Lecturer Debbie Hamman in collaboration with the CIECT team has created a structured online environment for First year Mercantile Law (MER102) students. The lecturer shared course resources, structured lessons; and set-up an online test.
Lessons aligned to themes & self-directed learning
The lessons are structured and aligned to themes (1 – 12) whereby students:
- view content (which can also be downloaded for offline viewing);
- track their knowledge of a specific theme; and
- download a quiz for reinforcement and self-directed learning (no marks assigned).
Podcasts aligned to themes
Podcasts are shared with students on a weekly basis in relation to the specific themes; as well as the course outline. Regular course communication and announcements are shared with students via the announcements tool.
Online test: Question pools & student groups to ensure integrity of the assessment
Approximately 540 students have engaged in their first term test which entailed 5 parts. Various question types were applied, namely, Multiple Choice (drawn from a question pool), Matching, Fill-in-the-blank, and practical question responses. The students were divided into two groups (according to surname); to ensure that each group engaged in different question pools. Two assessment sessions were set up on a specific day, to allow the student groups to engage in the online test.
Traditional text review methods would require lecturers to copy-paste text into Google or the Google Scholar search engine. Lecturers would repeat this process for each student submission. This method is cumbersome and is unable to access softcopies within paid websites.
Turnitin training during the lockdown period
Student training entailed generating and downloading a Turnitin report. During the training workshops, the students were able to pose questions on how to submit assignments, resubmit assignments and interpret their reports. To date (20th March till 1 September), CIECT has assisted more than 432 UWC members (staff and students) on queries related to the use of Turnitin.
The Turnitin search engine instantaneously locates sourced text from multiple submissions. This process is executed by the Turnitin search engine as soon as assignments are uploaded by students. Reports are generated within a one to twenty-four (1H-24H) hour window period. All students’ submissions are checked against the UWC local repository, online submissions as well as journals, periodicals and publications (including paid sites). The use of the ‘Originality Check Tool’ has increased across faculties and is the most requested tool within Turnitin.
Rubric Tool integrated within ‘Assignment’
The Turnitin (Tii) platform enables the seamless integration of a Rubric within ‘assignments. Lecturers/Instructors are able to create Rubrics tailored to their niche discipline. The Rubric Scoring Tool assists the lecturer to complete the rubric accordingly. It should be noted; multiple Rubrics can be created and used across various assignments. Students are able to view their accumulated total mark within the Rubric.
Voice Comment Tool
The Turnitin ‘Voice Comment’ tool allows lecturers to give audio feedback in relation to student papers, submitted to the Turnitin (Tii) platform. The tool forms part of several online tools, within the Turnitin Grade Mark Tool. Students are able to listen to the lecturer’s audio feedback, whilst reading the report/feedback.
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.
Science Faculty: Lecturer explores the use of BigBlueButton (BBB) – preparing for ‘live online lectures’
Science Lecturer, David Holgate has experimented with the use of BigBlueButton (BBB) which has been integrated within iKamva. This eTool has been named ‘Meetings’ within the iKamva system.
In order to familiarise the lecturer with the functionality of the Meetings tool, an online ‘Meeting’ was created in order to test and experiment with the functionality. During this session, the CIECT Instructional Designer uploaded and shared a presentation to showcase during the meeting.
The lecturer was able to moderate participants’ interactions; upload and present lectures (PDFs, PowerPoint slides); use annotation features on live presentations and documents; and highlight key sections within a document/article. During this exploratory meeting, the two members were able to engage through a live chat, which is visible and available to all participants.
Furthermore, the lecturer engaged in an exploratory session by himself and experimented with the features and functionalities within the eTool. Subsequent to this activity he shared some comments.
Feedback/ Comments from the lecturer after engaging in testing with CIECT and on his own:
“Well done for getting this going. I was also experimenting this morning and it seems to work really well. I am not sure of the band width restrictions, but if Science gets going fast in using this it will be great.”
“I am setting up an iKamva page for us to use for T&L in the Faculty. Using this tool is one thing that I hope people will share there.”
Lecturers are invited to contact the CIECT Instructional Design team to set up a familiarisation session for using BBB within iKamva.
It is advisable to add the Gradebook eTool – to all your online modules; especially if you intend to mark assessments online.
The Gradebook eTool will enable:
- Auto-calculatecourse grades, with the ability to over-ride any course grade.
- Collect and display scoresfrom tools such as Tests & Quizzes, Assignments, and Forums.
- Import gradesfrom a spreadsheet (CSV) file.
- Export grades as a spreadsheet (CSV) file.
- Organise grades into categories, and use categories to:
- Assign a weight to the category,
- Automatically drop grades in a specific category.
- Exporta printer-friendly (PDF) version of individual student grades.
Students can view their own grades and comments in the Gradebook.
Contact the CIECT team at eLearning@uwc.ac.za
It is important that you are aware of the following factors that impact the successful completion of an online assessment:
- Students may have limited to no data, which will affect their internet connectionto iKamva (speed/bandwidth). Saving and moving to the next question could also be impacted.
- Students should take note that online exams will be timed. Hence, they should ensure that they have a stable internet connection.
- Students should ‘NOT’ double clickon the exam to open it. They should only click once on a link and wait for it to load.
- Students should click on the ‘Save’ buttonto record each answer as they progress through the examination.
- Students should make sure that they have logged out of iKamva from all other devices, before logging in to start their online exam from one specific device.
- Students accessing their online examination make use of different devices.
- Multiple devices should not be usedto access tests and especially online exams. Using different devices to access iKamva (at the time of the online exam) will affect the submission and the recording of the specific examination.
- Students should alwaysuse the latest versions of Google Chrome OR Mozilla FireFox
**If a student experiences connection issues, before the lecturer allows another attempt, appropriate investigation should be conducted by the CIECT team to provide verification. The decision will be up to the lecturer once evidence has been provided.
If a timed test is created, you should allow the student to have sufficient time to access and settle. Hence an extended ‘open and close time’ setting is advised.
Example: If a test is 45 minutes, the opening and closing time-period should be set for at least 60 minutes. This gives students with different access and data capabilities enough time to login and begin the assessment
Please contact CIECT to advise and assist with your online examination in iKamva