This week in class we discussed using myelearning (moodle) for blended learning. Firstly, I learned what MOODLE actually stands for (Modular, Object-Oriented, Dynamic Learning Environment), and was also introduced to the SEED continuum of online learning, which encompasses all levels of online course, from web-supported, to web-enhanced, web-enabled and finally to web-delivered. Considerable discussion ensued as everyone tried to work out which category each of our own courses would fall into - including me!
If I’ve understood it correctly, I believe I have courses that fall into each of these four categories. My first year Science Communication course is web-supported, as reading material and the outline of the course is posted on myelearning, but no extra activities. My undergraduate Evolutionary Biology course is probably classified as web-enhanced because it includes discussion fora as well as readings and materials for class. The 3rd year undergraduate course on Caribbean Island Ecology is web-enabled, as face to face lectures are replaced by screencasts, and complemented by face to face tutorials. The MSc courses I teach on are web-delivered: everything including the lectures, discussions, reading materials, assignments and quizzes are delivered online – both synchronously and asynchronously. It was interesting to classify them in this way, and becoming aware of the key differences between the ways in which they use the virtual learning environment (VLE) and thinking about why they are different. In some cases it is purely historical, depending on what I inherited from previous coordinators, and in others it is related to the nature of the content and whether it easily lends itself. In other instances it is simply that I have not yet had time to integrate the material better with the VLE.
We then learned about storyboarding. I was familiar with the general idea from the field of animation and film, but had not considered its application to education. I think of myself as quite a visual person, so the idea of storyboarding for planning courses appeals to me. However, so far it is something I have yet to actually try so I am looking forward to applying it to one of my courses. I enjoyed looking at the examples circulated in class, and thinking about imaginative ways to present the storyboard.
Once constructed, I imagine it will make it easier to gain an overview of the course content, and how the content flows from week to week, as well as how smoothly the activities and assessments fit into the topics/content. Finally, I think it will help ensure that a good variety of types of activity and assessment are included, by getting the bigger picture. Specifically, I plan to apply a storyboard approach to my science communication course. I inherited this course last year and have been trying to make the content more coherent and flowing, as well as the activities more blended with the lecture content. A combination of lectures and tutorial sessions, along side multiple guest lecturers on this course can also disrupt the flow of the course. Also, my student feedback suggested that the students found the spacing of the assessments an issue, so storyboarding could help me to balance these better by providing the overview to ensure that the deadlines are more spread out.
This is a place where I can reflect upon both on my teaching experiences as a new lecturer, and on my learning experiences as a student on the Certificate of University Teaching and Learning course.