Facilitated online courses: A dedicated learning experience

In Cap-Net online courses a team of expert facilitators and a course coordinator closely follow progress, provide feedback to assignments and participate in forum discussions. Participants actively take part in the course: delivering assignments; participating in forums; and answering quizzes. This way Cap-Net delivers high quality facilitated courses with devoted coordination and facilitation.

Cap-Net online course differ from typical MOOC´s (Massive Open Online Course), which are usually self-paced or offer small level of interaction and coordination.

Course completion levels: thanks to this close coordination and facilitation, completion levels in Cap-Net online facilitated courses has been 41% for 2017 courses, way above global MOOC average , estimated in 15% (www.katyjordan.com/MOOCproject.html).

However, when discussing online courses it is key to understand some participants may enrol in an online course without the expectation to complete the course and earn a certificate, but rather want to have access to updated and quality knowledge. This is why completion rates in online courses are usually low, and according to experts, it is not the best indicator to consider, but something we all look at. Even taking this in consideration, Cap-Net courses are doing very well in terms of completion.

Participants´ performance in Cap-Net online courses is carefully followed up. Three categories are considered:

Active participants Visitors
Course completed participants who reached the minimum requirements’ established in each course (usually 40 points out of 100)

 

 

Course incomplete participants who obtained between 20 and 40 points. Showed some level of activity, but not enough to consider they completed the course.

 

Visitors

Obtained less than 20 points.

 

 

Courses design and expected participation: Cap-Net online courses are structured by modules which will run over 10 days, during which course participants must read basic contents and participate in suggested activities:

  • Read compulsory contents
  • Participate in the modules´ forum
  • Prepare an individual assignment (depends on each course)
  • Respond a set of multiple choice questions
  • Optional: Attend a webinar supported on WebEx

Participants also have access to recommended readings, videos, and suggested web sites.

Participants need to actively take part in the course: delivering assignments; participating in forums; and answering quizzes. This way there is certainty on the level of participation and commitment from participants.

The table bellows shows the number of assignments delivered (green), quizzes answered (yellow), and post in forums (blue) in 8 online courses delivered in 2017.

Course evaluations and impact monitoring: as in a typical face to face course, participants enrolled in a Cap-Net facilitated online courses are also asked to evaluate each course. This bring valuable information for Cap-Net and other course partners.

In 2017, the percentage of participants completing the course evaluation was aligned with the total number of “active participants” (which includes a % of participant who did not complete the course). This shows that for some participants it is essential to successfully finalize the course and receive a certificate, and that many participants follow all the course, regardless they deliver all assignments and activities to be considered approved.

Course evaluations and impact survey are run on Cap-Net´s Survey Monkey account.

Cap-Net´s support in the design and delivery of online courses and webinars: Initially courses delivered on the Virtual Campus were based on adapted Cap-Net training materials, while engaging technical partners who have been involved in the development of these packages for facilitation. However, over the past two years, more courses were delivered on initiatives driven by partner networks and international partners, especially tailored for online learning, further demonstrating Cap-Net’s relevance and responsiveness to demand on the ground.

The platform has been made available for networks and partners, where the Cap-Net secretariat involvement is primarily course coordination and technical backstopping. In some cases, the coordination has be taken over by networks and partners, providing direct ownership of delivery, which continues to be a major capacity development objective of knowledge transfer.

Cap-Net´s activities and support through the planning, preparation, and delivery of online courses includes:

Capacity development aspects:

  1. Course design guidance
  2. Guidance for materials preparations (module information, readings, videos, exercises, forums, quizzes)
  3. Course coordination
  4. Course progress support
  5. Course report and participants completion level
  6. Monitoring impact report

Technical aspects:

  1. Use of the virtual campus and WebEx for webinars
  2. Creating the course in the campus
  3. Building all course modules
  4. Creating a course poster
  5. Promoting the course (Cap-Net newsletter, Facebook page, LinkedIn)
  6. Creating an online application form
  7. Participants registration support
  8. Video editing
  9. Continuous technical support
  10. Support in live sessions (webinars)
  11. Creating a course evaluation form on Survey Monkey
  12. Design of course certificates

 

Technical support and security: Cap-Net Virtual Campus is hosted on a server in the US, and it is managed by IT Preneurs a company based in The Netherlands. Constant maintenance and back up are provided by this company. This ensures a correct and safe operation, and immediate availability of a technical team to solve any unforeseen situation.

In addition, the Cap-Net team has technical support staff for each of the courses, to upload and manage contents in the platform, edit videos, manage Webinars, manage campus users and course participants to ensure the correct operation of the campus and course progress.

If you are interested in working together with us please contact us at virtualcampus@cap-net.org and let us know your ideas for an online or blended course on one or more subjects on sustainable water management.

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