Tag Archives: community

262 – Building an online course identity: an example from a post graduate course in occupational therapy – Susan Elizabeth Walsh

Strand: Course Identity

The MSc Occupational Therapy (post graduate) course is delivered entirely online using Blackboard VLE.  Although online learning can have advantages for students in  allowing more flexibility across distance and time (Helbers et al 2005) and possibilities for different styles of communication (Casimiro et al 2009), the development of an online course identity can be problematic in the absence of the usual physical and visual cues available in classroom learning (Murphy 2004). We encouraged the development of an online course identity from the start in a number of ways: identifying students’ own learning needs and aspirations to build a sense of personal commitment to the course; recognising and valuing students personal, academic and professional contributions to build social cohesion and commitment to each other and introducing students to the wider academic and support team in the faculty to create a sense of belonging to a vibrant academic learning community. With an e-learning technologist, we developed a range of creative and interactive e-learning resources and activities to use in the two week induction period and the first module of the course. We utilised Salmon’s 5 stage model of online learning (Salmon 2004), in particular the ‘access and motivation’ and ‘online socialisation’ stages, to structure the e-learning resources and activities.

.The anticipated outcomes of this presentation are to:

  • Evaluate a range of e-learning resources and activities used during the induction and first module of the course in promoting course identity.
  • Apply pedagogical theory, in this case Salmon’s 5 stage model of online learning, to underpin the way that e-learning resources and activities are utilised.
  • Consider the wider relevance of the approach to other post-graduate courses.

The session will include demonstration of some of the e-learning resources and activities and how these contributed to the formation of course identity.

 References:

Helbers, D, Rossi, D, Hinton, L (2005) ‘Students use of an on-line learning environment: Comparisons of group usage within a first year Health Communications course’, Student in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development, 2 (1) P 20-33

Casimiro, L.  (2009) ‘Grounding theories of W(e)Learn: A framework for online interprofessional education’, Journal of Interprofessional Care, 23(4), pp 390-400

Murphy, E. (2004) ‘Recognising and promoting collaboration in an online asynchronous discussion’, British Journal of Educational Technology, 15 (4)

Salmon, G. ( 2004). E-moderating: The key to teaching and learning online. London and New York: Taylor and Francis.

288 – Course community: students are people too – Neil Challis, Michael Robinson

Presenter including contact details: Prof Neil Challis (n.challis@shu.ac.uk) Strand: Course identity Anticipated outcomes: A better shared understanding of lessons drawn from research as part of the More Math Grads project and experience with our own Mathematics course. Session outline:  When students arrive at university, they have often left their familiar – and familial –networks. This is self-evidently true for those who leave the home town and family to come to Sheffield, but it is just as true that a mature student who has lived all their life in Sheffield will find themselves in an unfamiliar environment, with new people and new challenges. Drawing on our work with the More Maths Grads project, working with students and staff from four institutions, and our experience with our own course, we start this presentation with the belief that perhaps the most important element of a “good course” is the development of a strong sense of community. This yields several important benefits, crucially including a happier and more motivated student body. In turn this provides students with a vital support network, both academic and pastoral, which reduces staff workload in the long run, and a sense of belonging and a sunnier disposition when it comes to the National Student Survey. A sense of community may include many different identities, but in an academic context the most critical is that within the course. Crucially, such a community needs to include the student’s peers, students from other years, and the staff. A subject group identity can be encouraged in a variety of ways and in this presentation we will give examples of different ideas which have worked at Sheffield Hallam or elsewhere. These include both curricular and extra-curricular activities, the physical environment, online tools, and the attitudes which staff have towards the students.

Click to view:  288 course community – students are people too

2012 Creating course identity through social networking platforms

Panni Poh Yoke Loh

This paper will present initial findings from a student-led research project investigating the challenges in creating a sense of course identity amongst students.  This work is exploratory, informed by focus groups and one-to-one interviews with students on an undergraduate English course.  The research project derived from a lack of student use of Blackboard and the need therefore to examine whether there is student desire for a different or enhanced interactive toolkit incorporating social networking facilities.  The research set out to establish the type of interactive toolkit that would best suit student and staff needs. We also question whether it would be feasible for students to administer an interactive toolkit not only for them to build a sense of community, but also to engage in dialogue with staff to enhance their student experience.  

Bryson (2007) has written much about the fundamental importance of student engagement and its effect on student retention and academic success. Recent articles within the Guardian Higher Education Network support the notion of student involvement and combining sustainability into the curriculum by adding a sense of excitement and understanding.  The use of social media can be significant here, particularly in enhancing student engagement and building a sense of course identity amongst students. 

It is hoped the findings from this project will inform both students and practitioners, specifically in informing innovative change in course practice to enhance student engagement.

Link:  Presentation and blog

D7 – (EN22, EN11, EN28, EN56) 15.30