iSpring: Video Case Study 1 of 3

iSpring Early Adopters Project: Video Case Study 1

In the Learning Technology Development team we’ve recently completed the early adopters project in the use of iSpring. Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing the knowledge and experience of three selected participants who have successfully embedded iSpring into their eLearning toolkit and produced some impressive learning materials for students.

This week we’re introducing our first video – featuring Sertip Zangana from the Faculty of Health & Social Care.  Sertip is a Senior Lecturer in Advanced Clinical Practice. He talks about his involvement in the project and his general practice, including the benefits his students’ experienced in the online environment, and the challenges involved.

Why not take a few moments to view the first of three video case studies. Look out for the next two videos coming in April.

Sertip_Case_Study click_to_open

 

 

 

 

 

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Sertips’s video powerfully illustrates the positive effect that technology can have.  His words describe how the use of iSpring can offer huge benefits to the student learning experience. 

At Edge Hill we have built up a critical mass of good practice that can be accessed by staff who are thinking of incorporating these technologies into their courses. If you have been inspired and would like to learn more your Learning Technologist can help.

…and you have access to a wide range of user guides on eShare and beyond:

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Mark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer

 

 

BBC-featured History quiz engages students in HEA project

Reflections on ‘What Kind of Historian are you?’ Quiz

According to Mason Norton (Edge Hill University) and Dan Taylor (University of Roehampton), in history, there are four broad categories of historian:

  • Empiricist

  • Postmodernist

  • ‘historian from below’

  • ‘top-down’

The categories emerged as part of the Developing Historical Thinking project run by Edge Hill and Roehampton, when Mason and Dan teamed up to create a Cosmopolitan style self-test quiz – aimed at getting first year History students to think about the theory of history.  Mason wrote this post, and Dan comments: “… it’s a thoughtful reflection on a great tool and an enjoyable collaboration”.

 

Reflections on ‘What Kind of Historian are you?’ Quiz

by Mason Norton

HEA-QuizQuizzes can seem like a very basic, almost too simple, pedagogic tool, and with a topic as complex and as endless as historiography, you might be forgiven for thinking that the two would not go together very well. However, back in the summer of 2013, myself and Dan Taylor of Roehampton were given the task of thinking up a quiz to be called ‘What Kind of Historian are you?’. Whilst to me, the answer is simple, I was conscious of the fact that to many first-year undergraduates, the challenge is to get them to think about the theory of history as something other than a tedious irrelevance.

So we realised the quiz could be an opportunity to make something daunting look a little bit fun, whilst making students stop and think. After half a summer of e-mails going back and forward, we managed to get it down to four categories; empiricist, postmodernist, ‘historian from below’, and ‘top-down’. This was a simplification of some historical schools of thought, but it was a necessary one- freshers, for example, are ill-equipped to know, or even care, about debates within, say, the Marxist school of historians about the collapse of the USSR. This process was in itself quite interesting because it showed collaboration not just between the universities, but between the disciplines- I am a historian whilst Dan is a philosopher. The conversations between the two of us were mutually informative- it is useful, I think, for a historian to see what a philosopher thinks of history, and also for a philosopher to see what a historian thinks of philosophy.

Then, we had to think up of ten questions to ask. Easy? Well, no, actually. We needed to strike a balance between covering ground already encountered at A-level, and also introducing students to new areas of historical enquiry. Most freshers, for example, would probably have never thought of treating human sexuality as a subject for serious historical enquiry. So our quiz needed to be constructed as a bridge between what had already gone before- what students would, or at least should, be fairly confident about tackling- and some of what they would be looking at over the next three years.

When we launched the quiz, there was an immediate flurry of interest, which was pleasing. Then, when it came to the dissemination phase, interest expanded even further. We received an e-mail asking if we wanted to let the quiz be used on a History teaching resources site, and then we received an approach to talk about the quiz as part of Making History on BBC Radio 4, with a link to the quiz on the programme’s website, which boosted the profile of the HEA project as a whole.

Consequently, when it came to the second iteration, there followed after the quiz a series of entries on personal journals using Blackboard (which was also the software upon which the quiz ran), which meant that we could see what students made of the quiz and their answers. This further developed the interactive process between student and tutor. We observed students reflecting upon their engagement, and come the end of the semester, when we ran the quiz again, we could see how far (or not) students had come.

So the quiz, through both its construction and its iteration/implementation, proves the use of technology as a crucial part of the digital humanities, and of education as a two-way street. In the iteration, students have been introduced to some different historical schools via a practical, hands-on exercise, as opposed to say a fifty-minute lecture, followed by a two-hour seminar. We as tutors have then learned more about individual students and their preconceptions, and what we need to work on and/or develop over the next few weeks that the module will be running for- something that we would not otherwise have had necessarily until the first assessment a few weeks later. This dialogic element is what makes Blackboard such a vital learning tool, in my opinion- we can pick up on the misconceptions earlier, and without causing such a knock-on effect for student grades, or, for that matter, the confidence of individual students.

In the construction, we have been forced to look more seriously at what we had taken for granted- and in the design of this quiz, one or two of my own preconceptions have been challenged- that may well have been the same for Dan too. So this means that we too become better historians (or, in Dan’s case, a better philosopher) as a result of having to rise to a new challenge, which is, to use a cliché, all part of the learning curve.

The result is that a format that may, at first glance, seem trivial and trite, is actually- once you start to work with it in depth- quite challenging and quite stimulating- and offers a new take on what is, perhaps, an old problem.

BestofTEL_SMALLMason Norton

Associate Tutor
Department of English & History
[email protected]

What I find most interesting in this post is how Mason highlights the increased connection between academics and students facilitated by the quiz and other technologies.  If you have been inspired and would like to learn more your Learning Technologist can help.  LTD would be very happy to work with you to create a similar quiz for your area – perhaps developing a quiz workshop for your team.

Blackboard also have some good online resources – such as this one about creating tests and surveys (a test is equivalent to a quiz):

   Tests_Surveys_Pools – Creating_Tests_and_Surveys

More generally, LTD deliver a wealth of support and staff development sessions – here’s a link to the current series that you can book on:

   DDE: Digital Practitioner

Collaborate ‘Rooms’

… a 24/7 classroom and/or your own ‘Virtual Office’.

The recent upgrade to our Collaborate web conferencing system has added a ‘Rooms’ feature – i.e., every course and every instructor now have their own Collaborate ‘Room’ that is open 24/7 – with all the rich features of a web conferencing system such as audio, web cameras and the ability to see each other’s computer screens.

We’d like to encourage you to use your tutor room as a ‘Virtual Office’ for student tutorials, 1-2-1 feedback, or even research interviews (making recording a doddle!).

The only thing you need to do is to add a link to let students access it.  An easy option would be to add a ‘Tool Link’ in the course.  Do this by clicking the Add Menu Item icon (the large + sign on the top left menu), selecting Tool Link that will bring up the Add Tool Link box (see the picture), and then enter:CollabToolLink

  • Blackboard Collaborate into the Name box
  • Select Blackboard Collaborate Scheduling Manager from the drop down box
  • Tick ‘Available to Users’
  • Click submit.

You can drag the tool link up the left hand panel to put it somewhere more sensible – perhaps near the Content item?

When students click on the link they will see all the Collaborate rooms and sessions in the course area – including your room.

There are other ways of linking to your tutor room – and you can also send out email links that anyone can use to get into your room – this is very useful for bringing guest speakers into a session.  See this guide about adding a Virtual Office to your email signature.  To have a chat about these options or anything relating to learning technologies please contact us (see the Faculty Contact on this page) or email the LTD team on LTD [email protected] / 01695 650754 x7754.  We also offer many sessions on Collaborate through staff development.

PeggySemingtonCollaborateSession

 

Finally, for a quick recap of the feature of the Collaborate system, please take a look at this 5 min overview by Peggy Semington* or the 7 minute interactive orientation from Blackboard.

 


* Peggy Semingson is an associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Arlington: https://twitter.com/PeggySemingson

Course User Management

users

Following the our recent transition from the Section Merge Tool (SMT) to the Course Relationship Tool (CRT), I thought it would be a good idea to follow up with a blog post on some useful user management techniques in Learning Edge course areas.

 

bb_ca_usersandgroupsCourse Management – Control Panel

The topics discussed will focus on the Users and Groups section in the course Control Panel and will be particularly useful for Course Administrators.

You can modify a user’s Role and bb_contextAvailability from the context menu arrow, next to the users username:

User Availability

bb_ca_course_options

This replaces the function to ‘Remove Users from Course’ which used to delete the user’s enrolment.

You can now ‘Change the User’s Availability’ which allows you to toggle if the user can view this course or not.

Effectively setting the availability of the users bb_availableenrolment to available (Yes) or unavailable (No).

This also provides the added benefit of being able to switch back instantly, should you need to.

 

Role Selection

bb_ca_user_options

Similarly, a users role can be modified in the same way.

By selecting ‘Change User’s Role in Course’ you can modify the users course role by choosing one from the predefined list:

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As always, if you have any questions please contact LTD Support on 01695 650754 or email [email protected]

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John Langford

Learning Technology Development Systems Officer