Professor Direct is run by a company called Straighterline, a host of self-paced online courses.
Professor Direct allows instructors to establish the value of the course they offer, by establishing the size of the cohort, the services they will provide and the price point for these services. The company charges a base fee and instructors add their price to this. StraighterLine also offers instructors commissions for attracting students.
The online outcome of this project, a tool called the Pedagogical Pattern Collector, uses technology to engage teachers in play – in ways that help them make decisions about pedagogy and practice, and focus on what is important in their own teaching practice.
Professor Diana Laurillard, Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies at the University of London Institute of Education, and Principal Director of the LDSE project mentions that this tool was developed to encourage teachers to be innovative in helping their students learn. It is designed for teachers and lecturers to allow them to think about teaching practice, learning design and curriculum components, whilst modelling different kinds of teaching and learning activities on the computer canvas.
Patricia Charlton, a researcher on artificial intelligence, cognitive science and technology enhanced learning at the London Knowledge Lab, and Research Fellow of LDSE, describes how the system they have developed expands and grows through the interaction between the system, individual teacher users and the community of users.
Dr Liz Masterman, who leads the pedagogical research and evaluation activities, explains how useful the tool is for making the transition from face-to-face learning to online learning, where you need to redesign what is delivered and accessed online.
Professor Laurillard makes the point that the system actually captures pedagogy. It provides opportunities to map how teachers will teach and to visualise learning design. She affirms that use of the tool generates a reflective, iterative process where teachers adopt, adapt, test, reflect and publish – a cycle of reuse and change that supports innovation.
How teachers use the PPC Browser environment
Select a pedagogical pattern
Insert elements related to specific learning outcomes
Adapt the pattern to create a customised teaching session or unit of work
Specify and sequence the activities related to outcomes and even link to online sites and forums etc
Monitor the ratio of time spent of individual learning activities
Save and export templates to hard drive
Open the PPC Designer, where the adapted template can be customised and developed to create a new unique learning design
The PPC Abstractor can be used to modify and abstract specific elements in the outcomes and save a generic template of this design so it can be shared with other users of the tool.
Collection of pedagogical patterns included in LDSE
Effects of system input on output
Evaluate multiple interpretations
Predict observe explain
Guess my x-process-object reationship
Teach to learn
Understanding authentic practice
Learning concepts through contrasting cases
Understanding critical factors in system
Evaluating practical implications of theoretical perspectives