Create collaborative online units to support your classroom

Richard Andrew
How to create an online unit of work, based on collaborative and social learning principles, to support your classroom teaching. 12 hours
Target Audience
All secondary and middle school teachers.
12 reviews

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

This 16 week, hands-on, online learning journey is designed for secondary or middle school teachers who are keen to supplement their classroom teaching with quality, online components. The focus of the course is on creating quality, online units which promote collaboration and inquiry, based on social learning principles. In order to deliver quality social-online-learning units, an exceptional online platform is required. The course features one such platform – Open Learning – which is free for participants to use. However, participants are free to use other platforms. Tutorials will be provided for several platforms.
During the course participants will source videos, learn to create quality videos, deliver videos via ‘the cloud’, create a quality online unit of work, trial it with students and report back on their implementation experience. In other words this is very much a ‘doing’ course. Various technologies/software are recommended for Mac, PC, iPads, Android and Tablet PCs. (Note: Mathematics teachers interested in this course need to refer to the more specific ‘Flipped Maths Classroom’ course.)
The December date enables the course to be completed during the Christmas holidays, finishing mid Term 1. Accredited PD Hrs = 12


All secondary and middle school teachers.

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

A normal online course is delivered over 1-12 weeks and is worth from 3-12 PDhrs depending on the course content and its objectives. Participants will not need to take time off, the course date is the START date only, end dates will be advertised with course hours. Learn more HERE.

Are you a secondary or middle school teacher who is keen to ‘flip’ your classroom? If yes then this 16 week online course would be ideal for you. During the course you source videos, learn to create quality videos, deliver videos to students via ‘the cloud’, create a quality flipped unit of work, trial it with your students and report back on your experience. In other words this is very much a ‘doing’ course. A particular focus of the course is the creation of Flipped Mastery Units. ‘Activity explainer videos’, essential for such units, will be showcased. Flipped mastery units entail much more than ‘students watching lectures at home’ - they enable the teacher to become the facilitator and allow students to navigate the work in a self-directed manner. As a result class time is freed up for students to collaborate and explore ideas and for the teacher to work more fully with the students who require extra support. Flipped mastery units tend to engage students more fully because they are student centred.

This course is a companion to the highly successful ‘Flipped Maths Classroom’, and follows the same model, but obviously in this course the needs of non-maths teachers are met. The course recommends various software but caters for a range of technologies including Mac and PC computers, iPads and Tablet PCs.

The December date enables the course to be completed during the Christmas holidays, finishing mid Term 1. Accredited PD Hrs = 12

This course contributes to 12.0 professional development hours.


There are no occurrences of Online - Individual in Australia (ACT) at this time.


Session 1: Overview / Getting Started

30 minutes

Welcome, Meet your facilitator, Course requirements, Introductory post.

Session 2: Some important considerations

30 minutes

Types of online courses. Examples of online units. Quality online learning means student centered learning. The implications of student centered learning.

Session 3: Socially online with Open Learning

30 minutes

Social learning – What is it? How do we engineer it? What features do we ideally require in an online platform in order to create collaborative, social learning units.

Session 4: Types of videos

30 minutes

Options for creating videos. Four uses of teacher-generated video.

Session 5: Recording and editing videos

1 hour and 30 minutes

Multiple tutorials, including links to company tutorials, for creating screen casting videos for PC, Mac, iPads and tablets. Also tips for producing camera/phone videos. Editing tips.

Session 6: Video files, compression, streaming

1 hour

What you need to know about video file types. The advantages of compressing videos. Ideal video sharing options Google Drive, YouTube, Dropbox.

Session 7: Facilitation implications which affect design

1 hour and 30 minutes

Things you should know about facilitation and how they affect course design, including how to avoid a facilitator email tsunami.

Session 8: Planning and creating online units: Tutorials

2 hours

Detailed tutorials for creating an online unit of work based on social learning principles based on Open Learning but applicable to other systems. Clever ideas for online units, getting started, avoiding ambiguity, creating modules, pages, and activities, arranging course content, the decision re page, pdf or Google Doc, making content easy to find, dealing with images, and more.

Session 9: Course facilitation tutorials

1 hour

How to facilitate a course. Facilitation implications of various activities, setting up comment threads with facilitation in mind, the administering students.

Session 10: Activities which maximise collaboration between students

1 hour

Making the most of collaborative comment threads, a stimulus commenting activity with choice, student generated video assignments, utilising blogs, chat, groups, collaborative wikis and more.

Session 11: Review, implementations and miscellaneous

1 hour and 30 minutes

Tips on implementing your online unit. Suggestions for surveying your students. Submitting your implementation report. And some miscellaneous information.

Session 12: Course Completion

30 minutes

The final wash-up, including a short survey. That’s it!

User Rating


Latest Reviews

Please note the feedback listed here is unfiltered, and includes all comments and ratings collected.

Create collaborative online units to support your classroom
by Damian Brindley on 10/04/2017

Very useful and practical material.

Create collaborative online units to support your classroom
by Holly Akhurst on 29/03/2017

​I found both this course to be very valuable and would recommend. It required more hours in time than what was recognised e.g. 12 hrs recognised but I would have spent well over that completing the course, however, I do have a very useful resource that has saved me hours of term preparation.

Presenter Andrew, was outstanding. Very helpful and responded to things super quick

Create collaborative online units to support your classroom
by Jacinta Ebbott on 28/03/2017

The best aspects of the course were: the explainer/implementation videos of previous participants; learning to create screencast videos and learning how to incorporate online collaboration. I have been hugely inspired! Now I have to create online units for Ancient Rome and Ancient China because I don’t think my class will want to go back to the old way. Thank you Richard.

Create collaborative online units to support your classroom
by Frances Wiedersatz on 26/03/2017

For me the course was way out of my comfort zone and the implementation was difficult because of issues with the technology. I would say it was a very good course and the facilitator was helpful and remained positive.

Create collaborative online units to support your classroom
by Sonal Kumar on 14/03/2017

I found this course to be practical and useful in terms of developing my skills related to screen casting and also creating units using a LAMS tool such as Open Learning.

It enabled me to reflect on my teaching practice and I was able to actually implement something concrete which in other courses there is never enough time to do.

Create collaborative online units to support your classroom
by Vinita Nadan on 01/12/2016

Create online unit of work and give feedback on the implementation. The was very well paced and well designed.

Create collaborative online units to support your classroom
by Ilsa Gay on 01/11/2016

This course was so beneficial – it was one of the best professional development courses I have completed as it really made me utilise the new things that I have learnt. I was hoping to learn about creating and sharing my own videos and I have been able to successfully do that. Open Learning is a great platform that will allow me to build the online courses that I had always want to use in my classroom. You will be proud to hear that I have spent a lot of these holidays creating a course for Year 12 IPT that I will be implementing next week! I had already shown the students the course that I created for year 10 and they were really keen to give it a try themselves. One of the best aspects of the course is that it is self paced and I can keep going back over the content when I need it. It was also lovely to have positive feedback and to see what others were working on. It is a lot of work to develop the courses, but I feel that it is definitely worth it, and another positive change for me is that it has helped me revisit my programs for some subjects and to improve the logical progression of lessons that I had planned.

Create collaborative online units to support your classroom
by Simone Piercy on 11/08/2016

I found this course very interesting and relevant to our schools focus this year"21st Century Learning" and engaging students.

Create collaborative online units to support your classroom
by Maja Tancheski on 08/08/2016

I really enjoyed participating in this course. It was easy to follow along (the OL platform) and very structured. Richard provided feedback and comments almost straight away and it was great working with other teachers and sharing ideas. Thank you!

Create collaborative online units to support your classroom
by Suzanne Karamitsos on 12/05/2016

I found the course very easy to understand and interesting to apply learning content in a new and improved method. I value the ideas and methodologies presented.

Create collaborative online units to support your classroom

Initially I was very disappointed with the course. Its description did not meet what actually happened. Too much time spent on creating and editing video. The course pushed for ONE platform – Open Learning. If the course had clearly stated it is a very long (too much content for the time allocated) process to learn how to use Open Learning, it may have been easier to accept what was being asked of me.

I feel the Unit/formats are not essentially collaborative at all. The notion of collaborative learning is that students are working together to solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product. It is based on the idea that learning is a naturally social act. The examples provided demonstrated how videos are used to curate or cover content/concepts explored in class. This obviously works well for subjects dependent on formulas.

I have found some use for the Open Learning platform. It allows you to flip the classroom like Edmodo.

Some features are useful to monitor student progress, however, you cannot see what time was spent on the task etc. You can essentially click on the page navigation and this will record that work was done.


Response from Presenter [Richard Andrew]

The description of the course is, in my view, a very accurate description of the course. In regard to ‘pushing Open Learning’, as is noted in the description and explained throughout the course, this is true. The reason: Open learning is an (unusually) excellent social learning online course system. In order to create a course like this I need to use a particularly good social/collaborative online system, one in which a collaborative course can be created as well as being able to ‘lay a course out’ to be reused in future years. Therefore I use OL as an online course building frame of reference. However, as is continually explained throughout the course participants are not locked into using OL at all. The OL demonstrations provide ideas which can be replicated in other systems.

In regard to ‘Too much time spent on creating and editing video’ - being able to create simple instructional video is hugely advantageous when creating a blended learning environment. However, this section should not take significant time and I have made changes to ensure poeple do not get ‘bogged down’ in this section.

There is one aspect to the feedback, however, which I will be making changes around - 'I feel the Unit/formats are not essentially collaborative … collaborative learning is (where) students are working together to solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product.’ There is no doubt in my mind that the course does support participants in how to create collaborative units. However I will be addressing this more clearly in future. I am particularly grateful for this aspect of the feedback.

Create collaborative online units to support your classroom
by Rosanna Cox on 14/02/2016

The course was at times quite challenging and difficult to find the time for towards the end of the year when student marking and reporting was at its busiest. It did, however, encourage me to keep making time and work through stuff I always wanted to do but could never get around to.

About the team

Richard Andrew


Richard has taught in 3 states and territories of Australia over the past 25 years and has been Head of Mathematics at Oxford Falls Grammar School for 6 years. He has developed a teaching style which is interactive and relational, directed yet open ended, and which fosters individual progression, higher-order thinking, and collaborative learning. Richard is a passionate campaigner for conceptual learning; his professional journey continues to lead him to discover more and more ways of teaching mathematics conceptually and he delights in sharing these with other teachers.