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1 Electronic Learning and Assessment Intranet and Internet Leon Litvack

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1 1 Electronic Learning and Assessment Intranet and Internet Leon Litvack

2 2 Aims  Examine the context for use of C&IT in English studies  Demonstrate model from intranet VLE, for undergraduates  Demonstrate model using internet at postgraduate level, in constructing research resource in the public domain  Consider how C&IT can be used for summative assessment, in context of degree in English studies

3 3 Benchmark statement: defining principles for English degree  Develop critical thinking & judgement  Engage students imaginatively in reading & analysing literary & non-literary texts  Develop range of subject specific and transferable skills, including high-order conceptual, literacy & communication skills  Provide intellectually stimulating & satisfying experience of learning & studying  Encourage enthusiasm for subject, & appreciation of continuing social & cultural importance Source:

4 4 Skills  Transferable outside the discipline:  oral & written communication skills  interpersonal skills (work in a group context)  time-management skills  collate & process information from a variety of sources  respond positively and productively to feedback  think creatively and flexibly in diverse situations  basic word-processing & other IT skills Source: QUB English programme specification

5 5 ‘We believe that the innovative application of... C&IT holds out much promise for improving the quality, flexibility and effectiveness of higher education. The potential benefits will extend to, and affect the practice of, learning and teaching and research’  Does achieving Dearing’s vision of a ‘learning society’, aided by developments in internet / intranet based software systems NECESSARILY apply to all teachers and learners? Consider your objectives carefully Dearing Report (1997)

6 6 Incorporation of IT into curriculum -- considerations  For staff  Worth time spent?  Training  Applications for other areas of activity?  Relation to career advancement  For students  Worth time spent?  Training  Skills

7 7  Pedagogic criteria  Teaching Facilities  Appropriate environment  Features, specifications & cost of software  Access to terminals outside class time  Support  Department  Central IT services Other considerations

8 8 Intranet or internet? u Intranet  Private network  Admission across firewall  Requires authorisation  Useful for delivering & sharing information on selective basis

9 9 u Internet  Public network  No authorisation required  Useful for delivering & sharing information on global basis  Consider usefulness of information to outside users  What level of scrutiny to ensure accuracy of content?

10 10 Intranet model – Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)  Creates micro-world – allows teacher to construct learning activities enriched by multimedia resources  Curriculum divided into assessable/ recordable elements  Student activity & achievement can be tracked  Online learning supported by staff & peers  Offers central & remote access

11 11 Features of prototypical VLE

12 12 Demonstration of Queen’s Online VLE

13 13 Features of VLE  University-wide (only one system to learn)  Linked to student records database  Single sign-on for all university systems  Time to learn system – 1 hour  Easily navigable  Satisfies demand for acquisition of specific skills

14 14  Flexibility of time and place of access  Copes with increased student numbers – esp. undergraduates  Sharing and re-use of resources  Facilitates Student-centred learning  Enhances variety of teaching and learning strategies  Supports constructivist conversational approaches to learning (see Laurillard, Rethinking University Teaching:A Framework for the Effective Use of Educational Technology [London: Routledge, 1993])  Can reduce administrative burden

15 15 u Information can be disseminated quickly u Photocopying bill for course packs eliminated for department – cost transferred to students! u Information remains in-house: not published to wider world

16 16 Caveats re: particular VLE  Rigid & hierarchical  Designed for delivery rather than interaction -- flow of information is largely one-way (tutor to student)  Only recognises official (QUB) addresses for students  Students cannot each other through VLE  One person controls information (implications for team-taught modules)  Favours IE browser (not Netscape)

17 17  Planning of teaching sessions requires more staff time & care  Proactive attitude demanded from staff, to ensure that students are coping – esp. in early stages General considerations for VLE

18 18 Particular Use of Queen’s Online  A wrap-around (50/50) system (see Mason, ‘Models of Online Courses’ [1998])  course materials wrapped by activities  online interactions and discussions occupy roughly half the students' time

19 19 Summatively Assessed elements  Student presentations (delivered via PowerPoint) – 10%  Individual effort (collaborative work harder to assess in terms of individual input)  Approach to topic discussed with student beforehand, and among students working in same area

20 20  Contribution to asynchronous, threaded online discussion – 10%  Requires careful planning & structuring  provide specific tasks (e.g. developing answers to set questions in readings)  Set deadline by which contributions must be made  Other elements:  Assessed essay (students design own questions)  Exam

21 21 Criteria for assessment  Consistent across the English curriculum u Relevance – also considers implications, assumptions, & nuances of the issue/question u Knowledge – demonstrates breadth and range of reading u Analysis – analytical treatment of evidence, resulting in clear synthesis u Argument & Structure – coherent response to issue/question u Originality – distinctive response, showing independence of thought and approach u Presentation – includes spelling & syntax, readable style, use of particular medium, appropriate documentation Source:

22 22 Pedagogic Issues for VLEs Particular Models  Lee & Thompson (QUB), ‘Teaching at a Distance: Building a Virtual Learning Environment’ (MSc in computer-based learning)   Stiles, COSE (Staffordshire) 

23 23 Comparative Studies  Landon (Douglas College, BC), ‘Online Delivery Applications: A Web Tool for Comparative Analysis’   Britain and Liber (Univ. of Wales, Bangor), ‘A Framework for Pedagogical Evaluation of Virtual Learning Environments’ (assesses various VLEs, including COSE) 

24 24  Mason (Open Univ.), ‘Models of Online Courses’   JISC, Requirements for a VLE   JISC, Managed Learning Environments  General Principles

25 25 Internet Model – The Imperial Archive u Used in conjunction with Queen’s Online VLE u Aim: dissemination of student-generated material to the wider world as a research resource

26 26 Demonstration of Imperial Archive

27 27 Project’s origins relate to Laurillard’s ‘conversational framework’

28 28  Student-centred learning at the heart of project development  Smaller numbers – allows more time with each student  VLE used in ‘wrap-around’ (50/50) manner  Material assessed according to standard English curriculum criteria: u Relevance u Knowledge u Analysis u Argument & Structure u Originality u Presentation

29 29  Material for Imperial Archive generated in HTML  Scrutinised online by internal & external examiners  Project worth 15% of overall mark  PowerPoint presentation – 10%  5000-word assessed essay – 75%

30 30 Recognition of project’s success u ‘footfall’ through archive -- u External examiners’ reports u Feedback from students u Dissemination of methodology through

31 31 Conclusions  Many ways to use C&IT systems  Importance of staff-student and student- student interaction in the class  Focus on educational needs – not technology  Time spent must justify learning goals achieved  Consider how you currently teach, and how this might be improved  Consider the strengths & weaknesses of the technology when planning/ modifying courses

32 32  Do not necessarily abandon what you already do well  Make sure adequate support is offered to staff & students  Prerequisites:  ECDL?  Other in-house IT training?  Plan for disasters – network failure, power failure  Assessment methods:  Comparable to those used in ENGLISH learning environments not employing C&IT?  Use of marking criteria?

33 33  Bear in mind contribution made to  Subject knowledge & understanding  Intellectual skills  Subject-specific skills  Key skills THROUGH ENGLISH STUDIES

34 34 Presentation may be viewed online at


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