— A Provider Success Story

Abstract-Technology is a digital agency for software solutions that designs and personalizes open source software and is a listed service provider of the Open edX® platform. We offer Open edX® implementations e.g. with BigBlueButton for the creation of interactive and diversified online courses. Our planning and implementation phase is very agile, which leaves room for individual requirements.

Organizing online courses for more than 50 or 100 participants has become mandatory. These courses should contain suitable videos, diversified exercises, as well as the possibility to perform tests and exams. Further they should provide interactive activities, such as a shared whiteboard and Questions & Answers.

The solution is simple and easy, thanks to the e-learning software solution provided by the Open edX® platform. With the right software and the right tools, nothing prevents you from running a webinar.

Classic or modern? 90-minute lectures passé?

Our experience has shown that 90-minute classroom lessons do not work in the digital world, since students quickly lose concentration and get easily distracted. Here are some best practices we have found work well to organize a webinar didactically and creatively:

Raise attention 

Did you know that 30-minute video clips correspond to about one hour of regular classroom lessons? 20-minute to a maximum of 30-minute videos are the most efficient method of presenting learning content and boosting students’ concentration.

Provide further information and content 

Short and powerful learning videos meet the needs of many learners, but do not cover all of them. We recommend providing additional learning resources, such as video transcription, additional information in text form, and graphics and/or diagrams.

Strengthen new knowledge 

Exercises and tests can be used to assess the student’s knowledge and offer the opportunity to strengthen and practice what has been previously learned. You can also monitor how intensive the learning videos and materials have been studied and use the resulting information for internal evaluation. As a general guideline for the creation of online courses, an average of 2 – 4 questions/exercises per video is sufficient to strengthen knowledge and assess comprehension.

Reflection and evaluation 

A general survey at the end of an online course or webinar provides useful information about the participants’ satisfaction regarding the organisation, content and quality. The survey results can tell you whether the approach of offering webinars and online courses is welcomed and/or to what extent it needs to be optimised.

The success of online courses is based on a combination of all the above-mentioned points. The outcome is an effective and exciting learning loop for students, which gives not only you, but also your participants, room for reflection and evaluation.

Remote teaching is a successful combination of prepared videos, live video transmissions, and exciting interaction options, such as real-time discussions and interactive “whiteboard tools”.

Technical requirements

To run online courses, you first need a Learning Management System (LMS), such as the e-learning software solution, Open edX® platform, a web conferencing tool, such as BigBlueButton, and a video server to store prepared videos and recorded live sessions. All these tools are open-source solutions and freely available without any additional license fees. They are actively maintained and developed by a large community.

What is the Open edX® platform?

The Open edX® platform is one of the world’s leading future-proof software solutions for e-learning. The platform was created to power edx.org, the online learning site founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012. The main focus is on knowledge transfer (via videos and text documents) and knowledge query via interactive problem types, such as multiple choice, text input, drag & drop, and so on. The software solution also offers communication options such as forums and chats to promote direct exchange between teachers and students.

What is BigBlueButton?

BigBlueButton is a professional open source solution for online and remote teaching. Among other things, the software enables the sharing of audio, video, slides, chat, and screen in real time. The use of different tools in one live session for knowledge transfer and query can have a motivating effect and a positive impact on the concentration of the course participants.   

What does BigBlueButton contain?

The web conferencing solution offers different additional tools and functions, such as 

  • an interactive whiteboard tool 
  • the functionality of hand-lifting
  • an integrated chat
  • the possibility of creating breakout rooms
  • the multi-user mode setting, which allows joint editing of slides, or exercises 
  • the possibility to record ongoing sessions 

The connection to the server with BigBlueButton is encrypted, which provides a high standard of data security.

Get in touch with us at https://abstract-technology.de/kontakt if you want to know more about how a proven learning loop works, combined with great open source software. Lifelong learning needs experts. If you have any questions or need further information regarding the Open edX® platform, or the integrations and extensions, we recommend joining the discussion forum at https://discuss.openedx.org/ where you can chat with the broad Open edX® community and take a look at best practices.