Online learning courses have become incredibly popular recently, with numerous top-ranking universities and schools making their content available, often for free. Whereas organisations like edX and Udacity tend to focus on longer, university-level courses, Udemy has a wide range of free and paid-for courses covering a huge variety of topics – many of which can be helpful to ITGS students. In fact, given that studying online learning technologies is a key part of the ITGS syllabus (2.2 Education and Training), what better way to help students understand the benefits and drawbacks of this learning medium than to have them experience it first hand? Here are five of the best courses that won’t cost a penny:
Practical website projects are great learner activities for ITGS students, enabling them to understand many topics related to e-commerce, online marketing, multimedia, and accessibility – and of course, many students also create websites for their clients in their internal assessment projects. This very complete HTML 5 tutorial covers everything from basic HTML through to advanced functionality like geo-location (which is also a good chance to bring up social/ethical issues like privacy). Most students will only need the first two sections that cover HTML and CSS, but it is good to know that further reference material is there if needed.
Despite the name, this free Access course covers quite a lot of Access’ features, from basic table creation to query joins and forms. It is worth noting that the order of some of the lectures seems a bit strange (for example, queries and forms are covered before field data types), so it is better to pick the viewing order yourself. Despite this, the lectures are short and clear and make a good reference while Access is open in the background. This could be really useful resource to help ITGS students work at their own pace when studying databases or when developing their internal assessment projects.
This free course from Simon Sez IT covers something rather more advanced than most free Microsoft Office courses on Udemy: the mysteries of Pivot tables in Microsoft Excel. Given that this is not a beginner’s topic, some knowledge of Excel is assumed. The course is clearly divided into two sets of videos depending on whether you are using Excel 2010 or Excel 2013. This is another useful course to extend more able students who want to work independently, or for those who need the functionality for their internal assessment projects.
One solution that students sometimes choose for their project client is the creation of a video – often a promotional product designed to be shown online or at the client’s premises. Creating a professional looking video can be difficult – merely shooting with a typical compact camera and the built-in microphone is not enough for students to obtain the complex skills required for an ITGS project. In fact, the Guidance on Project Complexity document specifically mentions “Quality content captured for video using special hardware/software (such as external microphone, tripod, lighting or other special equipment)“. This Udemy course gives a wide range of tips on improving lighting, sound and image quality, and editing to help students get the best results. The editing section has separate videos for After Effects and Final Cut – two popular editing programs.
Another good activity to help students understand the social impacts of online learning would be to have them create their own mini online course. Done with a full class, the resulting products could then be used as revision aids or for future students. How to teach an online course is, you guessed it, an online course about how to create online courses. Covering the basics from hardware and software selection to presentation techniques, a lot of students could benefit from this. The tips would also be helpful when students have finished their internal assessment projects and are creating their screencasts.
For more resources relating to online education and the ITGS course in general, you can visit the ITGS textbook website. And if you know of other Udemy courses that might help ITGS students, please leave a comment below.