Did You Know? Blended learning content can be made more accessible to differently-abled students

There are currently 209* students at UWC, who have disclosed having a disability. These disabilities include being blind or visually impaired; deaf or hard of hearing; mobility impaired; psychologically impaired; vertically challenged and several others.

Some students with disabilities make use of assistive technologies to give them access to online content. As a lecturer, it is therefore important to familiarise yourself with these technologies to ensure your content is accessible:

1) Do not embed text in an image or as a locked PDF; instead, upload Word files or unencrypted PDF files

2) Provide students with the same content in multiple formats such as, text, audio, and videos to cater to students with a range of disabilities and learning styles

3) When content is presented in video format, ensure that transcripts and subtitles accompany the video

 *This number is according to the records of the Office for Students with Disabilities at UWC

For further assistance in creating accessible online content, contact CIECT at: elearning@uwc.ac.za

**CIECT entails digital media facilities – in order to assist staff with creating audio-visual material for online and off-line purposes.

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EMS ‘Fully-online’ Module: Distance learners make use of weekly podcasts for planning and reflection

Lecturers Lemay Quesada and Rodrique George, created podcasts for their weekly lessons (seven weeks) – within the ‘fully-online’ EMD 611 (Business Communication) module.

Podcasts were used to introduce weekly activities and expectations. Students from different geographical locations were able to listen to the recordings and prepare their weekly activities. At the end of each week the lecturers posted an additional reflective podcast, summarising the weekly activities which assisted students to reflect on their learning and progress.

Using podcasts in an online environment includes the following educational purposes:

  • The use of podcasts caters for various learning styles, especially the auditory learners;
  • Podcasts are great alternatives for delivering content or lessons to students who need remedial or extended support and;
  • Teachers can audio record (podcast) specific learning material for reinforcement and revision
  • Students are able to easily access and listen to podcasts from wherever they are, via their mobile devices.(https://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/12/teachers-guide-on-use-of-podcasting-in.html)
Podcasts can be uploaded to iKamva via the ‘Podcast’ eTool, which can be enabled in the ‘Manage Tools’ section under ‘Site Info’. This will automatically create a folder under the ‘Course Resources’ where students can download the audio files. Podcasts and audio files can also be embedded within the ‘Lessons eTool’ (weekly topics).
Contact the CIECT team to design, develop and quality assure your blended and distance learning environments.

Did You Know? You can enhance your practical sessions using VR?

Virtual Reality (VR) can enhance practical sessions, whereby the user can be immersed within an environment to conduct experiments (e.g. Chemical Reaction, Frog Lobotomy, etc).

Other VR technologies such as interactive 360 videos can be used to illustrate lessons. Students can view these 360 videos through their personal smartphones.

Here is an example from Google Labs in simple virtual reality:

https://experiments.withgoogle.com/webvr/inside-music/view/

VR

EMS ‘Fully-online’ Module: Distance learners engage in continuous and final online assessment

Lecturer Akhbar Khalfe, utilised the ‘question pools’ feature to develop a bank of online questions.  This formed part of his weekly continuous assessment activities for the ‘fully-online’, EMD 512 (Principles of Management and Business) module.

This feature allows students to complete online quizzes related to the specific topics that were presented each week. Students received results as they complete the online assessment quizzes.  The assessment activities reinforced learning and enabled students to engage with the content.

‘Question Pools’ refer to a defined collection of questions, and can be applied to a specific online test or quiz. Lecturers are able to set up a bank of questions and thereby define how many questions should be drawn from the question pool, in a specific assessment.

The feature also automatically randomises the bank of questions, per student. Hence, tests will differ slightly from one student to another.

In addition, multiple question pools can be created and drawn into one assessment through the use of parts/sections. This allows for tests that cover more than one topic or chapter, to be set up accordingly.  Furthermore, it also allows for the use of various question types within one specific test.

Akbar has made use of various question pools for the final examination which took place in the last week of the online module. Students were assessed on their overall competence related to the weekly thematic content, that is shared throughout the seven (7) week online module.

**The continuous and final assessment activities were conducted online [‘fully-online module’].

Did You Know? iKamva’s Live Video Conferencing tool allows you to annotate a slideshow presentation

iKamva’s live video conferencing tool allows one to annotate directly on the slideshow presentation. Lecturers have the ability to add text and drawings during a live video conference, and can also grant permission to other users to do the same. Hence, students and tutors will also be able to add input on the presentation, if allowed. Annotating during your online video conference allows you to highlight areas of the screen/presentation, and draw attention to specific content.

In order to familiarise you with the steps to annotate on your presentation/lecture slides during a video conference; watch the inserted video snippet which highlights the following instructions:

  • Select one of the annotation tools from the tool navigation bar

  • Depending on tool, Click and drag to draw shapes or add text boxes, or

  • Draw freely on the screen using the pencil tool

NB: CIECT is currently engaged in a pilot phase with the Institute for Post School Studies (IPSS), specifically the PGDiP: TVET.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9cHswR8w1k

Discussion Forums: An interactive communication and formative assessment tool

The discussion forum is an asynchronous communication eTool integrated within the institutional Learning Management System (LMS) – iKamva. This eTool enables students to engage in the forum from any geographical location and communication does not have to happen instantly. This allows students to think about their responses and to construct coherent submissions. Students are able to view and reply to posts which facilitates a constructive peer review process.

Lecturers are able to create specific topics related to their discipline for discussion as well as assessment purposes. Articles and various resources can be added to the topics to steer the discussions. The forums can be used to promote interactive discussion amongst students. The discussion forum tool allows lecturers to identify application in ‘real-life’ scenarios. As students engage in peer review, lecturers can assign marks for assessment purposes. This will also encourage reflective posts to be authentic and well-structured, in order for students to gain substantial marks.

Contact the CIECT team to setup your online discussion activities.

Did you know? You can pre-load presentations/lectures to prepare for an online meeting [BigBlueButton]

Dear Colleagues,

The eTool within iKamva called Meetings [BigBlueButton/BBB] allows you to prepare for your lectures before engaging in an online meeting.   You will be able to pre-load presentations for student engagement.

In order to become familiar with the steps on how to pre-load presentations/lecture slides for an interactive online classroom meeting; view the inserted video snippet which highlights the following instructions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fe9ulqFb2Nc

• Locate your presentation from storage device
• Select the chosen file
• Upload selected file

**This presentation will be available once the meeting is started by the moderator.

NB: CIECT is currently engaged in a pilot phase with the Institute for Post School Studies (IPSS), specifically the PGDiP: TVET.

ePortfolio used as a formative assessment eTool

Dear Colleagues,
The Centre for Innovative Education and Communication Technologies (CIECT) has observed and experienced an increasing demand for the design and development of ePortfolios for students across faculties, including: Education, Arts, CHS, Dentistry and Science.
The ePortfolio is structured as a formal assessment activity which enables students to:

  • collate information and learning material over a period of time;
  • record learning activities and competencies which are monitored and assessed;
  • reflect and share accomplishments;
  • insert relevant images and videos;
  • insert relevant tasks, essays and links; as well as
  • embed content related to discipline.
eportf1.png
Students are able to reflect on their progress and take ownership of their learning using this form of assessment eTool from various geographical settings.

Contact the CIECT team to discuss the design and development of ePortfolios.

Did You Know? 4 Ways to Improve your Online Summative Assessments

summative

Did you know? You can easily access an online meeting within iKamva [Big Blue Button]

At CIECT we can conduct meetings from different geographical spaces. We use iKamva’s Big Blue Button to engage in online discussions and meetings. In order to become familiar with how to access an interactive online classroom meeting, watch the inserted video snippet which highlights the following instructions:

  • Enter class
  • Join meeting
  • Test the sound and confirm audio

** The lecturer is the moderator and has to access the meeting first.

NB: CIECT is currently engaged in a pilot phase with the Institute for Post School Studies (IPSS), specifically the PGDiP: TVET.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWRmGWxmZpo&feature=youtu.be