Monthly Archives: May, 2015

School of Pharmacy: ePortfolio for student development

Lecturer, Nadine Butler from School of Pharmacy consulted with the CIECT team on the creation of an ePortfolio template (Google Sites) and the distribution of it to her 3rd year students. It was recommended that she make use of a tool called siteMaestro, that will allow an educator to copy (bulk), share and manage Google Sites (ePortfolios) with a roster of students and ultimately spend less time managing the ePortfolio. Nadine therefore has more time to collaborate and reflect on the content and student development. Aguaded, López and Jaén (2013:203) also note that a potential weakness of ePortfolio use by students is that “too much time needs to be spent on building them”. Accordingly, Pink, Cadbury and Stanton (2008:1132-1133) reflect on the use of “templates to guide students through the stages of the reflective learning cycle and personal learning plans”.

The students are able to archive information collected of what has been learned and what has been achieved over a period of time. The evidence that can be embedded within an ePortfolio includes:
– Word, Powerpoint, PDF documents;
– Digital media (images, videos, podcasts); and
– Text
These 3rd year students will build on this years ePortfolio for the following year.

Benefits for students stem from Meeus, Questier and Derks’ (2006:136) observation that “The student wants to use [a] portfolio to show his/her competence”, and that “Working with competencies has a number of advantages. In the first place competencies are rooted in practical situations, also known as ‘authentic contexts’, and are linked to the professional practice for which the student is being trained”. Additionally, the use of ePortfolios “allows a lecturer to find out about learning processes, his/her class’s working methods, tutoring processes, the level of students’ competency acquisition and the problems that students encounter while working in teams, etc. In short, e-portfolios help to monitor the teaching-learning process” (Aguaded, López and Jaén; 2013:203).

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eAssessment: External Collaboration (MRC) Online Exam

The South African Medical Research Council (MRC) approached the CIECT team (through Professor Ramesh Bharuthram) for the design and development of an online portal (iKamva/Sakai) to deliver a joint programme. The instructional designers advised the subject matter experts regarding the use of the specific eTools for assessment purposes. Furthermore, prior to the release of the environment, a critical test (trial) phase was conducted with the subject-matter experts, the Instructional Designer, faculty members and selected students.

The Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Clinical Research (IPPCR) Course is a joint initiative (educational partnership) between the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center, USA.

The portal (hosted on iKamva/Sakai) was used to share resources which included:

– Faculty members Bio information;
– Book chapters; and
– Presentations

Furthermore, the portal was used to deliver an online exam which was successfully delivered on Saturday, 16 May 2015 at UWC, Faculty of Science. Approximately 74 participants engaged within the online exam within a secure test environment. The exam questions and answers were set up and randomised. The CIECT team supported and invigilated during the online exam. Faculty members were also present to give guidance regarding the specific content. The results were exported and assessed by the programme coordinators and participants, who achieved the required results received a Certificate of Competence. The participants also completed an online course evaluation, which was embedded in the online environment in iKamva.

Chemistry online test: 700 students engage in eAssessment environment

Lecturer, Karen Wallace of the Chemistry Department setup an online test to assess students’ knowledge on how to apply skills within a practical lab environment. Approximately 700 students completed the online test, asynchronously (over a period of two weeks). It should be noted that the test, which consisted of a range of Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs), was conducted in a secure, lab environment with dedicated invigilators.

The lecturer consulted with the CIECT team regarding the structure of the eAssessment environment, as various mathematical and chemical calculations had to be illustrated. The Instructional Designer (CIECT) also advised regarding the use of digital media in order to effectively illustrate these calculations.

“Using online quizzes and interactive multimedia can allow learners to engage with material, maintain their motivation, create new knowledge and facilitate comprehension” (Stephenson, 2008). “The multiple-choice test is a staple of higher education because it provides an efficient and effective measure of student learning” (McKeachie in Butler et al., 2008).

** Please view CIECT training and support interventions for 2015 at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/ozxg3oy
** Bookings should be done via the iEnabler platform, 2 days prior to the workshop.

English Department: 1 st Year Interactive ‘Online Language and Essay Writing’ Programme

Lecturer and Project Coordinator, Fiona Moolla of the English Department created an ‘online language and essay writing Programme’ – for English 1st Year students. The purpose of the module is to enable students to:
– navigate relevant content;
– focus on basic skills for academic writing and effective language use; and
– engage in self-directed learning (in this case, online assessment tests).

The interactive online Language Programme is available to approximately 700 English 1st Yr students to test and develop their essay writing skills. To-date, more than half of the 1st Yr students have accessed and interacted with the various ‘content blocks’ (including, subject verb agreement, sentence structure, paragraph writing, etc.).

It should be noted that Fiona worked in collaboration with Language Specialists and the Instructional Designer (CIECT) -to develop the content and related assessment tasks; select appropriate eTools; and align accordingly. Furthermore, prior to the release of the environment, a critical test (trial) phase had to be conducted with the subject-matter expert, the Instructional Designer, and the student tutor.

Recent feedback from students have indicated the benefits of this Programme.  However, the lecturer will be able to deliberate on the impact once there is evidence of application within specific writing pieces.

NB: Recently, lecturers and tutors in the English Department have been referred to this initiative; especially regarding their students who are having challenges with academic, essay writing. Hence, this Programme may be extended to accommodate all undergraduate English students. This online Programme is available asynchronously (independently, at your own pace and time).  Students are also able to engage in a particular test (linked to a content block) as many times as required. The system automatically grades the test and provides online results.

Sim et al (2004) identify automated marking, reinforcement of the ability of students to study at their own pace, the ability to retake questions multiple times, and the receiving of rapid feedback as the core advantages of using multiple choice questions in computerised and online testing. Moreover, Jamieson (2005) argues that online language assessment allows for the construction of tests that are better tailored to the abilities of the students, thus giving more accurate measurement of their abilities. Furthermore, they can make testing a more interesting experience for the students. However, the vital importance of a pedagogically sound and theoretically informed instructional design is emphasised (Jamieson, 2005).

** Please view CIECT training and support interventions for 2015 at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/ozxg3oy
** Bookings should be done via the iEnabler platform, 2 days prior to the workshop.