Education Faculty: Designing blended learning and teaching environments

Lecturers in the Education Faculty created a number of 78 online modules within iKamva, for the 2017 academic year. Various eTools have been used, such as the Course Resources, Tests & Quizzes, Discussion Forum, Lessons, Dropbox, Turnitin and Microsoft Word – to support teaching, learning and assessment practices. In addition, Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) such as Digital PhotoStories and ePortfolios were used for assessment purposes.

  • Course Resources: Lecturers created a structured environment to provide students with resources such as videos, PowerPoint presentations, articles, and documents etc.
  • Tests & Quizzes: Lecturers designed and developed online assessments; making use of various question types. Some tests incorporated negative marking (i.e. 0.5 points deducted per incorrect answer). In addition, this eTool was used to conduct online Course Evaluations.
  • Lessons: Students were also required to engage in self-evaluation and peer-evaluation activities. The Lessons eTool was used as a reflective space, where students could provide the lecturer and their peers with this feedback. Furthermore, this eTool includes a variety of other functionalities (embedding videos, documents, external links and polls etc.).
  • Dropbox: Students were also expected to submit an assignment in their Dropbox folder on iKamva. **Note: The Dropbox eTool automatically creates a folder for each student allowing for private sharing of documents between the student and lecturer.

The track changes’ functionality within Microsoft Word was used to enable the tutors to provide appropriate feedback for assignments. The specific assignment, including the feedback, is returned to a student – in order for the student to improve their academic paper.

Turnitin (anti-plagiarism platfom) was used for students to develop their academic writing. Turnitin was also used to monitor and track student submissions; as well as incorporating the GradeMark, Peer-Review and Rubric eTools. Students were able to submit assignments and hereafter each student (who submitted), received an anonymous student paper which they were required to review. The review process entailed the constructive feedback related to grammar, spelling, sentence structure; and relevant content/topic.

It should be noted that a collaborative Digital Storytelling Project was discussed and conceptualised between CIECT and Education lecturers. This project enables the 2nd and 3rd year Education students to create and plan digital stories to deliver their lesson plans during fieldwork practicals. **NB: Students received the mobile devices to develop their lesson plans. Each semester a specific student group will receive the mobile devices on loan which is returned after submission.

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.

Please contact the CIECT team to assist with the effective design and development of your online environment.

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