This sharing practice session was part of an initiative to increase the opportunities for staff to share their experiences of teaching and pedagogies for enhancing learning through technology. CELT also supports sharing of practice including through case studies contributed to the online CELT Hub, a monthly Skillshare session, and occasional symposiums.
The main pedagogic theme of the session was scenario-based learning, with the ‘bring your own device’ agenda and story-telling also important topics of discussion. For this session presenters from the Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities were Kathleen Bell and Simon Perril who talked about student digital literacies and how technology is incorporated into the pedagogy and curriculum of Creative Writing and Mark Bradshaw, who talked about and demonstrated how he uses a response system to engage students in large lectures. From Health and Life Sciences, Annette Crisp talked about how students engage with the innovative scenario-based animations she has created, and Rob Weale provided insights into creating and managing scenario-based learning across Nursing.
Creative Writing: development of digital literacies
Creative Writing at DMU embeds digital literacies throughout the three-year undergraduate programme. It is important for writers to develop a range of technological skills and know-how so that they can better engage with the practice and theories of writing and story-telling that encompass an appreciation of the Web, hyperlinks and gaming. Although it might be expected that most students already have a high level of digital literacies, this is not always the case. Kathleen Bell and Simon Perril talked about a number of Craft Challenges that embed the use of technology.
Level 4 students are introduced to twitter as a writing tool. They are asked to look through the Tweets of various writers who use twitter and to identify those tweets they consider most interesting and most important. The pedagogy behind the exercise allows students to understand the type of writing that stands out amongst the crowd. Understanding twitter as a tool for writers is important to enable students to understand the potential for identity making and to enable them to practice conciseness in their writing.
Additionally level 4 students are required to write blog posts to enhance their writing skill while also learning about the technical and social aspects of the practice. The students write article reviews of relevant events, which are peer reviewed before posting onto their website, allowing authoring to a space that is public facing. This also adds to the profile of Creative Writing.
Level 5 students can focus on various concepts including hypertext and audio/visual layering. The latter requires students to use and learn photo-story software, which allows layering of visual, text and audio to build on the craft of creative story writing. We saw many created examples which demonstrated how text can be used to create suspense, by its sequence of appearance.
The other method, hypertext, originated from Raymond Queneau and refers to the process of the reader choosing their own story and their own ending by selecting hyperlinks to the next chapter or page.
Final year students are encouraged to build and maintain their own web presence. Creating a space where the public can see their blogs, authoring, and reviews of articles that perspective employers can see.
Annette Crisp building Avatars for criminology
Annette Crisp from HLS talked about innovative scenario based learning resources that she has created and how the students use them. In criminology reading about a horrific crime such as murder or rape incident may not fully engage the learner in all perspectives of the situation. Therefore the pedagogic purpose of the avatar-based stories is to encourage students to engage with the more visual representations, which also include background music and text combined to dramatic effect. Students are then able to think about the crime being committed and whether there is a sequence of events that demonstrated serial crimes.
The main software tools used to create the avatars are iClone for creating the 3D animation and Crazytalk by Realillusion, which is an app for create facial animation and voice. The scenario-based films of the avatars are placed into an articulate presentation. This provides an excellent platform for learning. The articulate software allows the students to read the slides to get acquainted with background information, then view the filmed scenarios. This process allows the student to engage with sections of the film and then to move back and forth in the presentation until all information is understood.
In addition to the criminology avatars Annette has produced some very engaging high- profile figures, such as Albeit Einstein and Margaret Thatcher, who she uses to draw attention to the importance of completing the national student survey. This is a really innovative and humorous way to capture student attention.
InfuseLearning feedback Mark Bradshaw
Mark Bradshaw from Fashion and Textiles shared his experience of using a programme called InfuseLearning. The initial goal was to capitalise on the trend of students ‘Bringing their own Device’(BOYD) to encourage student engagement, particularly in large lectures. Infuselearning allows tutors to create a quiz before the lecture which students can then respond to at specific points throughout the class. They can use a computer or any type of mobile device. The use of InfuseLearning is free and requires registration only on the Website.
One pedagogic aim of using InfuseLearning is to identify whether students have understood the topic area before leaving the classroom. Mark often found students nodded that they understood, but when the following week came with information that built upon the previous week students were unsure what to do.
During the sharing practice session we tested this software. This was a very useful way of understanding what the program does, what can be achieved, and how to do it. Having created a test for this purpose, Mark signed into the InfuseLearning program online and created a classroom number. The participants in the event signed into the program with iPads, mobiles, and laptops, and completed this test. When all individuals had submitted, the results could be viewed on screen for everyone to see.
The feedback from students has been very positive. If the students use their name to register then it is displayed on the screen. Whereas Mark had expected students to feel negative about this they seem to love this feature. Furthermore, students have got into the habit of bringing their laptops and own devices to the classroom.
Seeing whether you have an area or answer incorrect has not worried the students in any of the formative Quizzes Mark has carried out with the students. However, it does identify whether a specific area or topic covered in a taught session is not understood by the students. This acknowledgement is represented by a complete column of red/ incorrect dots. Being aware of this as a tutor one can develop further material to assist the students’ understanding.
This was an extremely useful piece of technology in that it is fun and has a social aspect also. The students can also complete the questions in pairs as this can be less daunting and also addresses concerns about some students not having the technologies needed for this. Another point is that tutor must be logged in when the quiz is being taken, therefore it is not suitable to ask questions that can be completed afterwards. It could be useful as part of a distance learning session.
The High Street – A virtual learning environment
Rob Weale described key aspects of the collaborative developmental process behind the creation of High Street, and gave examples of how it is being used for teaching and learning across Nursing and Midwifery.
High Street is a virtual, fictional community created to support and enhance teaching and learning for students on the BSc Nursing and Midwifery programme at DMU. Built in a Blackboard community shell it provides a space in which teaching staff can create, develop and explore the use of 'real-world' scenarios as teaching and learning enhancement tools, as such embedding a pedagogic approach that is based around scenario-based learning.
Rob is also currenly exploring the potential for developing a virtual hospital ward, as part of High Street.