Summer of learning at University of Huddersfield

The Teaching and Learning Institute logoThe TALI team has put together a selection of staff development for our University of Huddersfield colleagues – please join us for some Summer learning.

 

 

 

 

Supporting disabled students in a changing funding landscape – implications and opportunities for teaching and learning, Wednesday 29th June, 9.30-11.30

This session led by Jo Mitchell, Senior Disability Officer, Student Services, will address the changes to the disabled students allowance (DSA) and the potential impact this will have on teaching and learning for disabled students. The session will include a presentation on the changes and the opportunity to discuss the impact of the changes on their areas of work, how staff can address the impact to maintain student engagement and achievement and the potential for changing/developing current teaching and learning practice to address the needs of disabled and non-disabled students alike. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/changes-to-the-disabled-student-allowance-tickets-25544387952

 Games for teaching and learning, Thursday 30th June, 9.30-12.00

In this session Cheryl Reynolds and Andrew Walsh will explore the potential benefits, challenges and caveats of gamification. This will include a brief account of the use of gamification to teach Bourdieu’s field theory to trainee teachers and participants will be able to devise a prototype design for a game for use in their own teaching practice. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/games-for-teaching-and-learning-tickets-25564820065

Using Lego for learning, Tuesday 5th July, 14.00-16.00

Andrew Walsh, Academic Librarian, (CLS) and National Teaching Fellow and University Teaching Fellow will introduce attendees to the idea of using Lego to facilitate learning through the use of metaphor and little plastic bricks.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/using-lego-for-learning-tickets-25542745038

Teaching ShareMeet, Wednesday 6th July, 12.15-13.30

ShareMeet is an informal session with the opportunity for members of staff to do a 10 minute presentation/talk to share an aspect of their practice. The Teaching and Learning Institute coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning. Join our Summer session to hear from the following colleagues:

  • Liz Bennett: Benefits of Peer Marking
  • Michael O’Grady: Engaging students
  • Daniel Belton: Developing student competence with specialist software using video-enhanced and discovery/inquiry-based learning
  • Laura Woods: Using online interactive resources and videos to allow self-directed learning and reach students at point of need
  • Alison Sharman and Bryony Ramsden: Mapping how international students study
  • Phil Drake: A pedagogy of student empowerment: creating reflective, autonomous and ethical learners.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/summer-sharemeet-tickets-25536712996

Academic Blogging, Thursday 7th July, 9.30-12.00

This hands-on session will cover an introduction to creating an academic blog which includes setting up a blog site and understanding the basics of the WordPress blogging platform. In this session, Kathrine Jensen and Olaojo Aiyegbayo will explore the benefits of academic blogging (individual and group) and there will be a discussion about what makes an engaging blog post and more. Participants will also be shown how to promote their blog posts using social media.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/academic-blogging-tickets-25544209418

Posted by Kathrine Jensen (@kshjensen), Research Assistant, Teaching and Learning Institute. The Teaching and Learning Institute coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning. Follow TALI on Twitter

Posted in academic practice, Learning experience, pedagogy, professional development, student engagement, Teaching | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Teaching online to teach online

The Teaching and Learning Institute logoThe Teaching and Learning Institute is gathering short case studies of academic practice to enable colleagues to share their approaches to teaching and learning more widely and encourage interdisciplinary and interprofessional learning.

The Teaching and Learning Institute coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning.

In this case study, Dr Sue Folley, academic development advisor from computing and library services, writes about developing a course to support staff teaching online.

The Background

Through a combination of undertaking of an MSc in Multimedia and eLearning (2003-2005) and personal experience of teaching online as part of the Specialist Conference for the School of Education and Professional Development (2009-2012), I realised that the culture of teaching and learning in a wholly online context, and the skills needed from the tutors, were very different from the ones that were used in the traditional face-to-face environment. Because of this I based my doctoral studies on the tutor experience of teaching online (EdD gained in 2013).

From this, I realised that we, as an institution needed to develop some further support for staff in this area, as all we had in place were short staff development sessions, of about 1-2 hours on individual tools that could be used in teaching and learning. What was needed, was something more substantial that immersed the tutors into the online learning context and showed them through modelling good practice, in addition to discussion about and exposure to new tools, how an online course could be. The other thing I noticed both from my EdD work and just through discussion with academic staff about teaching online, that there was a degree of negativity about it, as people had often been given no choice of teaching online, and their preferred method was the face-to-face context. Instead of just embracing the task on hand, the staff tended to look for negatives about teaching online, rather than being open-minded about what was on offer. I wanted to change this perception and show that although online teaching is different, it has some advantages over teaching face-to-face (as well as some disadvantages), but more importantly, it can be engaging for staff and students, as well as a rewarding teaching experience.

So in 2013, I decided that I needed to create a staff development course to address some of these objectives. I did some research online and found that a course to help teach how to facilitate online had been devised by Carr et al (2009) from the Centre for Educational Technology, University of Cape Town, created with a Creative Commons Share Alike licence for adaptation and reuse. It needed some updating to include newer tools and technologies, and adapting for our context at the University of Huddersfield, but otherwise the structure and some of the contents were ideal to use as a start point for developing the type of course I had in mind. I also thought that it would be a lot of work to develop and run alone, so I needed a partner in crime, so I approached a colleague from the School of Human and Health Sciences who had been given a remit to support staff in his School in teaching online, Stephen White, to see if he was willing to collaborate on this, and luckily he agreed. Stephen had taken the same MSc in Multimedia and eLearning as me, and was very experienced in online teaching. Developing the course fit in well with his role, as it gave Stephen a structured way to support the staff teaching online in his School. So we began developing the course using the one I had found as a basic structure, but adapting most of the content to our needs. It took a few months to develop the Facilitating Online course, but now, almost three years later, we have run seven cohorts of the course with a further one planned later this year and we have had 75 staff across the University attend the course.

The Facilitating Online Course

The course runs for five weeks wholly online to give the participants the student perspective of taking part in an online course. Each week is a stage of online learning: Week 1 – Applying; Week 2 – Participating; Week 3 – Facilitating; Week 4 – Creating; and Week 5 – Applying.

Each week we provided the same structure of activities to model good pedagogic practice of keeping to patterns of delivery, so each week contained the following elements:

  1. A short welcome video introduction from one of the tutors – to model how this can help build social presence and humanise the online learning process.
  2. A written introduction outlining what the week is about and which skills of online facilitation the week will be covering, and how it fits into the overall objectives of the course.
  3. Some appropriate pre-reading (selected by us) usually combining a mix of pedagogic journal articles, blog posts, videos and other web-based resources.
  4. A small task to ease the participants into the topic, this was designed to take no longer than 30 mins and was usually fairly easy and often light-hearted.
  5. A larger task for the week to explore the topic further, setup to take about an hour, and this took various formats including participating in discussion board tasks, group wikis, and creating artefacts.
  6. A synchronous webinar to give the participants a chance to get together online to discuss the week’s activities, led by the tutors and help build a learning community.
  7. A private reflective blog post, for the participants to each reflect on the week’s activities and readings.

The technologies we have used for the course include:

  • UniLearn (Blackboard) to host the course, to model good practice of the University’s VLE.
  • Yammer as a social network for informal discussion and networking and this was used for some of the tasks to model how the students need to build social presence and a community of practice.
  • UniConnect (Adobe Connect) for the weekly webinars to model synchronous webinars, discuss the week’s activities both in terms of how the participants engaged with the tasks, and how they may use similar tasks with their students in the future. We also demonstrated some of the monitoring tools they could use.
  • UniLearn’s in-built tools including discussion boards, Campus Pack wikis and blogs, to model the use of these with online students.
  • Doodle polling tool to arrange tutorials with the tutors.
  • The participants also had to create an artefact which included an audio and visual element, so had a choice of tools for this with ranging from PowerPoint to mobile apps and Camtasia screencasting software.
  • The tutors also used UniLearn’s in-built monitoring tools to monitor activity and chase up any non-participants or those not completing in the expected timescales. These included the Performance Dashboard statistics, the Module Reports, each task having to be marked as reviewed once completed.

As part of the course, the participants also develop an online activity to run at a later date with their students. This is developed throughout the course under the guidance of the tutors, and gives the participants a tangible outcome that can be implemented in practice. The online activities are also shared with the other participants on the course, so they develop a good understanding of a variety of potential applications of technologies to different teaching and learning contexts.

We have also aligned the course to the University’s Digital Literacy Grid (to be used in appraisals to assess and plan development in learning technologies for academic staff) as well as in order to meet our University’s interpretation of the QAA’s requirement to ensure staff are trained to deliver courses in the appropriate format.

The course has also been supported by my placement students (one per year), who help develop and update the course, test out the technology, monitor course activity and support the participants with various aspects of the technology. This helps us provide a really good support service to participants, as well as give the placement student some interesting and rewarding work to get involved with, as well as building their employability skills.

Course Feedback

The course has received overwhelmingly positive reviews and just a sample of the qualitative feedback comments from the participants in the anonymous evaluation survey are as follows:

  • I have thoroughly enjoyed the course. It has heightened my awareness of the range of tools available to enhance the student experience of DL [Distance Learning]
  • The course has shown me how a DL course should be set up. The standards were very high
  • I really enjoyed this course. I have learnt some good techniques for improving my own courses and have gained confidence. I would recommend this to others. For some lecturers this should be part of their training so as to open their minds about what is available for teaching
  • Great course, 75% relative to all teaching… not just Online. A must for all academics!
  • An excellent course, helped by the fact that the tutors were both knowledgeable and enthusiastic
  • Everyone should be encouraged to complete this course – this will improve the delivery of my modules.
  • Very well done to our tutors, you are all to be congratulated for the best course I have been on in my education career.  I have learned so much about online learning but I have relearned so much about sound educational practice.
  • I immensely enjoyed the course, learned a great deal from it and shall continue to do so.  The last 5 weeks has enhanced my teaching, my knowledge and my online skills.  I shall miss the course.  Thanks to all the facilitators for making their time and expertise available in this way.  I am very grateful.

Future Plans

Each time the course has run, we have reviewed it both in light of our experiences and observations but also as a response to the feedback from participants (both formal through the evaluation survey and informal through comments or questions about the tasks or in their blog posts). The instructions to tasks have been updated to reduce potential misunderstandings; links to support and help made clearer; blog posts have been templated; and checklists added to each week. Several activities have been changed, removed and added, resulting in the seventh version of the course being quite a departure from the first one, and we have further changes already planned before the next cohort runs.

We have plans to develop the course to appeal to those who are interested in incorporating technology more in their face-to-face or blended delivery formats or used flipped classroom approaches, in addition to those who are teaching or planning to teach wholly online. One of the most positive outcomes of the course, is the feedback from participants about how much taking the course has impacted on their current teaching practice.

On the whole, we think that the course has been a success and Stephen and I have presented it at an international conference, as well as having an invited journal paper in progress. Delivering the course, although time-consuming, has been a really positive experience and hugely rewarding. 

References

Carr, T., Jaffer, S., and Smuts J. (2009). Facilitating online: A course leader’s guide. [Online]. Retrieved: 21 December 2015.

Folley, Susan (2013) Bridging the gap between face-to-face and online teaching : a case study exploring tutors’ early experiences of teaching online in a UK university 2009-2012. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Posted by Kathrine Jensen (@kshjensen), Research Assistant, Teaching and Learning Institute. The Teaching and Learning Institute (TALI) coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning. Follow TALI on Twitter

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Writing ‘boot’ camp to foster proactive and supportive writing cultures for undergraduates.

The Teaching and Learning Institute logoThe Teaching and Learning Institute is gathering short case studies of academic practice to enable colleagues to share their approaches to teaching and learning more widely and encourage interdisciplinary and interprofessional learning.

The Teaching and Learning Institute coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning

In this case study, Cheryl Reynolds, senior lecturer in the School of Education and Professional Development, writes about using writing ‘boot camps’. As part of a two-year, blended learning degree in Education, undergraduates need to develop the confidence and expertise to write convincingly about their own educational research. One way to support this is to foster proactive and supportive writing cultures for undergraduates. A two-day, writing ‘boot camp’ that sought to initiate such a culture was devised.

Why did you decide to try this out?

Many students struggle to meet the challenge of writing academically and were frequently requesting more emphasis on academic strategies and skills. However, support for academic writing in the institution is preponderantly remedial in character, coming as help from academic skills tutors for struggling writers or as feedback and feed-forward on problematic aspects of finished work. The need to establish proactive cultures that model and foster good writing as the writing is taking shape has been convincingly argued for at doctoral level (Kamler & Thomson, 2014) but scant attention has been paid to the potential benefits of such a culture introduced for undergraduates.

Where did you get the idea from?

The idea came from my own participation as a postgraduate student in a Thesis Boot Camp run at the University by Dr Peta Freestone.  I felt there was potential for this kind of approach to be used productively with undergraduates, too.

What were the benefits and challenges for you?

The Boot Camp was relatively easy to initiate and organise. The supporting materials were adapted from the Thesis version mentioned above and thereafter, all that was needed was to set a date and book a suitable room, explaining the idea to students and sending interested students some preparatory emails.  These, too were adapted from those I had been sent for Thesis Boot Camp.   We booked students onto a register, sent them joining instructions and delivered the event.

The benefits students reported included a sense of liberation from an overly anxious ‘internal editor’ which increased the speed with which they were able to write and the quality of their academic voice in the final written work. They also described some productive shifts in their relationship to the text, and in their scholarly identity.

What’s next?

These findings indicates that this approach potentially has a range of attendant benefits that make it worthy of further development and wider take-up at undergraduate level. Our second writing boot camp to help students working on their Reflexive Study will take place in May.  We are currently writing a collaborative paper on this intervention which has been accepted for presentation at the Association for Research in Post Compulsory Education Conference in July and I am writing a single-authored paper which has been accepted for presentation at the Standing Conference  on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults.

Kamler, B., & Thomson, P. (2014). Helping doctoral students write: pedagogies for supervision. London; New York: Routledge.

Posted by Kathrine Jensen (@kshjensen), Research Assistant, Teaching and Learning Institute

The Teaching and Learning Institute coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning. Follow TALI on Twitter

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Personalised library support for academic staff

The Teaching and Learning Institute logo

The Teaching and Learning Institute is gathering short case studies of academic practice to enable colleagues to share their approaches to teaching and learning more widely and encourage interdisciplinary and interprofessional learning.

The Teaching and Learning Institute coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning.

In this case study Penelope Dunn, Subject librarian, Computing & Library Services, writes about developing personalised library support activities to promote the usage of library resources. These activities are part of the outcomes of the Library Impact Data Project (LIDP), which provided evidence of a correlation between library usage and student attainment (White & Stone, 2010).

Why did you decide to try this out?

Following research conducted at the University of Huddersfield which found that different academic schools used the library to varying degrees and in different ways (Stone, Sharman & McGuinn, 2015; Stone, Sharman, Dunn & Woods, 2015), we decided to take a targeted approach when marketing services to our users.

In January and February 2015 desktop visits, personalised library support appointments, were offered to academic staff in schools where student use of the library was low. Academics staff were identified as core figures the promotion of library resources and therefore by raising staff awareness of resources they could in-turn recommend them to students where appropriate.

Subject Librarians contacted each academic individually via a personalised email offering them an appointment; they were asked to sign up for an appointment via Google forms. The forms listed topics that could be covered in the desktop visit e.g. Summon, using the repository and setting up journal alerts but also had a section where the academic could identify additional items they wanted to discuss.

Initially, only a few academic staff booked desktop visits although it did open up the dialogue for other queries via phone or email. Following suggestions to have them later in the year we contacted staff again in June 2015, we also widened our focus to include other academic schools. The offer of appointments in June was more popular and more desktop visits were held.

What were the benefits and challenges for you?

The main challenge we faced was actually getting the visits booked in with academics due to their busy workload however, by offering them in June we did receive more requests for appointments so we have decided to take this forward for 2016.

The desktop visits were beneficial for us as we were able to learn more about individual academics research areas (if they had asked for research support) so we can better advise them in the future. It was also a good opportunity for us to promote resources staff may not have used before or had not used to their full potential. Academics were then able to promote these resources to their students and even include them on their reading lists.

Staff feedback:

Positive feedback was received from all academic staff who requested a desktop visit as the content was relevant as it covered specifically what they had requested and they appreciated that the library came to them.

What’s next?

We are planning to offer the desktop visits again this summer and we will hopefully be able to offer them to more academic schools. We published some articles discussing our desktop visits and other engagement activities in more detail, you can find it here:

Stone, G., Sharman, A. & McGuinn, K. (2015) Using library impact data to inform student marketing campaigns. Journal of the European Association for Health Information and Libraries, 11 (4). pp. 29-32. ISSN 1841- 0715.

Stone, G., Sharman, A., Dunn, P. & Woods, L. (2015) Increasing the Impact: Building on the Library Impact Data Project. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 41 (4). pp. 517-520. ISSN 00991333. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2015.06.003

White, S. & Stone, G. (2010) Maximising use of library resources at the University of Huddersfield Serials, 23 (2) (2010), pp. 83–90 http://dx.doi.org./10.1629/2383

Posted by Kathrine Jensen (@kshjensen), Research Assistant, Teaching and Learning Institute.

The Teaching and Learning Institute coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning. Follow TALI on Twitter.

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Teaching and Research Beyond Text

The Teaching and Learning Institute organises a seminar series where National Teaching Fellows from the University of Huddersfield share their expertise and experience.

In this session on 27th April,  Professor Michael Clarke talked about and demonstrated some of the interactive software for enhancing the teaching of music, which he has been involved in developing. Michael was awarded National Teaching Fellowship in 2011 and is Dean of the Graduate School; prior to taking up this role he was Director of Research in the School of Music, Humanities and Media.

A photo of Professor Michael Clarke presenting

Professor Michael Clarke

 

Being involved in Music Technology, Michael’s work has always used technology as a means of producing sound. He has been keen to explore how technology can open up new possibilities and expand the range of options in teaching and research beyond what is possible using written and spoken text alone.

 

The challenges of teaching music and sound

Michael talked about how music is temporal, transitory, dynamic and evolving and how these characteristics do not lend themselves to the traditional fixed and static nature of graphics in subject textbooks. These issues can be addressed by interactive software where students can play around with live data and there is direct link to the audio and visuals of sound and music. Michael has been involved in developing software to use in teaching synthesis/processing, musicology skills and interactive aural analysis.

At the moment, Michael is working on the Technology and Creativity in Electroacoustic Music (TaCEM) project investigating the impact of technology on the creative processes of composing electroacoustic music. The project team consists of:

  • Principal Investigator: Prof. Michael Clarke (CeReNeM, University of Huddersfield)
  • Co-Investigator: Prof. Peter Manning (Durham University)
  • Post Doctoral Research Assistant: Dr Frédéric Dufeu (CeReNeM, University of Huddersfield)

You can find out more at: http://www.hud.ac.uk/research/researchcentres/tacem/

Posted by Kathrine Jensen (@kshjensen), Research Assistant, Teaching and Learning Institute.

The Teaching and Learning Institute coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning. Follow TALI on Twitter

Posted in academic practice, Learning experience, Learning technology, MHM, Research, student engagement, Teaching, UTF/NTF | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Immediate feedback for large student groups

The Teaching and Learning Institute logo

The Teaching and Learning Institute is gathering short case studies of academic practice to enable colleagues to share their approaches to teaching and learning more widely and encourage interdisciplinary and interprofessional learning.

The Teaching and Learning Institute coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning.

In this case study Dr Deborah Allcock from the Business School writes about techniques for giving students immediate feedback in team based learning activities on a module that she leads. The team teaching Strategy implemented these techniques to promote the learning of some of the core knowledge and definitions for their subject.

Why did you decide to try this out?

It all started with Dr Deborah Allcock’s research looking at studies that showed significantly better performance in students who were given immediate feedback over those with delayed feedback.  This was also demonstrated in team-based learning techniques. However, with over 350 students taking the module, timely feedback provides a challenge, but doing something more immediate was an idea that appealed to the team.  This year, they have used an exciting and innovative technique that transformed knowledge and understanding concepts via multiple choice testing.  This was not the traditional right or wrong answer type of multiple choice practices though.  For strategy, they combined this with partial credit scoring that is based on the concept of rewarding the certainty of students’ answers; they also used this both individually and in team activities. With strategy as the driver, this was used in a top management team scenario to encourage team thinking, but the technique could be applied to other contexts, individual or team learning.  Immediate feedback back requested and provided all with planning and the aid of scratch cards.

Unlike the lottery, partial credit marking takes away the randomness of the guess.  The scratch cards are provided with question numbers and covered a-d answers, which mean that students consider their answer and when certain, they scratch off the corresponding letter, just like scratching off a lottery ticket, but hopefully with better results.  If correct, a star is revealed (4 points) and it’s time to celebrate! If  it’s the wrong answer, then students are required to review the question and keep going, scratching off a second (2 points), hopefully not a third (1 point), until the correct answer is identified.  Importantly, the student never leaves the question without knowing the correct answer.  Immediate feedback achieved.

The strategy team used this with student teams, but this could be used individually and in many different styles of modules.  The students found it fun and the use of team discussions enhanced the learning further, with some session scorings getting very competitive.  So far we have used this formatively, and the technique worked well with the large numbers. It has also turned out to be a great technique for promoting understanding of core concepts.  Looking at students’ choices provides the opportunity to review misconceptions at the time, but also gives us the chance to go on to practice-based skills, which are so important for future graduate employment.

What’s next?

The technique was also part of work that Debbie developed for the Inspire Conference module*, which provided a useful opportunity to think about new techniques. Debbie is looking forward to presenting about implementing the techniques at the 2016 Inspire Conference on 21st June (there are a number of places available for University of Huddersfield staff – book a place)

“it has been an excellent opportunity to put time aside to consider teaching, learning and assessment, there are so many different aspects that can be used to bring innovative techniques in to students’ learning”

The project has grown significantly from the Inspire Conference module, and future conference and publications are now in progress.  If you want to know more about immediate feedback techniques or team based learning, then why not contact Debbie in the Business School.

*The Inspire Conference is a 20-credit module, built around a one-day conference, at which delegates present a paper which discusses an experimental teaching session which they have developed.

Posted by Kathrine Jensen (@kshjensen), Research Assistant, Teaching and Learning Institute.

The Teaching and Learning Institute coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning. Follow TALI on Twitter

Posted in academic practice, Learning experience, pedagogy, professional development, student engagement, Teaching | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Engaging hard-to-reach students with online information skills resources

The Teaching and Learning Institute logoThe Teaching and Learning Institute is gathering short case studies of academic practice to enable colleagues to share their approaches to teaching and learning more widely and encourage interdisciplinary and interprofessional learning.

The Teaching and Learning Institute coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning.

In this case study, Laura Woods, Subject Librarian from the Computing & Library Services writes about using Articulate Storyline to develop online resources that students can access at point of need in the University virtual learning environment (UniLearn).

Why did you decide to try this out?

Since autumn 2013, the Subject and Academic Librarians for the School of Computing and Engineering (SCE) have been running optional information skills sessions during the School’s Guidance Week, in collaboration with the SCE Academic Skills Tutor. These have covered topics including finding and using journal articles, academic writing skills, and referencing.

While these have been well received by the students who attended, attendance has often been low. This could be due to a number of factors, e.g. students treating Guidance Week as an extra holiday and going home for that period, challenges in promoting the sessions to students effectively, etc.

In 2015, it was agreed to produce some online resources in place of these in-person sessions. We decided to produce short e-learning modules using Articulate Storyline, which would allow for self-directed, interactive learning. The plan was to produce modules that could either be used in-class, if we decided to re-run the face-to-face workshops, or could be just as easily accessed by students via UniLearn to use on their own.

Over the summer, two of the Subject Librarians each created one Articulate module, based on two of the existing workshop topics: searching for information, and referencing. These were completed and uploaded to UniLearn in August 2015.

Two more Articulate modules, based on the remaining two workshop topics (literature reviews, and locating and using journal articles) are currently in progress.

What were the benefits and challenges for you?

The main benefit of producing these Articulate modules is to allow students to access them at point of need. Scheduling optional workshops is always a challenge: it is difficult to fit in with the existing timetable, students have many demands on their time so can be reluctant to attend optional workshops, and promoting workshops to students is challenging as they are already overloaded with emails and communications from many sources. Students may also not see the benefit of a workshop on academic or information skills unless it meets an immediate need (i.e. they are in the process of researching a literature review), by which point scheduling an appropriate workshop is almost impossible.

Online modules allow for students to find appropriate guidance as and when they need it, rather than attending a workshop that may either be too early or too late to be relevant to them. Using Articulate allows us to embed interactive learning activities such as short quizzes to check learning, which is more engaging than a simple PowerPoint presentation.

Articulate is straightforward to use. It’s very similar in design and functionality to PowerPoint – in fact, it’s often easier to create your outline in PowerPoint to begin with, then import the .ppt file into Articulate to edit and add interactive features. We got to grips with using the software fairly quickly, by sharing our experience and making use of online tutorials available through the University’s subscription to Lynda.com.

Can you share some student feedback?

We do not yet have student feedback, however we have had some positive feedback and useful suggestions for improvement from staff within SCE. Once all four Articulate modules are finished, we intend to pilot test them with a small group of students and request feedback, to ensure they are usable and all concepts are clearly explained.

What’s next?

Once the modules have been pilot tested and refined as necessary, we will upload them to the SCE Academic Skills module on UniLearn. We will also contact relevant lecturers to request that they highlight these resources to students, and/or embed them in their own UniLearn modules as appropriate (for example, they could be uploaded to Final Year Project modules).

Posted by Kathrine Jensen (@kshjensen), Research Assistant, Teaching and Learning Institute.

The Teaching and Learning Institute coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning. Follow TALI on Twitter

Posted in academic practice, Learning experience, Learning technology, professional development, student engagement | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment