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Posts Tagged ‘course design’

Moodle 2: Here’s looking at what’s around the corner

January 17, 2013 Leave a comment

ImageAs has already been posted in educational vignettes, Moodle is being upgraded at City University, London in the next three months. Before that happens, all ed. tech teams are on the go trying to ensure that Moodle 2 gets the full body treatment! This blog provides you with an update on what the Moodle implementation working group are doing to provide staff and students with the best possible Moodle 2 experience.

Those who are fanatical about Moodle will know that the latest version was released in late 2010. This version has been hailed as a ‘more improved version’ and the answer to many of the requests from the community of users and that of the technical developers. As an example discussed before, the way we upload files is most certainly going to be faster and better. The ed.tech team at City University, London is taking a good look at Moodle 2 to make this upgrade an opportunity to reflect on what Moodle can offer as a learning environment, what can change, what needs promotion and what needs attention.

The Moodle 2 implementation working group are testing current functionality to make sure everything is as expected.  They will also be testing new functionality to ensure that we can better support our academic staff and students in using Moodle. The testing involves some use of scenarios on schools experience however this is only replicated in some processes. This will ensure that the tools deliver on what is expected. The testing process described has begun and all ed. tech teams are involved. It is anticipated that the testing will be completed by the end of March.

As we move towards Moodle 2, we will be publishing more details on this in the coming months. We will also be thinking proactively about how staff and students will be trained whilst making sure we spend some time hearing your thoughts, sharing with you some exciting new stuff and generally making sure we are listening to you to make Moodle better than ever before. Please do get in touch with us or your ed. tech team if you are interested in knowing more.

Using Debate as a Teaching Format

July 7, 2012 2 comments

Three years ago at a City University Creativity Workshop I met Kirsten Hardie who teaches Design at Arts University College of Bournemouth. She told me about a method she had invented called “On Trial.” By coincidence, in working with a group of City teachers recently, they quite unprompted suggested the use of a debate format as a method of increasing student engagement.

It was impressive how quickly they came up with a great number of creative ideas to widen the palette of teaching formats. The session focused on devising a learning activity that reflects often currently missing employability skills:

  • Critical thinking
  • Reflection
  • Persuasive communication
  • Self awareness

Devising fresh learning activities to promote employability skills

I took Chickering and Gamson’s 7 Principles for high engagement learning, as a benchmark.  We selected two of these: and participants were also encouraged to identify their own. The focus was on fresh learning activities; new ideas.  Here are some of the resulting creative learning outcomes from the participants.

Fresh  learning activities.

  • Reflection: in action and on action
  • Scenarios, role play and simulation
  • Debating
  • Combined learning with another school (interprofessional  learning)
  • A buddy system

The question is how can we enable great ideas like these to be put into practice? For example using debate in our teaching.

So returning to National Teaching Fellow Kirsten Hardie’s On Trial project that  explores the use of role play and debate in student centred learning. It promotes and facilitates creativity in and through learning. Students work with colleagues to explore and interrogate problematic issues relating to their specialism

“On Trial harnesses popular culture, and the seductive qualities of the courtroom, as experienced through television and film examples (both historical and contemporary), in a creative fashion to help students engage with tough academic issues and wider ethical concerns.”

In addition a fascinating article by Catherine Sanderson discusses and evaluates debate as an assessment and learning strategy to develop critical and reasoning skills and stimulate learning through assessment in first year Biomedical Science and Public Health Students.

Sanderson’s work with first year undergraduates indicates that although it may be tacitly understood that critical reasoning is an essential skill for all students, it is far too often left to the final year as a learning outcome or even reserved for post-graduate studies.

PREDICT Project

August 3, 2011 Leave a comment

PREDICT, which stands for ‘Promoting Realistic Engaging Discussions in Curriculum Teams) is a JISC funded project within the Institutional Approaches to Curriculum Design Programme. The project focus is to develop a new curriculum design process that is efficient, flexible, focuses on enhancing educational development and the student experience and, is supported with responsive technology to accommodate our curriculum models. It is essential that the design process takes account of our diverse stakeholders – whether learners, staff or employers.

The Project has been running for three years and we have provided information in a range of ways but would like to use our Blog which has a link to this one. Main sources of information for the PREDICT project are:

PREDICT aims to develop a new curriculum design process that is efficient and flexible and utilizes responsive technology to accommodate our curriculum models and enhance learning opportunities.

The main objectives of the project are to:
  •   Engage all stakeholders in the process
  •   Develop a curriculum design process drawing upon stakeholder experiences
  •   Use technology to support the curriculum design process
  •   Develop values and principles for curriculum design around educational  development and the student experience
  •  Complete the project with an evaluative and critical approach

We are really interested in case studies of curriculum design and review activity so please do visit our blog this year which will develop with information being added and hopefully will become a place for you to share your practice

Project Manager

Dr Pam Parker

Best practices in Moodle course design

Michelle Moore, Remote Learner @ Moodlemoot 2011

Michelle provided some invaluable tips on setting up your Moodle module.
Strongly agree with points 3 and 10!

 Top 10 tips!

  1. Don’t use more than 3 font styles. It increases cognitive load for your learners. Students spend to much time processing info.
  2. Maintain consistency.
  3. Don’t use course page for your content, use it as a launchpad..
  4. Make sure you can see one complete topic on the screen and no more.
  5. Don’t be the one doing all the work, create a question creator role, let students create the quiz questions. Let the students collaborate and participate.
  6. Remember the value of logs, a link from a label cannot be shown in reports. Use labels to guide students!
  7. Don’t force constant scrolling
  8. You can wrap resources around images in sections, they don’t have to be huge and take over the page. Consider the different screen sizes students will be looking at.
  9. Build content in books and lessons.
  10. Try out new tools, vary it.
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