Monday, 14 January 2013

Back to Basics.

We (Elevate Team) have recently been approached by a member of our lecturing staff who had students raising concerns over not being able to find information on their module in LearnUCS, it transpires that one student was sourcing the relevant information after trawling the online module and posting that information onto a Facebook group.

After meeting with both the student representing the group and the lecturer and spending some time going over the issues, a couple of elements were highlighted;

  • The module wasn't structured efficiently

  • No communication lines had been laid down between lecturer and students

The first port of call to combat these issues was to create a dummy module with what a student would expect to see, but within the realms of what the lecturer has time to manage and keep up-to-date. This wasn't an exercise on how to design a pretty or rich media packed module, this was more of a proverbial mowing of the lawn, cutting back the un-necessary, streamlining navigation and guiding the end-user, in this case the students.

The lecturer noted that the main adoption of LearnUCS was to use it as a dumping ground for powerpoint presentations and notes, however admittedly that there was no direction or method to this approach.

Labelling, this was a major key across the whole module, simply adding a sentence to a folder noting what is inside that particular folder makes all the difference. We ended up with four menu options, Module Guide, Learning Materials, Assessment Submission and Announcements. Module Guide being the first place you land when entering the module.

Module Guide is a welcome to the module, an explanation of where to find things, instant access to the module timetable and handbook all readily available from the first screen you get to.

The rest was more going over some expectation management between the lecturing staff and students, who do they contact and how, will staff look at the discussion boards and if so when? Would there be a dedicated or allotted time period when there would be discussions online? These were left for the lecturer and students to work out.

The demo module will be looked over, and if the feedback is positive, may well steer our default module roll out for September 2013 modules.

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