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.

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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.

EMS: Blended Learning Approach to Support 2nd Accounting Students

Lecturer, Lydia Uys is currently making use of the iKamva platform to supplement a year module, for Accounting 2nd year students. The online module consists of two lectures per week encompassing both a theoretical and practical lecture. The lecturer has adopted a blended teaching and learning approach. Hence, the lectures are supported by a range of online interventions, namely: the creation of screencasts aligned to practical assignments; the reinforcement of content; assessment; communication; and resource distribution.

Creation of screencasts aligned to practical assignments

The lecturer makes an effort to create screencasts aligned to each practical assignment.

Reinforcement: Previous question papers

Students are provided with past question papers and memorandums, enabling them to test their knowledge – by completing previous questions and comparing their answers.

**These resources aim to reinforce content taught and to ensure that learning outcomes are met as well as to prepare students for formative and summative assessments.

Assessment

Students are expected to engage in formative online assessments.  During Semester 1, the students completed a number of six (6) online tests.

**The iKamva platform allows for a range of question types; which assists in the effective design of online tests and aims to assist in acquiring higher order thinking and problem solving skills. 

 

Communication

The Announcements eTool is used extensively for communication related to: study materialassignmentstest venues and test results.

**Announcements are sent directly to students email accounts which enables lecturers and students to avoid confusion and provide transparency in the classroom; which is critical in order to promote a productive and effective course delivery.

Resource distribution

The lecturer distributes a variety of resources, structured within the Course Resources eTool, Admin, Assessment, Theory, Practical and Chapters. These are shared and clearly organised – allowing students to navigate resources with ease. These folders consist of relevant learning materials, such as videos, class notes, manuals and solutions.

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.

Oral Medicine & Periodontology: Use of Gradebook – Assessment, Categories, Weighting & Monitoring

Dentistry lecturer, Dherendra Dhaya has made use of a blended online environment to support learning and teaching practices for his 4th year Oral Medicine and Periodontology (OMP 400) students.

Various assessment activities are set-up online for students to engage in. These assessment activities include submission of assignments and online tests. Theresults of these assessments are linked to the Gradebook where all marks are recorded and can be adjusted accordingly and downloaded into one spreadsheet.  The online environment further enables students to access and download relevant learning material; view important announcements, as well as keep track of submission dates via the Calendar eTool.

 

Online Assessment activities

The assignments are related to Oral Medication Case studies and students were expected to submit written assignments (Word format), including a reference list as well as their PDF Turnitin plagiarism report.

Two online tests were conducted which related to various topics such as: Periodontitis and smoking, gingival disease, and pathogenesis. These tests made use of varied question types such as Multiple-Choice, Short Answer/Essay, and True/False questions. In addition, the questions were drawn from a pre-createdQuestion Pool. The question pool allows for randomisation of questions, ensuring that the test differs slightly from one student to the next in order to prevent academic dishonesty.

Furthermore, an anonymous 5 minute survey was created. This allowed students to give feedback regarding the learning value of the assessment; and if it actually allowed for better understanding of the course content. The survey also posed a question asking where students took the test (at home, on campus, hostel etc.); and what students preferences are in relation to the venue when doing an online test. Students’ feedback and concerns are important in this regard, as infrastructure and internet access can be a concern for some students. Hence the lecturer is able to take this information and prepare accordingly, depending on the needs of the students.

Gradebook for monitoring student marks

The Gradebook tool has been extensively used by Dr Dhaya in order to record, calculate and distribute marks to students. The categories included in the OMP 400 Gradebook course are: Assignments, Tests, Final Examination, and Clinical Skills. By organising the Gradebook into various categories, the lecturer is able to provide weighting for each assessment or activity, and thus makes it possible to auto-calculate an overall course grade.

 

Students are only able to view their own grades for the course. Furthermore, the lecturer is able to restrict which grades will be visible to students, such as those pertaining to the final examination. Students are further able to monitor their own progress, plan and prepare accordingly for assessments using the Gradebook.

As all marks can be recorded in the Gradebook (even for offline activities), lecturers can export the marks into a spreadsheet, which can be further captured within the institutional Marks Administration System (MAS).

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

EED (Law): ePortfolios for student development and tutor monitoring & tracking

Lecturer Mahmoud Patel [Module Coordinator, English for Educational Development (EED)], has incorporated the use of ePortfolios for teaching-and-learning purposes, specifically for Law students.  He contacted the CIECT team to assist with the implementation phases of this large-scale student development project (conceptualisation to delivery). In addition, the students received the necessary training and actively engaged in the delivery of nineteen (19) ePortfolio workshops.

The CIECT team collaborated with Mahmoud to design and develop an ePortfolio template, according to the specific needs of the course. This predefined template contained a specific structure, with relevant sections and sub-sections. Furthermore, the template was used to mass-generate ePortfolios for a large group (between 500-600 students). This predefined structure enabled students to embed documents and images related to discipline specific tasks. It also simplified the evaluation process for the lecturer and tutors; and conformity was ensured across all ePortfolios.

The ePortfolio is currently being used for formative assessment purposes; and the monitoring-and-tracking of students’ development and competencies over a period of time. The ePortfolio also allows students to reflect on their progress and take ownership of their learning.

The tutors within the programme are able to continuously monitor and assess their specific groups of students; and advise with regards to submissions.

The CIECT team planned in advance for this large-scale student project, which included logistics related to venues and tutoring time-slots. The Computer Lab was booked in advance for a 3 week period.

ePortfolio student workshops entailed:

  • Access and view structure – main-pages: Introduction, Lecture tasks, Tutorial tasks, Assessments and Self-initiated pieces;
  •  Insert content and text:

o   Embed multimedia components,

o   Share links,

o   Embed evidence from Google Drive, and

o   Share ePortfolio with tutors.

**It should be noted that lecturers within the Dentistry, Dietetics, Social Work, and Pharmacy Departments have also made use of ePortfolio development for their respective students across year levels.

Please contact the CIECT team to assist with the effective design and development of ePortfolios for teaching-and-learning.

Computer Science lecturers jointly teach: Scaffolded online approach

Lecturers, Michael Norman, Mehrdad Ghaziasgar and William Tucker jointly teach a 3rd year Computer Science module (CSC 312), which focuses on Human Computer Interaction, Databases and Software Engineering.

A blended learning and teaching environment has been created within the iKamva platform, and enables lecturers to create interactive lessons. This environment also enables students to submit assignments and engage in online tests. The Announcements eTool is used to communicate relevant information to their students related to assessments and feedback.

Students are further provided with a Discussion Forum, where they are able to communicate with their lecturers, tutors and peers regarding the various course topics and chapters.

  • Interactive Scaffolded Lessons

The lecturers used the Lessons eTool to scaffold resources into sections over 14 weeks of the first semester. The sections consisted of a range of components such as articles, videos, and external resources (websites). These components were used, not only for dissemination purposes – but to further assist in assimilation anditeration of content discussed in face-to-face lectures.

In addition, weeks 8 – 12 (first semester), consisted of chapters which were shared and directly linked to group work assignments. This allows students to engage with each other in critical discussions and to consolidate their understanding.

**Lectures and tutorials (face-to-face) focus on specific chapters/sections. These are further aligned to assessment tasks, which enables the lecturers to engage in continuous monitoring and tracking.

  • Formative Online Assessments

Students were required to submit 4 group assignments. Hence, the lecturers created ‘Groups’, which allows students to upload a single assignment submission for their group. The ‘groups’ feature can also be used to assign assessments, announcements and discussion topics to specific student groups. Hence, tutors are able to post relevant information – to their specific groups.

Furthermore, students were expected to complete formative assessment tasks in the form of ‘Pop Quizzes’ which were set up via the Tests & Quizzes eTool. These pop quizzes consisted of a number of Short-Answer/Essay type questions. Students had 15 minutes to complete each quiz, and were able to submit (unlimited submissions). Hereafter, the students were able to view feedback for each question; reflect on their learning progress and revise accordingly.

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

Pharmacy Department collaborates with external partners in blended environment

The Pharmacy Department is currently engaged in a collaborative project with external  stakeholders from the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town. These stakeholders are mainly Pharmacist Preceptors that work within the communities (hospitals and clinics), assisting Pharmacy students. Preceptors are expected to provide constructive feedback to students whilst they are engaged in their fieldwork at their respective placements.

These Preceptors engage in an online environment, within iKamva – whereby they are able to improve and enhance their professional skills. In order to provide constructive feedback and further develop Preceptors’ skills,  face-to-face workshops were conducted.  However, challenges such as time and capacity for the sessions existed; therefore a blended online environment was designed within iKamva to assist with this.

Lecturer, Renier Coetzee contacted the CIECT team and requested assistance with the design and development of an online blended space. The online environment namely, Pharmacist Preceptor Development Portal was created (a project site within iKamva). This allowed Preceptors to: communicate effectively; establish a framework for student learning; and provide guidelines for the alignment of activities and objectives. Ultimately, the online environment is used to supplement the face-to-face workshops and address the aforementioned challenges.

In addition, as this is a collaborative project, the CIECT team created accounts for Preceptors to access the iKamva platform and engage within the blended environment. This online space is used by the Preceptors to ensure that the students have meaningful learning experiences at their respective facilities (clinics and community centres).

It should be noted that the iKamva platform has a variety of eTools which focuses on communication (synchronous and asynchronous), content distribution and assessment. As is evident through this communication, the iKamva Platform is a flexible system and is not only used for internal staff and students. It also provides a space for collaboration between UWC and external partners.

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.

 

Life Sciences: Expanding and consolidating student learning experiences within an online environment

First year Life Sciences lecturers and practical facilitators created a blended online environment to supplement their teaching, learning and assessment practices for a large number of students. The module is structured according to lectures, tutorials, and practical lab sessions.

Weekly topics & homework activities (formative assessment/quizzes)

Students are provided with the opportunity to expand and consolidate their learning experiences, as they progress through weekly topics and presentations; and homework activities. These homework activities (formative quizzes) cover concepts such as:  Photosynthesis, Respiration, Mitosis, and Meiosis. The students are provided with grades upon submission. Furthermore, the students are able to view the memo, in order to reflect on learning progress related to each topic.

 

Practical test to improve scientific writing

An online practical test has also been setup to assist students with the basic principles of scientific writing.  The students are expected to peruse a journal article and answer questions related to research skills; and referencing methods.

Gradebook reduces administrative tasks

The Gradebook eTool was used to record the marks of all online activities/tests. This allows lecturers to easily collate and export marks, and view the combined average course grade of all students.  Students are able to view the gradebook and monitor their learning progress.

Course resources enhances self-directed learning

In addition, the course resources are structured and include:

  • Theory and practical guides;
  • Past test papers and memos; and
  • Weekly lecture material.

Students are also able to access resources (videos, skills guide and presentations) related to the practical component of the course; allowing students to reinforce knowledge and skills, andextend their learning experience beyond the classroom.

**Did you know? 20 887 users (students and staff) accessed iKamva during the month of March 2018.

‘Lessons eTool’ enables lecturers to apply a scaffolded approach

As academics, it is important to incorporate learning theories within your teaching, learning and assessment practices. This will allow you to guide your practice but also promote planning; teaching approaches; and enhance students’ learning experience.  Lev Vygotsky’s constructivist learning theory emphasises the effectiveness of scaffolding learning material.  The CIECT team encourages lecturers to use a scaffolded approach to teaching and learning, within your traditional practices and online spaces. This approach assists students with assimilation, iteration, and consolidation. Furthermore, the lecturer is able to extend learning beyond the classroom.

 

There are various strategies one can use to present learning material in a scaffolded approach. These include:

  • Recognition of prior learning;
  • Dividing learning material into manageable sections or ‘chunks’;
  • Providing clear instructions with expected learning outcomes to tasks; and
  • Presenting/explaining information in multiple ways to further assimilate content.

The ‘Lessons eTool’ allows a lecturer to design an interactive and structured blended-learning environment, enabling students to actively engage with the learning material via the iKamva platform.  Hence, content and activities related to coursework can be presented in a scaffolded approach, whereby students are presented with information on related topics/concepts broken down into smaller sections; along with related activities which aim to reinforce student learning.

Using the ‘Lessons eTool’ within iKamva, lecturers are able to integrate features such as Online Tests, Assignments, Polls, and Discussion Forums. The platform also features a checklist, which can be used by students to keep track of their progress within a specific section, enhancing self-directed learning.  In addition, it allows lecturers to incorporate a variety of digital media including YouTube videos, and external resources, which students can use to further expand their knowledge and understanding.

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 only dissemination of notes and lecture slides. **The pedagogical value will be explored further within these workshops; and its application within your online environment.

NB: The CIECT Team has embarked on its Roadshow. This scaffolded approach (presentation and structured online environment) was presented to the Law Faculty (HODs & lecturers).  Follow-up discipline specific workshops will be conducted for the lecturers; as they have seen the need to create more effective and interactive online environments.

English Department: Online spaces supplement consultations, lessons and assignments

Lecturers within the Department of English aim to provide students (across year levels) – with authentic learning experiences; and extend their teaching-and-learning practices through online environments. The lecturers employ various eTools within iKamva to supplement the process of student consultations; scaffolding of lesson topics; and avoiding plagiarism.

Sign-up eTool: Lecturer, Roger Field has utilised this eTool to create time-slots for student consultations. Various slots are created according to his consultation times, whereby students sign-up for 20 minute consultation periods. Through clear guiding processes, lecturers are able to clarify and confirm student attendance for further discussion and consultation.

Lessons eTool: This eTool was used to structure and scaffold content (lesson topics). The lecturer scaffolds the relevant content by providing an introduction to the topic/specific theme; supported by embedded YouTube clips; and related article/reading.

**This scaffolded approach follows principles of instructional design and learning theories, in order to reinforce the assimilation of the lesson topic.

Turnitin: This platform is widely used across the department as academic writing is an important component. This anti-plagiarism software is used as a developmental approach to assist students with referencing, paraphrasing and overall improvement of writing abilities (i.e. crafting ideas)Often, if students’ similarity index is too high, students are able to refine and edit their work and resubmit – to avoid plagiarism.

**It should be noted that in some year levels, there are a large number of students. Therefore, Tutors are able to provide students with constructive feedback on their assignments.  Feedback is imperative, as students should be guided on how to improve their writing skills.

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