E-learning implementation and design;         the student perspective                      Victoria StringerAccompanying n...
ContentsSlide 1 - Introduction ..............................................................................................
speed to be able to take it all down. Some students don’t even bother trying because what you getends up being useless as ...
INCLUDE that information as an accessible snippet either on the slides of in the course materialselsewhere.Slide 5 - Tools...
People on the internet are there because they are available, this means they are an immediateresource - unlike tutors who ...
You may wonder why I’ve added a voice recorder; I may have cursed the quality and length of someof the lecture recordings ...
You may also have heard that twitter recently acquired Tweetdeck – so far nothing appears to havechanged but I’m expecting...
even I can’t ignore Facebook chat, or messages, or pictures let alone the bejewelled and farmvilletype games that other pe...
so much so that despite being unfinished the teacher asked for its immediate implementation so herLCM students could benef...
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accompanying notes for e-learning implementation and design; the student perspective

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the expanded notes with some resources to accompany the powerpoint presentation of the same name

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accompanying notes for e-learning implementation and design; the student perspective

  1. 1. E-learning implementation and design; the student perspective Victoria StringerAccompanying notes for slides presented at the International Blended Learning Conference on 15th June 2011
  2. 2. ContentsSlide 1 - Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 2Slide 2 – powerpoint tip..................................................................................................................... 2Slide 3 – making the case for early access to slides ............................................................................ 3Slide 4 – explanations and examples.................................................................................................. 3Slide 5 - Tools part 1 ......................................................................................................................... 4Slide 6 – Tools part 2 ......................................................................................................................... 5Slide 7 – making a case for voice recording ........................................................................................ 6Slide 8 – Making a case for transcripts ............................................................................................... 6Slide 9 - my twitter use and third party apps...................................................................................... 6Slide 10 – Twitter how we used it ...................................................................................................... 7Slide 11 - Facebook............................................................................................................................ 7Slide 12 – wordpress, plugins and individual learning ........................................................................ 8Slide 1 - IntroductionDuring the course of my studies I’ve used quite a few technologies both in projects for the changeacademy for blended learning enhancement group (CABLE) and as a part of my personal learningsupport.Some were given to me as part of my study needs as a disabled student, others I’ve picked up myselfthrough research and a desire to try new things.I see e-learning as anything that gets delivered electronically, it’s not all about shiny new fancy toolsand gadgets; just things that help us get the work doneSome of the tips and examples I’ll be offering today have been born out of frustration and the ‘I wishthey’d do (or) not do that’ observations through the personal experience of undergraduate study ofboth myself and a few of my fellow studentsSlide 2 – powerpoint tipWe all know there is no ‘one tool fits all’ no magic bullet.Tailoring the tools to the situation will obviously get the best results; but there are a couple of thingsthat most tutors use without considering it from the student viewpoint; take Powerpoint forexample:Students are expected to make notes in class, yet very few of us seem to be any good at makingconcise and useful notes; there’s just too much information thrown at you in a lecture at too great a
  3. 3. speed to be able to take it all down. Some students don’t even bother trying because what you getends up being useless as you can’t remember what you were making the comments about.Something as simple as visibly numbering the slides so we can write a point and say refer back to ‘x’would be incredibly helpful.We get told at the end of the lecture to put any questions in the VLE discussion forum – think howmuch easier it would be to have a discussion headed “re slide ‘x’ on ‘date’ lecture, can anyone tellme..” EVERYONE would know what you were referring to and what the context of it is. It’s a smallthing but my personal opinion is that it may help more than you realise.Slide 3 – making the case for early access to slidesYou’ll hear a few mentions of Sam during this presentation (@speedy_hawk) she’s a profoundly deafstudent that was in all my classes last year and still keeps in contact with me via twitter despitegraduating a year ahead of me; but I’ll be coming to Sam and twitter later.The main thing is; slides are important, early access to them for some students is essential – makethem accessible prior to the lecture for all students as a habit. It’s something that is supposed tohappen here anyway but sadly general adherence to the policy is sketchy at bestSlide 4 – explanations and examplesThere really is something to be said for the idea of learning styles; I learn better by reading and doingthan I do by listening but several of my friends prefer listening to reading; they say that’s how theytake things in best – I really can’t understand how that’s possible but they assure me it’s so.I know it’s an obvious thing to say but every person in the room will be coming to the session tolearn, and they will be coming from different backgrounds and disciplines (think direct entrants,mature students, international students etc)How they learn and what they take away will be different; while you may explain things using whatyou think is a perfect example, that example may only confuse other people in the room who don’thave the same frame of reference or background experience that you do.An example given by my web applications lecturer in semester A last year has stuck with me andeven though it was given as an example of why you should be careful when using icons in place oftext on a website, it’s a valid example for teaching as well.(use arrow print out and ask the room the navigation question and demonstrate how up, down,back, forward, previous and next can be mistaken depending on cultural background and contextualviewpoint )It’s also worth mentioning that tutors who teach different years and modules sometimes forget thateveryone in the room didn’t do the module they refer back to for some basic information – instead
  4. 4. INCLUDE that information as an accessible snippet either on the slides of in the course materialselsewhere.Slide 5 - Tools part 1All of these tools I have personally used during my studies to help support my learning.When it comes to asking questions and sharing information between students there seems to be aneven split between using facebook email/chat and google talk with the odd twitter conversation ortext chat thrown in; very few seem to bother with MSN now but it’s the one online tool thateveryone seems familiar with.Basically we use what’s most convenient depending on who we’re talking to – we have multiplechannels open, trying to force us into using only one doesn’t work you need to be flexible.It also seems a little handset dependent; students with blackberries seem to prefer BBM, androidswill google chat and everyone else seems to prefer facebook.Twitter works for all of them but not everyone is on twitter – 2 Blackberry loving members of mypaws class signed up to twitter purely for the ability to easily communicate with the rest of us thisyear; one of them used it to follow but not interact, the other has embraced it completely and nowuses it almost as much as I do – and I was an early adopter back in 2007.But i’ll go into more detail about twitter shortlyAnother app that’s come to my attention recently through other students and a lecturer is‘whatsapp’ this is a cross platform chat application (http://www.whatsapp.com/) which works quitenicely (though I did learn during coffee that iphone charges to download and install whereas it’s freefor the others for the first year)During the CABLE group project (http://www.herts.ac.uk/fms/documents/teaching-and-learning/blu/conference2009/Dominic_Cable_3.pdf) we made use of Elluminate not only for groupmeetings but to schedule revision sessions, these proved to be so popular that even people who haddropped out of the project and others who hadn’t even known about it in the first place attended inthe last week before the exam.We use outside forums for queries more than vle discussion groups because there is guaranteed tobe a pool of more knowledgeable folk on hand to help:Im fortunate in that I have a twitter following that includes some very skilled folks in the field I wasstudying; more often than not it was to those people I turned for help and support than my lecturers- mainly because even if my tutors had the inclination to help, finding the time for a proper sit downand wrestle with whatever my problem was just took too long.On twitter I could arrange a face to face or online meeting with whoever was free and get myproblem sorted the same day - or at the very least Id be given links to resources that would help mefind the solution myself.
  5. 5. People on the internet are there because they are available, this means they are an immediateresource - unlike tutors who have set hours and even then those hours bleed into the time theyneed to deal with research and other projects; i havent met a member of academic staff yet whowore less than 2 hats.This is the main problem that causes migration to outside avenues of help; most lecturers know theirsubject so well that theyve forgotten how to pass on the basics; theyve forgotten that not everyoneknows how to research or correlate data from diverse sources. 98% of the students they encounterwill barely know how to find exactly what they want with google never mind using academicsources.I have used my own personal blog as a way of writing up my revision notes and sharing resourceswith other students (http://rosevibe.me.uk/blog/2011/04/07/wad-revision-time-again/ andhttp://rosevibe.me.uk/blog/2010/06/20/revision-for-principles-and-applications-of-web-services/#more-1510 )During my FDsc they used the studynet blogs for our weekly project reports and the commentssection provided regular feedback without the need to schedule a 1-2-1 (though the option to do sowas still available) having that constant feedback was invaluable and took far less time and cost thantravel +meeting + feedback +follow up - with the added advantage that we could also comment oneach others blogs and although not many did; it was a real boost when it happened.Even just a smiley face or a comment on a lack of posts to show the tutor had passed through wasenough to show that they not only cared about what we were doing but that they were on the ball –which makes you feel very positive about them as a teacher.Slide 6 – Tools part 2Most of these are pretty self explanatory; Wikipedia, Google search and Safari are standard farewhen starting any research, what’s needed is some form of guidance on how to use these toolEFFECTIVELY.Screencast tutorials on how to use various software packages that I found on YouTube relatesdirectly to how I managed to get an A1 in my digital entertainment systems module last year. Thereare other web services that have the same thing but YouTube seems to hold the largest collectionand there tend to be several different recordings to choose from so you can find the one that is bestsuited to your learning preference; with/ without narrative, with on screen callouts etcThey also tend to have large comment discussion threads that help whittle down your choice beforeeven viewing the video. These comment threads may also offer suggestions for uses not shown inthe video – comment threads can be the best part of any online offering.Google docs has been used for proof reading and critiquing assignments, sharing of lecture notesand the creation of surveys for our final year projects (mention concerns about plagiarism andcollusion)..Quizlet will be delved into later on when I describe my final year project.
  6. 6. You may wonder why I’ve added a voice recorder; I may have cursed the quality and length of someof the lecture recordings I made, but having them proved far more useful in my revision toolkit thannot.Slide 7 – making a case for voice recordingThis little beauty is a life saver. I was ill and missed a couple of lectures but a friend collected thisbefore class and recorded the lectures for me.At a recent HEA inclusivity event I ran an open session for all the other disabled students inattendance and the vote was unanimous that lecture recordings were one of the most useful thingsavailable (when they are available)(play recording)Just in case you didn’t hear that or the folk watching this recording didn’t quite pick it up:The point was made by one girl that although she’d love to use them, she didn’t make use of thisneeds adjustment because of the stigma of showing you were ’special’ and needed to have it – evenmore so because other students wanted it but weren’t allowed it.There is definitely a case for breaking down barriers and changing attitudes here by making classrecordings a basic requirement of every module.The thing that would make it better for me personally is either having actual video/ screen capturerecordings of the lecture or at the very least a transcript of the recording; I lost count of how manytimes I’d wished I’d asked my tutor to train dragon for me so I could get a printout of the lecturerecording to annotate instead of having to listen to a part over and over as I try to match it up to theclass slides...and I’m not alone in wishing this.Slide 8 – Making a case for transcriptsThe slide says it all.Slide 9 - my twitter use and third party apps(demo time check for # @ and RT. Or if time is tight offer to create/ share some resources via thecloudworks site)There is a need to watch out for the T&C of each of these; twitpic recently changed theirs tobasically state anything uploaded to the site is offered for commercial use sans payment, Yfrog onthe other hand understands that content belongs to the person uploading. Twitter themselves havethis month announced an inhouse picture and search service; I’ve yet to try it out but it will beinteresting to see what happens over the next few months as they work out any teething troubles.
  7. 7. You may also have heard that twitter recently acquired Tweetdeck – so far nothing appears to havechanged but I’m expecting them to implement their own picture service into it either in place of oralongside the current provision to use yfrog or twitpic (see demonstration)The beauty of using a smartphone twitter client is that you can still keep up with your subject whileon the move and keep interested parties informed of lateness/ concerns. We shared images of theclass whiteboard taken on our phones over twitter and last year I used twitter in conjunction withgoogle docs to describe what was happening in class to Sam (profoundly deaf girl) as her interpreterhad rung in sick without enough warning for a note taker to be assigned instead and I type quickerthan I write so was easier than passing hardcopy notes – following that lesson 3 of us starteduploading all our class notes to we could share and compare and still having that resource handyhelped me in my deferrals this year (so possibly an argument for use of a class wiki for each module)Slide 10 – Twitter how we used itThere are numerous resources detailing how twitter can be used in class by tutors,http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/presentations/presentation-twitter-in-education/ is one thatsomeone i follow tweeted back in 2009 and I saved to my favourites as a useful resource. I can emaila resource list to anyone who is interested in twitter.This slide shows how some of us students used it over the last 2 years without any tutor input.I mentioned earlier that a classmate picked up my voice recorder so I “wouldn’t miss a lecture”;twitter is how she knew I’d miss it and why she offered to do this – she never tweets but she’s happyto follow.Last year I ended up having to defer semester B through illness and only 4 of us were using twitterback then; the class was like a graveyard when the tutor asked a question even though we 4 had alively back channel going with all 4 sharing links that explained the ‘misunderstood’ material in adifferent way to the lecturer – this was especially useful when in the larger lecture theatres holdingover 200 students.More of us this year used twitter and I honestly believe that is the reason the paws class especiallybonded more as a group and why there was more interaction in this class – we felt comfortable witheach other and knew there was no need to worry about looking daft. The difference was we used itmore outside of class than in it However, if you want the same functionality but in a more closed environment then perhapsedmodo would work; but that would involve actually setting something up and forcing the studentsto sign up but I’m aware this mode may not work for all disciplines; I’m on a tech degree so we tendto like playing with things none techies may shy away from.Slide 11 - FacebookI see a lot of talk between educators on twitter about using Facebook in the classroom, everyuniversity student I’ve spoken with about this immediately laughs. I’m quite a dedicated student but
  8. 8. even I can’t ignore Facebook chat, or messages, or pictures let alone the bejewelled and farmvilletype games that other people get sucked into.While there’s definitely an argument for its use in schools as a way of teaching them to use it in aneducational way before their habits have had time to sethttp://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2011/06/using-facebook-in-education.html then checkout http://theedublogger.com/2011/05/11/the-why-and-how-of-using-facebook-for-educators-no-need-to-be-friends-at-all/ or http://jeffthomastech.com/blog/?p=6887 for university and collegestudents.Just using it as another communication channel OUTSIDE of class I can understand – that’s closeenough to the main use for most people that they’ll likely embrace it. Forcing it on them as anotherclassroom or trying to make it into a lesson in itself may not work.Which brings me onto the design and implementation part of the session title because as part of myfinal year project I created a business page on facebook for the music teacher whose website I wasredesigning; you can see a snippet of it on the slide there. (move to facebook page for Claire)Having a private module page where you can pull in the RSS from your VLE news feed or for holdingdiscussions and gaining feedback would put some of the functionality of the vle in a place thestudents are more likely to go – you can have polls and add content from other places via iframesBUT only expect things like these to see real use during the revision panic period when reality kicksin and we start reaching out for any help we can get.My suggestion is; use the group message functionality for room change reminders/ importantmodule news and nothing else. Facebook is home not work. We all need somewhere to go to escapethe daily grind i’d say keep facebook for that and at the most use a group/ fan page to create adoorway between the 2 should the students want it.Slide 12 – wordpress, plugins and individual learningI have just completed my project, the relevance of this to the talk is that I created a website for amusic teacher designed to hold tools and resources for her students that would complement herlessons.When I accepted the challenge of re-designing her site for this purpose I envisaged being able toleverage online collaboration tools such as I’ve used with fellow students to support my ownlearning – but when the requirements for her business became clear I was disappointed to learn thatalthough she teaches music, she had no need of this as all her students learn on a strict 1-2-1 basisand played solo.It led me to wonder how you could use electronic learning to support self study as most of the thingsI’ve read and seen discussed by the teaching community on twitter deal with group andcollaborative working.(http://tilby.co.uk) The wordpress site created with quizlet/ aural quizes/ tools/ slideshareintegration etc is still a work in progress aesthetically but the functionality has already proven useful;
  9. 9. so much so that despite being unfinished the teacher asked for its immediate implementation so herLCM students could benefit in time for their exams.Wordpress is an open source content management system that evolved from a basic bloggingplatform. It has a very active development and support community and if there is a need you canenvisage there is likely a plugin already out there to fit that need.It has a ridiculously simple interface; if you know how to send an email you should be able to write/edit posts and pages.I used a plugin called mTouch quiz for the multiple choice test functionality and added an mp3player plugin so that I could make the tests suitable for aural tests.There are numerous flashcard sites out there already:http://www.ediscio.com/ and http://www.brainflips.com/flashcards.html to name 2, buthttp://quizlet.com/ was the one chosen for various technical reasons.I also used quizlet flashcards for my personal revision and downloaded an android app (Quizard lite)so I could use them on the move without the need of net access – when I shared them with otherstudents on my course they were pretty enthusiastic and said they found the cards to be reallyuseful.I also created an application for the tilby music tuition facebook page so the music flashcards fromthe wordpress site could be embedded as some of her students said they were great but it was apain having to go somewhere else when they knew she had a facebook page already – couldn’t sheput them on there too so they could revise while doing other things, that way they’d know whenthere was an update to the information too because facebook would tell them; key point is theyasked for it because FACEBOOK WOULD TELL THEM WHEN INFORMATION WAS UPDATED.

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