Tag Archives: e-learning

A holistic approach to engagement: academic skills development within the discipline

Tanya Miles Berry, Jake Philips, Richard McCarter & Cathy Malone

Parallel session 2,  Short Paper 2.3

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Short Abstract
The aim of the presentation is to give an overview of a project within Criminology which sought to embed ‘skills’ learning in a meaningful way, using the classroom to underpin independent learning – notably around reading and writing skills – and providing the students with an online workbook environment to encourage engagement.

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Detailed Outline
Over the course of the last 2 academic years, members of the Criminology subject group have worked collaboratively with members of both QESS and the E-Learning team to develop a new approach to a traditional study skills module. This paper will outline the result of those collaborations, and look more specifically at attempts to embed reading tasks across level 4, writing in level 5 and ‘writing groups’ in the Level 6 Dissertation module. This is as an add-on to the lecture materials and supervision process in order to provide a safe, focused and constructive environment in which students can ‘do’ their writing (Murray 2014, 2015).

These methods of embedding skills in the degree will be discussed further in light of pedagogic literature (Lillis 2001, Lea & Street 1998, Wingate 2006, Warren 2000, & Hill & Tinker 2013) on how best to support students with core academic skills both within and outside formal teaching environments. Evidence of increased student engagement will be evaluated across the years.

We will also explore the on-line learning environment provided through Pebblepad, and discuss both the benefits and drawbacks experienced as a result of using Pebblepad’s workbook tool. The workbook offered students a method of using a downloaded template which helped to structure learning and helped tutors supply formative and summative feedback.

Re-designing the curriculum to embed skills across the degree will be discussed further evaluating the experience as a whole, very much as an action research project, and with a view towards what will be happening on the newly revalidated degree which begins in September 2015.

Hill P & Tinker A (2013) Integrating learning development into the student experience. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education,5, 1-18.
Lea, M. & Street, B. 1998 Student Writing in HE; An Academic Literacies Approach Studies in HE 23 (2) 157-172
Lillis T. (2001) Student Writing; Access, Regulation and Desire
Murray R. 2014 Doctoral students create new spaces to write in C Aitcheson & Guerin C. (Eds.) Writing Groups for Doctoral Students and Beyond London
Murray R. 2015 Writing in Social Spaces and Social Processes Approach to Writing London Routledge
Warren D. 2000 Curriculum Design in a Context of Widening Participation in Higher Education, Arts & Humanities in Higher Education, 1(1), 85- 99
Wingate U (2006) Doing Away With Study Skills Teaching in HE Vol 11 457-469


Stuart Hepplestone & Ian Glover 

1.1 TeachingApproachesWorkshop_LTConference2014
Teaching approaches menu
Reflection and action planning worksheet
Top trump cards
Case studies

The Changing the Learning Landscape Programme is an initiative from the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. It encourages universities to change their culture and to increase the use of educational technologies. Sheffield Hallam University’s engagement in this initiative focusses on increasing, and enhancing, the use of existing tools and technologies.

This workshop is an opportunity for you to begin engaging with the ‘Changing the Learning Landscape Menu’ that has been developed in consultation with academic colleagues at SHU.  The ‘Menu’ is a framework that will assist academic staff in identifying different teaching strategies and the technologies that can support and facilitate these strategies, enhancing existing provision or as part of designing and developing new courses.

Activities presented, and resources available, within this session will support and encourage participants to work together:

  • reflect on their current teaching approaches
  • consider the use of technology to enhance teaching approaches
  • explore the balance of teaching approaches and use of technology across modules
  • develop an action plan of how they will enhance their teaching approaches.

Beyond the session, individual participants will be encouraged to follow up on their action plan. The session facilitators will retain copies of action plans produced to assist participants in continuing to work on their next steps.  Due to the nature of the session, the outcomes will likely enhance teaching approaches at an individual module level. Participants, therefore, will be strongly encouraged to take this initiative back to their teaching teams so that they consider enhancing

269 – Does e-learning and mobile technology have a place within HE Learning, Teaching and Assessment? – Jo Marsden

Strand: The technology enhanced course Anticipated outcomes:• Discuss the viability & usefulness of iPads within LTA Session outline (or abstract): max 300 words Technology has brought about irreversible change to the world (Su 2009) and educators have had to acknowledge the reality of technologically-induced change and it’s constantly evolving pace.  This extreme growth in the capabilities of technology, especially mobile technology, alongside increasing affordability has led to the acknowledgement of a ubiquitous learning tool within higher education (Pollaro and Broussard 2011).   As non-traditional methods of education become more established and as a factor of that informal and flexible learning environments become necessary for students in an ever-connected society, e-learning will play a significant role (Fetaji 2008). Within this example e-learning has been utilised as a tool for:• student engagement• student learning• a teaching aid• assessment support This has been through the use of:• iPads• screencasting• online feedback• Google Docs• Google Forms   The views of the students, teaching staff and support staff have been collected on the use of these tools within different settings.   The outcomes from the students were positive in the use of different learning environments and technologies and assisted in student engagement, however there were questions raised over the impact on student learning.   The use of iPads for the purpose of assessment support assisted in achieving the new assessment regulations of a 3-week turnaround and in facilitating online student feedback, which was also favourably received.    The examples incorporated a blended approach to teaching and learning for isolated modules within the Department of Sport.   As technology usage within Higher Education becomes more prevalent and staff become more aware of the options, and also the ways in which to combine technology into the classroom, the real focus needs to shift to the course design and the integration of technology within this.

263 – Using e-learning to enhance personal and professional development: how reflective blogs can illustrate transformational learning – Emma Taylor, Claire Craig

The module Occupational Approaches to Health   and Wellbeing is a distance learning (DL) module that considers how the   Lifestyle Redesign Model can be applied in the context of health promotion.   The module delivery was structured over five teaching sessions that involved   online collaboration between the students.    The module had a small cohort of 10.
Students were also asked to complete a reflective blog after each session.   The blog was a shared one which allowed other students to read and comment on   it. The students were given directed questions, relating to the session   content, to reflect on in their respective blogs

 Why   did I choose this module?
How does policy impact on both your personal and professional life?
New knowledge and you: has the earning impacted on you personally in any way?
How can you integrate behaviour change principles into your work?
What now? Reflect on your new knowledge both personally and professionally.
What transpired over the period of the module was a clear development of the   students both professionally and personally.

Students consistently applied the principles from some of the sessions to   their work and shared the successes and frustrations of this on their blogs.   Peers offered encouragement via the blogs which initiated further blog   dialogue between the students and supported each other in applying their   learning in practice.

What was particularly interesting was how students started to apply the   theories being taught to their personal lives and also shared these in their   blogs (e.g. joining weight loss programmes). What was apparent was the   support from the other students in making these changes in their lives.   Students that blogged would receive   comments from tutors and students which seemed to motivate them to add   further comments.  The tutor could have   moderated the discussions should this have been necessary.

Student feedback was very positive and so the use of reflective blogs has   been introduced in all the DL modules on the course to help with personal and   professional development.

ref: Cranton (2010) Transformational learning in an online environment. International Journal of Adult Vocational Education & Technology 1(2). 1-9.

 263 Using e-learning to enhance personal and professional development

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.


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.

260 – A Cyber Campus Assessment Study – Louis Nisiotis, Martin Beer, Elizabeth Uruchurtu

Strand: The Technology-Enhanced Course.

 Anticipated outcomes: This paper aims to present the findings of an assessment study conducted for the needs of my PhD research. This study investigates the extent to which the SHU3DED cyber campus functionality can support communication, collaboration, co-existence and active participation (3CP) among users in the virtual world.

Session outline: Education has been identified as a very important component of life, allowing people to develop the knowledge and skills required by the industry (Warnock, 1978). Due to chronic illness, impairments, medical conditions or other reasons, some students face environmental and/or social barriers that restrict or exclude them from physically attending University. This research thus, investigates the use of Multi-User Virtual Environments as an alternative way of supporting students who have been away or cannot physically attend University on regular basis.

By developing an inclusive learning environment capable to promote social collaboration, active participation and the ability to improve the student experience (Brunswick, 2009), we aim to address user requirements, support and enhance distant learning experience and eliminate some exclusion barriers over the network using a state of the art 3D environment.  For this reason, SHU3DED cyber campus prototype has been developed as a proof of concept and to conduct experiments with.

In order to use the prototype to conduct such an empirical study, it is necessary to assess and evaluate its functionality, for which a series of experiments have been performed. The aim of these experiments was to investigate the extent to which the functionality of the prototype developed, can support a particular set of attributes that we identified that have potential influences in the promotion of inclusion of all students in a virtual environment that provide flexible modes of representing activities, enables learning for all situation and does not have “a “poor relation” to physical inclusion anymore.” (Sheehy, 2010). The attributes under investigation are Collaboration, Communication, Co-existence and Active Participation (3CP) of users in the virtual world.

This paper shall present the results of this study in order to initiate a constructive discussion around the potential use of cyber campuses in teaching and learning to support the technology-enhanced course. The results of this study are very positive.

Session activities for engagement: Discussion based on the study results, literature evidence, benefits / drawbacks and educational potentials of the use of cyber campus in teaching and learning.

References: Official SHU3DED Website: http://www.learninvw.com


BRUNSWICK, N. N. 2009. Inclusive Education.

SHEEHY, K. 2010. Virtual environments: Issues and opportunities for researching inclusive educational practices. Researching Learning in Virtual Worlds, 1-15.

WARNOCK, M. 1978. The Warnock Report, Special Education Needs. Available: http://www.educationengland.org.uk/documents/warnock/.


259 – A Virtual Tour of the SHU3DED Cyber Campus – Louis Nisiotis, Martin Beer, Elizabeth Uruchurtu

Strand:The Technology-Enhanced Course. Anticipated outcomes: This CoLab workshop proposal aims to foster a virtual activity and discussion around the ability of Multi-User Virtual Environments to support teaching needs and facilitate learning.

Session outline: Cyber campuses are specially designed meeting points that operate on Multi-User Virtual Environments, where users can gather virtually and exchange learning materials, communicate and collaborate in a state of the art 3D environment (Prasolova et al., 2006). Facilitated on networked computerized systems, cyber campuses offers navigational spaces that support a variety of multimedia presentation techniques (Kallonis and Sampson, 2010), synchronous interaction and communication, enhancing the socialization among users (Freitas et al., 2010). By incorporating advanced graphics and communication technologies, cyber campuses support real time interaction between users and objects designed in the virtual world (Cronin, 2011), providing the “immersion” feeling to the user of actually being there (Beer et al., 2002).

Cyber campuses are considered an effective vehicle for learning support (Livingstone et al., 2008), so the need arises to identify the aspects of the teaching and learning process that this solution enhance as compared to traditional E-Learning. In particular, it is necessary to identify the factors making this model a strong solution to use for learning support and to what extent it enhances the learning experiences of people who are away from University. To investigate this, the SHU3DED Cyber Campus has been developed to conduct experiments with.

SHU3DED is a cyber campus prototype developed for the needs of my research, using the opensimulator virtual world package, to use as a proof of concept and to conduct a series of empirical studies with. The cyber campus has been developed following best practice applied in other cyber campuses, but the main driver was the “virtual school” concept as demonstrated by the Occupational Therapy Internet School (OTIS) project. This was an innovative and sophisticated system for its time (1999), capable of managing educational resources, handles communications and support educational activities through a virtual environment over the Internet. SHU3DED aims to develop this functionality in a modern virtual environment, for which MOODLE Leaning Management System (LMS) has been used and we will further explore some of the advances made learning support.

Having almost completely replicating the OTIS project theory and practice, we can say that SHU3DED is what OTIS project should have look like if it was implemented using the technology of today.

In this proposed workshop, attendees will be gathered in a lab setting, allocated a pre-configured workstation and participate in a virtual tour of SHU3DED cyber campus using a virtual representation of them selves (Avatar). During this tour, demonstration of the various facilities that cyber campus offers for teaching and learning support will be performed to initiate a constructive “in-world chat” discussion among the attendees through the chat facilities that are provided by the system. This discussion will be based on the potential context and setting they could use such solution for their teaching needs and how it could possibly enhance the learning experience of their students.

Session activities for engagement: A virtual navigation and communication among users activity, facilitated in the SHU3DED virtual world.

References: Official SHU3DED Website: http://www.learninvw.com


BEER, M., SLACK, F. & ARMITT, G. Community Building and Virtual Teamwork in an Online Learning Environment.  Proceedings of the 36th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS’03), 2002.

CRONIN, P. 2011. An exploratory case study in the use of Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVE) to support and enhance a community of practice. Master of Science in Technology & Learning, University of Dublin.

FREITAS, S., REBOLLEDO-MENDEZ, G., LIAROKAPIS, F., MAGOULAS, G. & POULOVASSILIS, A. 2010. Learning as immersive experiences: Using the four-dimensional framework for designing and evaluating immersive learning experiences in a virtual word. British Journal of Educational Technology, Vol 41, pp. 69-85.

KALLONIS, P. & SAMPSON, D. 2010. Implementing a 3D Virtual Classroom Simulation for Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development. Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Computers in Education. Putrajaya, Malaysia.

LIVINGSTONE, D., KEMP, J. & EDGAR, E. 2008. From Multi-User Virtual Environment to 3D Virtual Learning Environment. Alt-J, Vol 16, 139-150.

PRASOLOVA, E., SOURIN, A. & SOURINA, O. 2006. Cybercampouses: Design Issues and Future Directions. Visual Computer Journal.