Arts Faculty: An interactive History online environment for 1st year students

Lecturers, Bianca Van Laun & Koni Benson have jointly created a blended-learning environment to support traditional teaching and learning practices for 1st year History students. This module focuses on the ‘changes that took place along the eastern coast of Africa between the eleventh and the nineteenth centuries’.  The students are taught to identify and understand different interpretations of the same historical events. Furthermore, the module aims to equip students with the necessary skills to structure a historical argument for essay purposes.

Orientation

The online environment primarily makes use of the Lessons eTool, to structure and scaffold content. Students were instructed at the start of the course, regarding effective navigation of the environment and how to access resources.

Online preparation for face-to-face class

The content was divided into two sections, namely Weeks 1-7, and Weeks 8-14. These were further broken down into subsections for each week. This allows students to easily access relevant course material such as journal articles and lecture slidesprior to attending the face-to-face lectures and tutorials. Hence, students are able to come prepared and can engage accordingly.

Information sharing: Writing and research skills

This space was also used in order to highlight any important events taking place in the week, such as  Information Literacy Training Sessions (which aim toenhance students’ academic writing and research abilities); and relevant assessment submissions.

Preparing for Summative Assessment: Essay

Furthermore, students were provided with a comprehensive guideline for submitting their major assignment. This included assignment (essay) instructions, as well as a plagiarism declaration; and a grading rubric. Students are given access to the rubric in order to ensure that they understand and are aware of what is required of them.

Lecturers are encouraged to attend and commit to the design workshops, hosted by the CIECT team. Please contact the CIECT team to explore the possibilities that exist within an online environment, aligned to your discipline.

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Arts Faculty/Linguistics: Content Creation, Online Assessment and Tutorial Preparation

Linguistics lecturers, Amiena Peck, Rivalani Maluleke, and Mooniq Shaaikje co-lectured a 1st semester module (LCS 111). The lecturers used the iKamva platform to create an interactive blended approach for teaching, learning and assessment – for 830 registered students.

Various eTools enabled lecturers and students to receive an authentic experience. The lecturers created content, conducted online assessments and shared weekly tutorial preparations.

Content creation

The lecturers created content and shared it using the Course Resources eTool which enabled the lecturers to provide lecture slides that assisted students to reinforce important content. In addition, podcasts were recorded during lectures for students to support different learning styles.

Furthermore, articles were provided to help students prepare and engage with the content for discussions in lectures and tutorials. These materials could be downloaded, allowing students to listen to the podcasts and read materials offline.

Online Assessment

Using the Tests & Quizzes eTool, students were expected to engage in a formative semester test. This allowed lecturers and students to gauge an understanding of knowledge acquired by students.

In addition, the lecturers conducted course evaluations, namely: early course; mid –course; and end of course online surveys This was used as a technique to evaluate aspects such as student’s context of living, expectations of course, and how students felt about the course.

Tutorial preparations

Each week students were provided with a PowerPoint presentation, depicting clear expectations with regards to the tutorials. Hence, students were able to prepare readings, written responses and tasks.

Communication

Communication is a vital aspect in an online environment and also promotes transparency. Hence, the Announcement eTool was used extensively for the purpose of tutorials, assessments, consultations, examinations information as well as supplementary examinations.

Lecturers are encouraged to attend and commit to the design workshops, hosted by the CIECT team. Please contact the CIECT team to explore the possibilities that exist within an online environment, aligned to your discipline.

Arts Faculty: Online tutorials, lectures and surveys – assist with planning learning activities

Lecturers, Bradley Rink and Mark Boekstein jointly taught a 2nd year module for Tourism 223 during the first semester. The module incorporated a blended learning environment to supplement an interactive teaching, learning and assessment practices.

The use of various eTools within the iKamva platform was used and included the embedding of external materials. These materials enabled the lecturers tosupport face-to-face and online lectures and tutorials.

The Lessons eTool was used to provide students with an opportunity to engage in online lectures and tutorials. The online space was used – not to replace, but to assist in the preparation and reinforcement of face-to-face lectures:

Online lectures

This space was scaffolded in a format where students were expected to engage in an article, followed by an embedded lecture video. This was followed by a topic within Discussion Forum. The embedded videos were recorded by lecturer Bradley Rink and uploaded to YouTube.

Online tutorials

This space was used specifically for Tutorials 1 and 3. Both tutorials were linked to Google Forms. In Tutorial 3, the students were expected to engage in a survey, by answering the following question: “Describe the photo used, and how it represents the socio-cultural, environmental, and/or economic impacts of tourism”. This allowed the lecturers to receive feedback from the students.

Online Survey

The lecturer created another survey, in order to gain information with regards to the students’ access to technology; their home-language; and their geographical locations. This information was used to prepare and plan the learning activities as well as teaching and learning research.

In addition, the Course Resources eTool was structured into various folders such as: assignment resources; lecture summaries; readings; and videos.

Lecturers are encouraged to attend and commit to the design workshops, hosted by the CIECT team. Please contact the CIECT team to explore the possibilities that exist within an online environment aligned to your discipline.

Geology Department: Online Catalogue of Minerals for Student Development

Dr Juergen Reinhardt, lecturer in the Geology Department collaborated with the CIECT team to design and develop an online catalogue of minerals.  The Minerals In Thin Sections (MINTS) site – is a database catalogue of various minerals. Hence students will be able to access an alphabetical list of minerals.  Each mineral has a scientific description of its nature, accompanied by photographs of thin slices through the minerals, under varying light spectra. The included image provides an example page, of a mineral’s physical properties; and how it is identified.

**It should be noted that Dr Reinhardt is also teaming with stakeholders at other institutions, namely: Universität Bonn, Germany, University of KwaZulu-Natal and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany.

Contact the CIECT team to effectively design and develop online environments for student development.

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UWC & Missouri: Blended Learning – Ethics and Professionalism for Health Care

Lecturers, Jo-Celene de Jongh and Nico Nortje, (Occupational Therapy, UWC) in collaboration with lecturer Lea Brandt (University of Missouri’s School of Medicine), have jointly taught the Ethics and Professional for Health Care module, making use of the iKamva institutional Learning Management System (LMS).

This collaborative blended learning module was designed and developed making use of iKamva since 2016. A CIECT Instructional Designer met with the UWC lecturers in order to effectively plan and discuss the design, structure and use of related eTools for this module. This collaborative module hosts students from the Occupational Therapy Department, UWC as well as students from the University of Missouri.

Structured online module

The Ethics module is structured into ten (10) sessions which focuses on the specific topics/content related to the discipline. Making use of the Lessons eToolwithin iKamva, each session has been organised into an introduction, pre-reading material and the related lecture.

Pre-recorded lecture videos embedded in content

The lectures were pre-recorded and embedded within each Lesson Page. The lecture videos were recorded at the CIECT Digital Media Studio, which required advanced and careful planning by both lecturers and CIECT staff. The Digital Media team engaged in post-production editing to prepare the lectures for the online environment.

Assessment

Students were required to access and engage with the learning content and the specific assessment activities. The Assignment eTool was selected for students to complete and submit their reflective tasks online.

Digital Stories [Group Assignments]

Students also had to organise themselves into groups of five and work together in order to produce a short video (digital story) related to an ethical issue. The completed assessment (submission of a digital story) also had to be submitted into the Assignment eTool.

 **This structure and design of the module, focuses on the cognitive and social constructivist approach. This theoretical perspective lends itself to individuals engaging in critical thinking as well as interactive engagement with peers, in order to ensure learning takes place (Powell & Kalina, 2009).

Please contact the CIECT team to assist with the effective design and development of your online environment and the further explore the possibilities that exist.

EMS/UWC and USA (3 Universities): Collaborative Programme- Blended learning approach

Lecturer, Michael Morris conducts a yearly Entrepreneurship Empowerment in South Africa (EESA) Programme, in collaboration with a number of universities in the United States. This year (2018), the six-week blended learning programme includes 26/twenty-six students from institutions such as Texas A&M University, University of Florida and University of Colorado; and 22/twenty-two students from UWC.

This is an intense program where our joint mission is to make a meaningful contribution to the ventures of historically disadvantaged South African entrepreneurs” (EESA, 2018).

 The program aims to equip students with an understanding of the challenges and barriers small business owners face in the South African context. In addition, students will be equipped with practical skills in order to address these challenges, as they will be expected to engage in regular ‘consulting interventions’ with assigned entrepreneurs or small-business owners for the duration of the course. These consultations focus on advising the entrepreneurs or ‘clients’ with a business model in order to give them a competitive advantage and further create long-term value for the business.

All students are assigned into teams, enabling students to develop communication and teamwork skillsreinforce content by discussion and to create a community of practice. Each team is assigned 2 ‘clients’ who they will assist with further developing their business or enterprise. Hence, students will need to work together in order to develop creative solutions to problems and challenges faced by their assigned clients.

All students – engage with eTools within the iKamva platform. The CIECT team creates iKamva accounts for the American students to ensure access. Students are able to access and download multimedia resources, which have been structured according to weekly topics.

 In addition, the lecturer and students have the opportunity for effective communication using asynchronous eTools, namely Discussion Forum and Announcements.

Information Systems lecturer, Fazlyn Petersen made use of various eTools within the iKamva platform to supplement teaching-and-learning practices (IFS 361, Semester 1). The online environment includes:

Asynchronous engagement

The Discussion Forum eTool was used to set up various topics enabling students to post responses to questions. These include questions such as ‘What impact did competition have on your strategy? Did it cause you to make changes? If not, why not?’ This particular question received 308 responses from students; while other topics also received over 200 responses. These topics were aligned to assignments and coursework, allowing peer-engagement; as well student-lecturer communication.

 

Synchronous communication

The Chat Room eTool was used to communicate in real-time to reinforce peer-engagement; and clarify individual and group assignments.

Structured learning material

Students were provided with assessment resources, videos, revision notes, lecture notes/slides (structured into weeks), and reference material in order to thoroughly prepare for lectures; assignments; and examinations. The structured learning material, within the Course Resources eTool allows for flexible accessibility.

Embedded simulation to make learning fun

The lecturer embedded a business video game simulation (view screenshot below). This innovative teaching practice provides students with the opportunity to enjoy their learning experience; and obtain the required knowledge.

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Please contact the CIECT team to assist with the effective design and development of your online environment and the further explore the possibilities that exist.

EMS, Accounting 113: Creative and Blended Learning Approach to Support 1st Yr Students

Lecturer, Asgari Khan has utilised a blending learning approach to cater for the different learning styles of her students.

The module includes a variety of digital media components, as well as weekly formative assessments and class tests to engage students, and prepare them for examinations. Students are able to view resources, peruse relevant videos and download the learning material from iKamva for offline access.

The Announcements eTool was used in order to communicate important information to students relating to examination preparation, lecture material, assessment results and consultations.  In addition, the students were able to prepare for the upcoming examinations with revision questions, which were attached to the announcements.

Furthermore, the lecturer organised a range of learning resources for the students. The Course Resources eTool was well-organised into a number of sections including:Administration, Class Test, Homework, Lectures, PowerPoints, Tutorials, & YouTube Videos. Students were given weekly homework tasks to submit before coming to class, and were sent weekly reminders regarding the submission of these homework tasks. Students were also informed regarding topics and activities to expect for the upcoming week.

YouTube and Social Media to reinforce learning

The lecturer used social media to support facilitation. A WhatsApp group was created in order to assist students with exam preparation. The group was only available for a limited time prior to the examination, and students were provided with a link to join. The WhatsApp group included the lecturer as well as Tutors. Students were encouraged to use this space in order to pose any questions or concerns they have regarding module content and the examination. The use of a WhatsApp group can be highly beneficial in an educational setting, as it makes use of real-time communication to facilitate learning and resolve any learning difficulties the student may have.

In addition, the lecturer used the YouTube platform to create a channel and upload videos for students, aligned to topics covered in this module. This gave the students the opportunity to engage with the content in a variety of ways; and to reinforce learning. In addition, the lecturer’s channel assists students who struggle to grasp the concepts and topics discussed in the classroom.

Lecturers are encouraged to attend and commit to the design workshops, hosted by the CIECT team.  It is important for lecturers to focus on the effective design and development of interactive online environments; and not mere dissemination of notes and lecture slides.

Education Faculty: Blended practices for Method of Life Orientation (TML 301)

Lecturer, Ronel Koch has created a blended learning environment to supplement teaching and learning practices for TML 301 students. This3rd-year module focuses primarily on the teaching of Life Orientation as a learning area, offered in the Senior Phase of schooling. The module delves into various critical factors that influence Life Orientation teaching and learning. Hence, this online environment focuses on teaching approaches; lesson plans; curriculum development; and assessment strategies.

The lecturer makes use of eAssessment, Communication, Survey and Course Resources eTools to supplement the face-to-face instruction.

Test & Quizzes

Students received a number of weekly tasks, which they were expected to complete and submit via the Tests & Quizzes eTool on iKamva. These tasks included a variety of question types such as Short-answer/Essays and Multiple Choice questions. Weekly tasks such as these can assist students in reflecting on topics discussed during face-to-face lessons, and also to aid the lecturer in keeping track of students’ progressregarding the  course content.

Announcements

The Announcement tool allows lecturers to communicate important information to the students regarding coursework and other related matters. The lecturers are able to post a variety of messages to the students on the iKamva platform, which is sent to their student email inbox. Announcements from the lecturer included the following:

  • Student opportunities to earn formal credits,
  • Funding regarding the opportunities,
  • Scheduled test, venues and times, and
  • Cancellation of lectures.

Google Forms

In addition, the lecturer sent out a Google Form (embedded within the Announcement tool). The students were expected to complete this form/survey, which the lecturer then used to adjust her teaching style in order to accommodate the needs of the students.

Course Resources

A variety of material was uploaded for students to access via the Course Resources. Students were able to view and download learning material, enabling offline access for study purposes. These included the course outline, weekly lecture material, information relating to the examination; and the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) documents for Life Orientation Teachers/Educators.

Lecturers are encouraged to attend and commit to the design workshops, hosted by the CIECT team.**It is important for lecturers to focus on the effective design and development of interactive online environments; and not mere dissemination of notes and lecture slides.

Education Faculty: Postgraduate teacher-educators actively engage in blended course

Lecturer, Gasant Gamiet is currently engaged in an interactive online environment with Education students (BEd Honours 707).  The module objectives focus on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to enhance teaching and learning practices in the classroom. Furthermore, the teacher-educators are able to apply ICTs within their specific disciplines.

In order to supplement the objectives and aims, the lecturer has incorporated a blended approach by making use of various eTools within the iKamva platform.

Using the Lessons eTool, the lecturer clearly planned, designed and scaffolded semester tasks and various components aligned to each section/week. These sections/weeks are linked to student tasks, group discussions, practical sessions and websites. Hence, students are able to: plan in advance; effectively prepareand complete tasks. Furthermore the structured online design can promote student engagement and motivation.

In addition, the Discussion Forum eTool was used to discuss a specific topic; and to enable students to engage with their peers.  Students posted a conversation and the lecturer and students were able to argue; and elaborate on their opinions. This allows for an extended classroom and potentially to improve and personalise learning. The Discussion Forum enables formal and informal learning, as students gain valuable learning experiences in different social settings.

The Assignments eTool was also used for the purpose of “distributing and collecting” three (3) homework tasks, three (3) assignments and the final examination. Students were expected to complete these tasks, assignments and examination. These formative and summative assessment tasks are hosted within iKamva (serves as a repository); allowing lecturers to mark online and offline. Students are able to submit tasks regardless of space or time. This is especially important for working professionals (teacher-educators).

Lecturers are encouraged to attend and commit to the design workshops, hosted by the CIECT team. **It is important for lecturers to focus on the effective design and development of interactive online environments; and not mere dissemination of notes and lecture slides.