Teaching Matters

PS5 R3 Five lessons from students in Family History: Teaching older students online

Back to program

Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 1 December 20201 Dec 2020


Five lessons from students in Family History: Teaching older students online


  • Imogen Wegman, School of Humanities, CALE*
  • Kate Bagnall, School of Humanities, CALE


Digital connections

Presentation Type

Showcase Presentation


Room 3




As teaching teams look to the future, it is clear that learning online will become a norm for many students; and we need to build that into our pedagogical practices for all students. It is (perhaps falsely) assumed that younger students will be confident navigating online learning platforms; but as universities branch out into diplomas, short courses, and micro-accreditation, we see increasing numbers of the 40+ demographic entering university. The Diploma of Family History is targeted at precisely this group. Officially, our average student is a 40+ woman; in reality she is probably much older, and enjoying our subject as a post-retirement hobby. A lot of our students are not confident using computers to the level required for online learning.

Nonetheless, they enrol.

This presentation will share five lessons that we have learned about instilling confidence in our older learners, and about teaching them online. They are engaged learners; excited to be back in education. But for them to keep up we need to take smaller steps, explain the basics, and expect them to ‘break’ the technology. Despite the frustrations, this is rewarding work; as we see marked improvement in digital literacy and confidence, and our students reconnect into an ever more digital world.

Back to program