Partner blog: Collaborative online course – a pilot

The potato webinar got many interested participants.

Our external Norwegian project partner,, wanted to make an online course based on three webinars. They are at the starting line of establishing an online senior university. After some preparations they decided that they would rather make a pilot with a smaller number of participants than their original plan to provide a fully-fledged course. The pilot became a Nordic experiment, with the organizer located in North-Norway, the lecturers in Iceland, the technical support in South-Norway, and the participants scattered in the north and south of Norway and Sweden.

The pilot had a simple course design with the “LMS” in a Facebook group, the lectures on Thursday evenings in May and June, for one and a half hour, not much home work, and no final test.

As this was part of our webinar project where we try to develop interactivity and collaboration. Facilitating interaction was of course important, using for example polls on relevant issues, small assignments done by the lecturer, and discussions in small slots.

The organizer arranged for training and testing and preparations of technical equipment. In spite of thorough preparations the technical problems were distracting. Different kind of sound problems, and particularly sound problems due to not using headsets were disturbing. Presentation disturbances due to missing competence of how to handle the power point slides was another distraction. As one of the participants said: “The webinar concept was interesting. The technical problems we met could easily be solved – and then it is fine”. The pilot has revealed the challenges of using webinar in a course, and the disturbances and problems should be easy to resolve for the next course.

The 6-8 participants found this way of collaborating in a course very interesting, and one of them expressed: “I would like to go to more course webinars, and I will also recommend it to others.”

The organizer was also, to some extent, satisfied with the pilot, and concluded like this:
“This is a nice concept that helps us reach out to people everywhere, and it is worthwhile to develop it further.”

POTATO WEBINAR has taken another step. Recently they organized a virtual seminar during the week of “Forskningsdagene” (a week for dissemination of research results). The theme of this seminar was discussing different varieties of potato. They had participants in five-six locations, most of them on video transmission. Questions and answers as well as discussions took place in a most satisfactory manner.

About Norwegian external partner,
is a non-commercial educational network that organizes 42 study centers in 16 municipalities. The network is a national structure for tertiary education and lifelong learning.


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