The UWC student orientation held at the beginning of the first academic semester is one of the highlights of the year at UWC. It provides an unparalleled opportunity for the University – its faculties, department and staff to introduce themselves and engage with first year students. This year was no different and eLearning took charge of promoting the Unit to first years from all faculties and departments.
On Saturday, 16 January 2010, the eLearning Unit had an information booth where part-time students were informed about eLearning. They were provided with an eLearning pamphlet and DVD to take home which elaborated to them what eLearning @UWC is all about. This just-in-time training toolkit includes screen recordings on how to access an interactive online module; downloading relevant course material, engage in discussion forums; and completing their online assignments.
This event was repeated for the full-time student orientation week, 18-22 January 2010. Some of the comments from students included:
– “eLearning will really up our game”;
– “This is so cool”
– “This will really help us with our studies after hours”.
** However, even though students show a keen interest in eLearning it remains the lecturer’s decision to create an interactive course for the benefit of his/her students. The rational behind the practice (Student Orientation) within academic institutions is to assist the new student to adapt and understand the processes of the institution (Pascarella, et al 1986).
The Colloquium on Innovative Pedagogical Practices Using ICTs in the extended curriculum will be held on 5th – 6th October 2009, at Granger Bay Hotel School. The event is being organised through the regional Foundation Special Interest Group (SIG) of Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA).
Since June 2007, the eLearning team has highlighted various Podcast initiatives across departments at UWC and these large-scale Podcast initiatives for students are amongst the first in South African Universities. One of our elearning team members will conduct the following workshops at the colloquium:
• How to use podcasts (audio-recordings of lectures, interviews etc)
• How to use Audacity (an open source editing system for audio files)
Participants at these workshops will receive the following UWC eLearning materials:
• An Audacity Instructional manual
• A Narrated Audacity PPT.
• A DVD (just-in-time-training-tool) which will enable users to create podcasts at home or in their respective workplaces.
These learning materials are developed under the Creative Commons Attributions – ShareAlike License. Hence, it can be used and adapted, however the original UWC creators need to be acknowledged.
This effort by the eLearning team of UWC is indicative of a team that contributes to the knowledge era. Moreover, the team’s contribution at this ICT Colloquium is aligned to the attempts by the institution to position itself favourably in the global and knowledge era. We have become a part of the innovation system. Houghton and Sheehan (2000:12) states that this system constitutes of “flows and relationships which exist among industry, government and academia in the development of science and technology”.
The following will help you to gain a better understanding of a lecturer perspective of the ePortfolio (Stephen Downes, 2005):
Expanded teacher performance
Lecturer evaluations based on ePortfolios and other electronic data sources improve upon traditional observation, thus promoting reflection (on the work); document student learning, growth, development; and readiness of teachers.
A lecturer is able to document and reflect upon the ways in which the student has met the outcomes for that particular course. Course portfolios are often used by lecturers as part, or for all course assessment.
The lecturer is able to document that students have completed their work; the skills they have learned; and academic outcomes they have met in the department or programme. Later this information can or will be handed over to students to supplement their personal portfolios they have created – as it is an evaluation of assessment from a neutral professional perspective.
This portfolio is a personal development planning tool in which the lecturers record their achievements, future plans and extra -curricular activities. Appraisers could add comments on behalf of the lecturers from a neutral perspective.
With the proliferation of portfolios in higher education, it is important for educators and other stakeholders to understand the perspective of the primary users of portfolios – the students. Portfolios are student-centred devices and the ways students view, use and implement portfolios are revealing elements to aid educators in the successful implementation of portfolios systems in their learning environment (Lorenzo and Ittelson, 2005).
Our eLearning system enables the student to add information and the lecturer to view this information. The information can also be saved as an Acrobat reader document (Pdf) and can be viewed and shared with others even if they are offline. – Hence the system enables the student to export the ePortfolio as a Pdf document which can be distributed to others.
ePortfolio: ‘A collection of assembled material of authentic and diverse evidence’ – 24 July 2009
An ePortfolio is a collection of assembled material of authentic and diverse evidence. The information that is archived can be a collection of what has been learned and what has been achieved over a period of time. The ePortfolio focuses on continuing and professional development for both students and academics. Information is entered within the ePortfolio over a period of time; is stored electronically and is accessible to others to view (White Paper, 2005: The Student Electronic Portfolio, 2008).
The ePortfolio tool within our eLearning system provides the user with a space to:
· keep track of tasks;
· share with peers;
· showcase teaching-and-learning activities; and
· reflect on a teaching-and-learning journey.
There are four distinct uses of an ePortfolio . The first one focuses on the learning – and has an impact on cognitive processes, reflections and putting things together in an energetic way. Students are able to record actual details of what they have learned and this is further enhanced through comments of tutors. The second focus is on the transition from one individual to another whereby the user is able to select those who can view the portfolio. This has an impact on the lifelong learning approach. Through the learning and transitions, information is gathered and transcripts are kept of all assessments – formative, summative or diagnostic. The student is able to present his/her portfolio to future employees and other individuals. (Clark, 2007)
To view the online video of Clark, click on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pwhjWWe740&NR=1
Discussion forums are an asynchronous communication tool meaning that topics and replies posted in the forum do not necessarily have to happen instantly. Participants have the advantage of visiting the discussion forum and posting a reply after having the time to clearly think and reflect about the topic. This allows them to construct a coherent response within a certain time frame and this adds to the quality of the contributions.
It can be used as a tool to evaluate the learner’s participation within the course and marks can be allocated. It allows students to take part in online discussions and debates at their own time and also helps structuring team performance.Discussion forums can lead to an increased level of involvement from the learners because they provide a sense of anonymity and learners who in a conventional lecture hall would have been intimidated to participate in a discussion begin contributing online (Dick,W & Carey,L.2001:The systematic design of instruction 5th edition) NY: Addison Wesley).
As a facilitator you can break down your learners into small groups using KEWL and allocate them to various discussion forums or topics (View example of discussion forum setup by Social Work Lecturer: Blog by Juliet Stoltenkamp http://eteaching.uwc.ac.za ( http://eteaching.uwc.ac.za/ )). Within these forums you can add articles and other resources which can be used as the basis for the discussion topics posted (View discussion topic setup by Law Lecturer: Blog by Juliet Stoltenkamp http://eteaching.uwc.ac.za ( http://eteaching.uwc.ac.za/ ) ).
When students enroll at our institution they will be aware that traditional teaching is supplemented with eLearning. They should have access to your pre-reading material and a module outline (View example of Law Lecturer at http://eteaching.uwc.ac.za Blog by Juliet). As a lecturer you can place an overview of your learning modules/units online which can be in text and digital formats.
Enhance your online content with discussion topics; workgroups; blogs; wiki’s & online assessments. The assessment tools include MCQ’s, assignments, online worksheets & rubrics.
I quote our vice-chancellor during a discussion at the IOP planning meeting regarding technology infusion: Giving students access to an outline of your course before they come to your lecturers ‘shows that you respect them’.
Your students should be able to access previous examination papers and tips at anytime and anywhere.
View an example (done by nursing lecturers) of an online classroom that gives students access to prepare for examinations and refer to a previous examination questionnaire at : http://eteaching.uwc.ac.za (Blog by Juliet Stoltenkamp: Giving Your Students Access to Online Examination Papers & Tips).
Lecturer Gerard Fillies, of the Interdisciplinary Teaching & Learning Unit has placed his module: ‘Interdisciplinary Service-Learning’ on the eLearning platform and provided a brief introduction to prospective students. The lecturer gave students clear objectives regarding what is expected from them; and developed a structured online module. Previous student projects such as, logistical information; community profiles; and the Theewaterskloof Community Partnerships Project were also highlighted.
Gerard further created a link from this online introductory course page, to a Facebook group. He comments on his recent Facebook activities: “I would get the names of all students who will be placed within our sites (Grabouw, Genadendal & Caledon) and create a group page within Facebook where I would invite all the students to join this group. I would then use this to post announcements; start discussions with students about arising matters; create awareness of important events; and get feedback (evaluation) about the placement, supervision, and accommodation”.
This process took place in an informal manner in order to familiarise the students with the project. Thereafter they are expected to engage with the subject matter, within the structured online module (developed within the eLearning system). Gerard also intends to use the eLearning platform for assessment purposes. Previous student projects included the creation of digital stories and will be placed within the online module. Please note that only his registered students will be able to have access to; and submit their online assessment activities.
Lecturer, Gerard Filies, from the Interdisciplinary Teaching-and-Learning Unit has made use of digital stories to enhance his instructional practice.
The eLearning team conducted a training session whereby both the lecturer and students received the skills required to create their own digital stories. Students were requested to bring along pictures that would adequately describe their digital stories. During the eLearning training session, students were shown how to import media, structure it, add effects, add transitions and export their digital stories.
Gerard narrates: “One student managed to use her newly acquired skills to enhance her presentation skills during her practical community placement. It was an ideal method to both showcase the work that students do, but personally to see the growth that has taken place. A follow-up session is intended with the students who participated. I would like to upload the students’ digital stories on a Service Learning E-Teaching site as a method of orientation for new students going to do their practical in Theewaterskloof”.
The eLearning team makes use of a variety of proprietary and open source digital tools such as; Audacity; GIMP & Photo story to create these digital stories.
To embark on your digital storytelling journey contact the eLearning team.
Prof. Allen Christoffels from the South African National Bio-informatics Institute (SANBI) requested the eLearning Development and Support unit (EDSU) to assist with the development of a Grade 8 TB and HIV/ Aids Interactive Resource Kit. The eLearning- SANBI partnership, Phase 1 started off with a conceptualisation meeting where all stakeholders gave their input which resulted in the development of a project scope.
Phase 2 realised the production of the actual resource, an interactive DVD-ROM. Two resource developers (Anthony Sylvester & Edna Rooth) are responsible for developing the content for the text book, while the eDSU team is responsible for the creation of digital components related to the content and digital assessment tasks. This resource kit includes multi-media interactive tasks such as: audio clips, true and false questionnaires; pairing activities; completing the missing words; drag and drop activities; crossword puzzles; magnifier; and mix and match activities. The resource kit also entails a Life Orientation text book that is currently being developed by SANBI.
Working closely with the resource developers, the eDSU team is in the process of populating ten chapters for this project. Phase 3 will entail quality assurance of the integration of various eTools, graphics, multi-media, assessment tasks and relevant content. Continuous assessment of the project also entails piloting with students and testing on different computer platforms.
The first pilot test with Gr 8 school learners and educators took place 8th of June 2010. The learners were exposed to the interactive DVD tasks, specifically chapters 1 and 2. The feedback was very positive and students stated that engaging with eTools, audio and visual media made learning easier and more fun.