Getting Started

Hello, my name is Roger Harrison and I am a senior lecturer on a fully online distance learning course in public health at University of Manchester, UK ( I’ve been a course unit leader and tutor on this programme for about seven years now, and developed and written three new units as part of this. The international student base, many working across a range of public health organisations and settings makes the work interesting and highly rewarding at times. From an online learning design aspect, it raises a number of important questions. For example some people wishing to take the course will not have good internet connections, and many will be working and with different time zones for international students – thus the balance of synchronous and asynchronous activity, amongst other things.

Recently I’ve become more interested in pedagogy for online vocational training and have been thinking through a learning aim I’m calling “In Time Learning” which follows on from what used to be called Just In Time learning.

I’ve been a student on two MOOCs in the past and am likely to be involved in writing one hopefully this year as well. I find the number of students on a MOOC quite daunting, because I want to try and read all the postings – of course this is impossible. I also find the more organic approach challenging too – having had so many years as a student and then as a tutor on more structured teaching programmes. But then I suppose a MOOC is structured but just in a different way.

This is my first blog page so apologies if it is not too trendy but perhaps over time I’ll get chance to make it more appealing!


"a technophobic in recovery" . Hello - I'm a senior lecturer at the University of Manchester, England. My subject area is Public Health. I spend most of my time teaching postgraduate students on a fully online distance learning programme in public health and primary care. I have come from a research background in public health and primary in the UK National Health Service. My main research & public health interests include the evaluation and impact assessment of public health interventions. I have published papers on randomised controlled trials, cross sectional studies and systematic reviews. My teaching and learning interests, more recently pursued, include pedagogy for vocational postgraduate students in an international context; the use of web-based technology for learning; Open Learning and MOOCs and the development of critical thinking skills and research training.

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