|Lecturers should aspire to provide excellent quality in their provision of teaching in higher education and ought to constantly reflect and evaluate both the effectiveness of their teaching and the value of the curriculum. Innovation is an evolutionary concept, continually unfolding and responding to a rapidly changing world (Burnes, 2004). This particularly applies to the higher education nursing curriculum. And at a time when drop out rates are high and undergraduate nurses embark on university programmes in ever greater numbers, teaching students in large lecture groups may be a false economy, without also backing that teaching up with smaller group activities. This paper considers the implementation of changes to the delivery of a sociological module within the undergraduate nursing curriculum. When introducing innovation in any organisation it is useful to be aware of models of managing innovation. The diffusion of innovations model put forward by Rogers (2003) was used during this process. The number of large group lectures was reduced replacing them with smaller group workshops, an elementary innovation, but one that produced particularly positive results. When these changes were evaluated a majority of students stated that they enjoyed the discussion sessions and other workshop activities. Some of the students praised the module delivery for ‘promoting interactive learning’ and a large number felt that their understanding of the subject had increased. After reflecting on this experience of innovation, it could be argued that changing the delivery method of this module has made a significant contribution to the module and to the undergraduate nursing curriculum.|
Students used their web-enabled phones to answer questions during lecture sessions, and worked as small groups to maximise participation and peer learning. The main tool tested was Google Docs Forms, which can be accessed via the internet and is easy to set up, although other tools such as Polleverywhere and ConnectTxt receive input from SMS texts, and offer an alternative way of capturing student answers.
Questions were mostly in multiple-choice format, and were integrated into the presentation to promote immediate engagement. Answers were collated to generate an overall group response, which was presented graphically, and used as a discussion point to deal with common misconceptions.
The need for such technology arises from the difficulty of promoting active learning in lectures, especially with larger student groups, a problem acknowledged in science teaching (Handelsman et al. 2004. Science
304: 521-522) and more widely. Although responses can be received using specialised devices, the logistical difficulty of obtaining and distributing these devices has reduced their use. Instead, the extensive ownership of smart-phones provides an opportunity to increase direct student participation throughout lectures, so this trial was implemented specifically in the Biosciences module ‘Plant Physiology and Anatomy’ (Jan-April 2012), but the approach has the potential to be applied to any subject area.
Student feedback was very positive, with perceived benefits of engaging more actively with the lecture content, particularly via peer learning. Problems with the approach centred on access to mobile devices and class management, which could be addressed with greater support.
Presentation: Mobile learning
D7 – (EN28, EN11, EN22, EN56) 15.30
Sarah Smith and Robert Appleyard
The Virtual Environment for Radiotherapy Training (VERT) suite (at collegiate crescent campus) is specially designed to offer a 3 dimensional immersive experience for students and is currently used in the core study of anatomy and technical practise of radiotherapy as well as being used in a number of ways by other subject groups across the faculty. The interactive and visual elements of this tool are especially suited to the demonstration of complex interaction and comprehension. However a mobile (laptop based) version has enabled wider and different applications to be explored.
The traditional staged approach of learning the underpinning anatomy and physiology of a body system. Followed by the theoretical, lecture based, learning of oncology and radiotherapy technique; with actual application having to wait until practice placements; can now be challenged.
Through practical demonstration in the classroom it was possible to integrate these key stages of learning and provide an engaging experience for students. This applied learning approach also encouraged student’s to discuss differing approaches to practice they had experienced in placement learning, facilitating a problem based learning approach, drawing on their own experience as well as the supporting evidence base. Peer review of this revised approach to the teaching of the Head & Neck Region identified a number of positive aspects including positive student reaction, enhanced engagement and apparent comprehension of complex information.
A thunderstorm session would allow for visual screen cast style demonstration of the tool itself and key parts of the planning, structure and delivery of a learning package. A ‘top tips’ approach with evaluation from peer review and student feedback.
A7 – (EN26, EN17, EN27, EN29) 11.00
This ‘thunderstorm’ session outlines an on-going attempt to promote distance-learner engagement with formative coursework via the introduction of Twitter as a task medium. Study guides used in distance-learning modules often ask students to complete tasks that aren’t summatively assessed, for example, tasks in which students respond to each others contributions critically and positively. If engagement wanes, fewer students will post and students may be reluctant to go back to check discussion boards after posting, negating the potential for a true discussion developing. Without the powerful motivator of grades, it’s essential that we make these tasks as user-friendly and engaging as possible. One possible barrier to student engagement is the sometimes cumbersome nature of virtual learning environment user interfaces. Twitter’s raison d’ être is to facilitate interaction between individuals. Unsurprisingly, then, tweeting is a far easier task (quicker and more efficient) than navigating through SHUspace. The instantaneous nature of tweeting should make it more likely that authentic and spontaneous discussion will break out amongst the student group. The process of integrating Twitter into coursework, as well as unforeseen challenges that have emerged, will be discussed.
Link to presentation: Promoting distance learner engagement with formative coursework
B5 – (EN07, EN02, EN14) 11.50