DL Conversation Series: Dean E. Grizzle – College of Health Sciences

Hello there,

For your viewing pleasure, here’s an interview with the Dean of the College of Health Sciences about the online Post Diploma in Pharmacy programme offered to students across the Caribbean.


“If you want to get something done, just do it! The UTech, Ja. community must realize that there’s an impending change in terms of teaching and learning and provide the necessary resources and plans in place to support distance and online delivery.”


Students from the first cohort graduated in November 2015.

-ODL Team-

Basic Training in Designing a Moodle Course is online!

Let’s Go BTO!!

Course Overview

The course is competency-based, tutor facilitated and is somewhat self-paced. All work will be completed and submitted online but will be assessed by the course facilitator and feedback sent to participants. The course takes approximately four (4) hours to complete but will remain open for two weeks after the start date. The course setting includes activity completion, that is, some activities must be marked complete before others can be accessed. The competencies are based on the activities required to complete a basic three unit MOODLE course populated with resources and one activity.
The skills and knowledge areas are assessed and badges are awarded for submitted pieces that have met the criteria stated in the rubric. The affective domain is noted through the participant’s expression in the forums and reflections.


The competencies for the course are clearly outlined on the course page and the rubrics are presented as a part of each assignment.
1. Initialize an online course by editing the required and desired features in the structure of the course (writing on the course presentation area)
2. Populate the course with resources
•embed a video on both a page and a label
•add labels
•compose a webpage
•link to a webpage by adding a URL page
•add files to the appropriate course unit
•create a folder and populating with multiple files
3. Apply Interactivity to course
•create a forum
•locate, edit and save student enrolment key
•assign role and add teacher or non-editing teacher to course


On successful completion of each unit a badge is awarded. On obtaining a pass mark on the quiz, a badge is also awarded. The certificate will not be issued unless the badges have all been earned. Whereas, the participant is free to download a certificate at the end of the course, the Office of Distance Learning will be responsible for producing the authentic copy of the certificate.


Click to enter the course!

From Design to Delivery

The Office of Distance Learning is ready to support all lecturers who would like to adapt their face-to-face sessions to the online environment.

The steps you take will depend on how you want to use the online environment. Web-assisted or web-enhanced modules are used to share information with students and there is little interaction online.

On the other hand, you may want to use the online environment to assess students, provide a wide range of resources and provide opportunities for them to interact with each other. Modules with a high level of interaction online range from blended to fully online.

The first chart describes the steps to be taken for web-assisted and web-enhanced modules. The second chart outlines the steps for blended and fully online modules.

The steps are highlighted here:
Web-Assisted Design to Delivery
Blended Design to Delivery

Social Presence for the Online

Social presence for the online learners fosters a high degree of learning and collaboration. It involves instructor presence and cognitive presence. This post looks at instructor presence. The aim of developing social presence is to build community in which each learner feels a sense of belonging and can own the learning. Learners who are left out in cyberspace to fend for themselves experience isolation, rejection and are justified to claim that they feel cheated.

What are some of the benefits of social presence?

  1. Much more learning takes place
  2. Learners are more likely to finish their course of study
  3. Learners gain confidence
  4. Critical thinking skills develop to an even greater degree because of activities such as peer review

How can the instructor achieve social presence?

  1. Make your presence be felt from the start! Send a welcome message to learners
  2. Encourage learners to update their profiles
  3. Use icebreaker activities to have learners get to know each other and be a part of the experience
  4. Choose activities that call for collaboration among learners such as forums, videoconferencing and workshops
  5. Do not make the class size too large, if large, form groups
  6. Contribute to the online discussions, it is not only for the learners
  7. Respond to questions and comments as often as possible
  8. Inform learners of ways to contact you, especially by email
  9. Take time out to know learners’ names and use it in the conversations
  10. Do not post warning messages to learners

Developing the 10x Approach

The 10x approach is a mindset we all need. The good thing is; it fits any job description. You can be a caterer, caretaker or as most of you who will read this- lecturers (or close enough). The approach is one widely used by Google and is all about making whatever solution you are developing ten times better, instead of marginal shifts. sales-forecasting-tips-e1411053827606[1]Here is an excerpt from one of their publications:

The notion of “10x thinking” is at the heart of how we innovate at Google. To put
the idea simply: true innovation happens when you try to improve something by
10 times rather than by 10%.
Astro Teller’s job title is Captain of Moonshots at Google X—the division of Google
that focuses on producing major technological advances, like self-driving cars.
Teller describes 10x thinking this way: “If you want cars to run at 50 mpg, fine, you
can retool your car a little bit. But if I tell you a car has to run on a gallon of gas for
500 miles, you have to start over.”
In other words, a 10x goal forces you to rethink an idea entirely. It pushes you
beyond existing models and forces you to totally re-imagine how to approach it.
Google Glass is an example of 10x thinking in action. Rather than focus on small
improvements to the mobile devices we’re all familiar with—our smartphones—we
set out to entirely rethink the mobile experience, deliver hands-free information and
let users “talk” with the Internet via natural-language voice commands. That led us
to re-imagine the form factor and tackle all sorts of design and operability issues
and use cases.
As we do our daily tasks developing online courses, or even face-to-face classes; any task that is meant to help other individuals- lets see how we can acheive it 10x. The results will be truly rewarding on both sides.