make use of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s The Hobbit and the Tolkien corpus to understand ancient English dialects.