Educating for a sustainable future through the redevelopment of the online learning experience for off-campus students
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AbstractThis chapter reports on an ongoing project conducted at the School of Business and Economics at Monash University’s Gippsland campus. The aim of the project is to investigate and implement research-led approaches to learning that improve the educational outcomes of off-campus students. The project included the development of an online learning environment which “brings the university” to off-campus students and enhances their online learning experience. The project is informed by a constructivist approach to learning, the acknowledgement of different learning styles, the pedagogical requirements of the online learning environment, and the needs of students who study off-campus. It is part of an ongoing process to improve the quality of online learning and, due to its nature, continues to evolve. To ensure the future sustainability of off-campus education, it is important that students experience a learning environment that is both appropriate and meaningful. Within the context of this project, there is considerable emphasis on providing ongoing professional development to staff to ensure that the level of student engagement continues to improve. This is based on the premise that a well-designed website on its own is insufficient to foster engagement and student learning. Interaction between students and teachers is a key component of a rich learning environment, which, together with a well-designed website, enables a greater focus on meaningful interactions between staff and students.