EMS Faculty Lecturer, Salo Moodley has created an online environment to support teaching, learning and assessment practices for her 1st year Academic Literacy for Business students (ALB 131). The online environment made use of content creation and assessments tools and enabled students to engage in and complete this 1st Semester module during the lockdown period.
Assignments aligned to Turnitin (Tii): Developmental Approach – Writing & Referencing Skills
A number of assessments were conducted via iKamva’s Assignments tool, allowing students to submit their work remotely and enabled immediate tracking of non-submissions. Major assignments were checked for originality using the iKamva’s Turnitin integration, which enabled students to resubmit their work up to 4 times in order to develop their writing and referencing skills.
Self-evaluation and Reflective Pieces
Students were expected to submit a reflective piece called a self-evaluation, where they would critique one of their own writing tasks submitted previously. Students were required to give themselves a mark and then motivate their reasoning for this mark. This also enabled the lecturer to gauge if the student had grasped key concepts and topics required for the module.
Reflection & Lessons Learnt
The students were also requested to submit a reflective task, whereby they had the opportunity to reflect on their respective journeys in the ALB 131 module; and identify and discuss what they deemed to have been the most valuable lessons learnt in this module.
Education Faculty lecturer, Ruben Daniels has utilised the iKamva platform in order to support student-educators enrolled in the year-long EDC 301 module. The lecturer has made effective use of the environment by incorporating various content, communication, and assessment tools to support teaching and learning during the national lockdown period.
‘Chat Room’: Informal discussion space to address student challenges
The lecturer makes use of the Chat Room tool as an informal discussion space, whereby students can respond to various topics set up by the lecturer (in the form of chat rooms). Students also used this space as a platform to discuss course work, concerns regarding teaching during the pandemic, and other related issues.
BigBlueButton (BBB): Live lectures and Group Discussions
The lecturer has made use of the meetings tool to engage with the students for live lectures.
In addition, he split his lecture time slots and setup live discussions with students groups.
Discussion Forum: Formative assessment – Opinion pieces
The Discussion Forum tool was used for formative assessment purposes. Topics were created, and students were required to post their opinion pieces in the forum. Students were required to comment on another student’s response; either to agree or disagree and substantiate accordingly.
This type of assessment allowed students to reflect deeply about the teaching profession and the challenges, especially during a pandemic. Hence, students could voice their opinions while simultaneously collaborating with their peers. Students have also submitted assignments online whereby the lecturer could download and mark accordingly.
Dentistry Faculty lecturers, Shaheda Simons and Jos Hille jointly teach 1st year students in the CLD 100 (Clinical Dentistry) Module. This year-long module has been supported by a structured online environment, making use of various assessment and content creation tools within the iKamva platform.
Scaffolded structure: Learning units
The online environment was developed according to a scaffolded structure which enables students to work through each ‘learning unit’ as the module progresses. Each learning unit provides students with an:
- Rationale for Learning,
- Lecture Presentations
- Required Readings; and
- Embedded YouTube videos.
Reflection Sheet: Identify student learning needs
Furthermore, students were required to complete a ‘reflection sheet’ at the end of each learning unit via an embedded Google Form, where they could discuss any issues; illustrate achievement of learning outcomes. The ‘reflection sheet’ allowed lecturers to easily access and analyse students’ responses; and therefore could identify student learning needs in real-time.
Online Assessments & Mid-Year Evaluation
Due to the lockdown, students were expected to submit a number of online assessments via the Assignments, and Tests & Quizzes eTools. Submitted assignments were verified for originality using Turnitin integration. Online quizzes made use of MCQ type questions, whereby students were required to select multiple correct choices for each question. A mid -year module evaluation was also conducted using the Tests & Quizzes, allowing lecturers to collate student feedback and adjust their teaching and learning strategy if necessary.
During this national lockdown period, lecturers Shannon Stirrup, Megan Alexander, Aeysha Khan and Lucia Hess-April from the Community & Health Sciences Faculty requested an online environment to be created for the 2nd Semester CPM (Community Process Module) – OCT 459.
Creation of an ‘Online Community Block’ (Fieldwork)
Students were unable to physically access the communities for fieldwork purposes. Hence, they made use of the iKamva project site to engage in an ‘Online Community Block’.
Students are assigned a ‘community profile’ along with a specific project and informational videos relating to the selected community. Furthermore, weekly online meetings and tutorials take place using iKamva’s BigBlueButton conferencing tool. Students are also required to submit weekly tasks according to the designated community (and project).
Alternative Assessment: Community Process Document & Reflective Tasks
As students are unable to visit the communities in person, an alternative means of assessment had to be developed. The lecturers used the same ‘Community Process’ document as a guideline for students regarding processes to follow in the communities. However the assessment of learning was based on a selection of essay topics rather than the traditional case study. The students submitted their reflective tasks to the Assignment eTool, which was also linked to Turnitin (anti-plagiarism platform).
Lectures are structured into 5 weekly lesson pages, which include:
- an overview of the week’s topic;
- a checklist to assist students in completing all their goals for the week;
- information regarding learning activities
- task submissions;
- online meeting time slots; and
- other relevant multimedia resources.
Language & Communication Studies lecturers, Kirby America and Zannie Bock developed a comprehensive, interactive online environment for students enrolled in the 1st Semester LCS 211 module. The module focused on central theoretical issues involved in Communication.
‘ePreps’ via Assignments eTool
The lecturers developed ‘ePreps’ which were submitted online and marked before the tutorial class (tutorials took place via the Chat Room tool during the lockdown). Tutors were allowed to address specific problem areas during this lockdown period. Furthermore, Turnitin integration was enabled to allow the written pieces to be checked for plagiarism.
‘Take-home Exam’ via Assignments eTool
The semester exam for the module was also conducted through iKamva’s Assignments eTool in the form of a Take-home exam. Students were required to submit a single document as their answer sheet, which was also sent through Turnitin. A total of 379 students managed to submit via iKamva (including the supplementary exam).
Lessons aligned to Weekly Topics & Interactive Questions
The online environment was structured according to weekly lecture topics, with a ‘Lesson’ page developed for each lecture. The lessons included content such as lecture slides, links to videos, course readings, and instructions for ePreps. Interactive questions were embedded in the lessons pages, which allow students to test their knowledge during learning.