The CIECT team continuously advocates the effective use and application of eTools (within the iKamva platform). Thus iKamva is not a mere ‘dumping site’; and will not replace critical face-to-face interaction in order to deal with threshold concepts.
Hence, blended teaching-and-learning approaches are strengthened through interactive online environment and essential contact sessions (via tutorials, lectures and practicals).
The following example demonstrates how lecturer Carly Steyn, EMS Faculty, makes use of dynamic group exercises to actively engage her part-time Management students via specific concepts and assessment activities. These blended learning-and-teaching practices include, familiarisation sessions whereby the first ninety minutes of a face-to-face lecture is dedicated to a practical group activity, related to theory and praxis.
This approach is further extended to a face-to-face discussion debriefing session, whereby the students are expected to engage and reflect with regards to specific concepts and topics.
It should be noted that prior to these critical face-to-face contact sessions, the lecturer makes effective use of iKamva via the announcement tool; dissemination of relevant lecture slides; readings and digital media components (in this case YouTube videos and TED Talks).
Hence, the lecturer’s teaching method goes beyond the mere dumping of content within the online environment. It should be noted that blended learning engagements and approaches are currently adopted and implemented across Departments (all Faculties).
Contact the CIECT team to design and develop a blended teaching-and-learning environment, to enhance your current practices.
“There has to be a dedicated ongoing attention to building and sustaining a learning environment where all students are able to engage in their academic studies with a growing sense of relevance and obtain the highest level of knowledge and skills that they can use as a basis for filling their future roles in society and becoming lifelong learners” (IOP Green Paper, Goal Area 1: Student Experience, page 8).
CIECT offers an integrated support structure for both students and lecturers with regards to the effective use of eTools for teaching-and-learning purposes. In its efforts to accommodate the diverse needs of users especially the differently-abled, various eTools training workshops are conducted for lecturers and students. Lecturers are able to create interactive learning material for their students making use of offline (stand-alone) eTools to create, podcasts, narrated powerpoints, digital stories and screencasts (with sub-titles). These interactive learning materials appeal to the differently-abled students which include the blind, partially sighted, deaf and the hearing impaired.
The iKamva Platform can be accessed with the use of the JAWS software package which allows for the reading of the materials displayed on the screen. The software also allows the screen to be enlarged for partially sighted users.
“It is important to enhance learning as an intellectual experience through the provision of a meaningful and transformative co-curriculum, responsive to the diverse needs of students and able to enhance their engagement with the learning experience is a key focus in UWC’s strategic intentions” (IOP Green Paper, Goal Area 1: Student Experience, page 9).
Lecturers from the School of Public Health (SOPH) contacted the CIECT team to assist with the creation of interactive online teaching-and-learning environments. CIECT’s continuous advocacy for the effective use and application of eTools encouraged the SOPH lecturers to make use of the iKamva platform to infuse ICTs into their teaching practice.
The Lecturers and Administrators (Hazel Bradley, Ziyanda Mwanda, Nikki Schaay, Nondumiso Ncube, Helene Schneider) approached CIECT to advise, design and develop online environments which enabled them “expand their global reach”, and engage effectively with Health Professional Managers across Africa.
These interactive environments enable students to engage in diverse group activities; critique learning material; and peer-review assessment activities.
**An online Masters Programme was structured according to eleven (11) topics whereby working-adult professionals were able to pace their learning, interact with peers and facilitators, and share related content. Lecturers are also able to communicate directly with students and share updates in real-time (chat tool); as well as asynchronously through discussion forums.
It should be noted that within this structured, scaffolded environment, the students were familiarised with the blog tool to introduce themselves, and share pictures of their actual communities (including working environments). This engagement progressed to a deeper learning approach whereby students engaged in activities of critique of specific learning material. In addition, the students were expected to submit individual assignments, reflective of theoretical and practical application.
These online environments created within iKamva enables the internationalisation of teaching-and-learning.
Contact the CIECT team to create your interactive environment.
Digital stories allow students to take a linear series of events and turn them into a multidimensional experience through a combination of voice, text, images and audio. (http://edtechteacher.org/tools/multimedia/digital-storytelling/, 2014)
This was the ultimate goal lecturer, Lesley Vorster had in mind when she created an assignment whereby the Oral Hygiene First Year students were requested to create a digital story for their group assignment. The group assignment outcomes were aligned to enable students to:
· Practice communication skills [using technology];
· Practice research and planning skills;
· Engage within a group [delegation, co-ordination]; and
· Become proficient related to a specific area of work.
The first year Dentistry students were trained by the CIECT team on the creation of a digital photostory and its related processes on the 23rd July and 6th August 2015. These processes included the design of a storyboard, import of selected images, adding titles and transitions, adding audio to images,import related soundtrack and export of digital story. Students were trained during the first session and further assisted and advised by the CIECT team during the second session.
The students were also provided with a structured rubric to assist them with the design and relevant outcomes of the assignment. They were marked on the following: their unique point of view; accuracy of content; voice consistency; images used; etc. The students presented this group assignment on the 26th August 2015.
“Digital storytelling can thus facilitate a constructivist approach for teaching and learning. It can be a helpful educational tool, as it provides a vehicle for combining digital media with innovative teaching and learning practices. Apart from building on learners’ technology skills, digital storytelling encourages additional educational outcomes (Dakich, 2008)”.