New international collaboration will make ‘online’ shine

Monash University’s School of Psychological Sciences has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with King’s College London, enhancing the prestige of Monash University’s psychology online education offerings, and providing a global platform for potential world-leading research into online learning, teaching and student support.

The collaboration sits within the recently formed Monash Online – Psychology Education Division (MO-PED), an idea initiated by Monash School of Psychological Sciences’ Dr Stephen McKenzie and Dr Filia Garivaldis, Course Convenors for the Graduate Diploma of Psychology – Advanced (GDPA)*1, and led by Associate Professor Matthew Mundy, the School’s Director of Education.

In late 2016, the GDPA launched the first phase of a remarkable online Psychology Research Portal. Believed to be the first portal of its kind in the world, the web-based tool allows all stages of the Honours online research process to be undertaken remotely, enabling Monash Psychology students to carry out their entire research projects online.

The synergies between Monash University and King’s College London soon became clear, with the latter also having a prestigious online teaching program and a shared link with Monash Online teaching partner, Pearson. It was through these similarities and a shared vision to exchange online education knowledge and academic expertise, that the collaboration was formed.

“This is a collaboration based on academic and research-related activities”, said Dr McKenzie. “Through our partnership, we now have valuable access to King’s College London online research and education expertise, which will allow for international comparisons of course features, processes and results. Subsequently, our online education research will inform optimal and evidence-based development and refinement of Monash online courses, specifically our Psychology courses, and will give Monash Online an international research and education identity. The collaboration will also provide important international opportunities for joint publications, and funding applications.”

Associate Professor Mundy added, “Translating online educational research into improving the pedagogy and satisfaction of the on-campus experience may also be key to expanding student numbers in years to come, whilst overcoming the traditionally limiting factor of physical space on university grounds.”

Professor Kim Cornish, Head of the School of Psychological Sciences, has expressed great enthusiasm towards the new signing and the many opportunities it brings.

“This is the first agreement of its kind for Monash University, and one that will see Monash University and King’s College London leading the world in online education research”, she said. “King’s College London is an internationally well-known and prestigious educational institution that has important and strategically valuable commonalities with Monash University, including a strong commitment to online education and online education research. Our collaboration with researchers and educators at the College will open up new online research, teaching and support opportunities to the benefit of our academic and educational staff and students alike.”

The first MOU steering committee meeting will be held in April 2017, which will be followed by a presentation by Dr McKenzie at the King’s College online education/research symposium in London on Monday 24 April, 2017. In addition, MO-PED researchers are currently writing a review paper on online education research, and hope to present early results of MO-PED online research at the World Conference on Online Learning in Toronto in October 2017.

*1 The GDPA (Graduate Diploma of Psychology – Advanced) is a fully online Honours’ equivalent fourth year Psychology course at Monash University.