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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds Yeah, so with Physics 1A, we used to have tutorial-style classes where a lecturer would come in and solve problems on the board in front of students. We found that attendance at these classes was actually pretty low. And the tutor couldn’t get through all the questions in the homework set, which was upsetting some of the students, who didn’t see the answer to the question that they wanted the answer to. So in order to mitigate that problem, I made videos showing how to answer all the problems in the homework booklet. So these were just made with a tablet and my voiceover explaining how I solved all the problems.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds So these videos were very popular with the students, but they led to another problem in that the attendance at the problem-solving classes dropped even more. So at that point, we introduced the problem-solving workshops, where the students come to class and they get a worksheet, which has been designed to address common misconceptions and they work through that. And every three weeks they have a practice test in these classes because there’s a big final exam at the end of the course, and we want to give them a chance to practise answering exam-style questions under exam-style conditions. So these worked quite well. At first, we had to run them in a lecture theatre, which was quite difficult because it was a hard.

Skip to 1 minute and 33 seconds We had a convener on the course, plus a couple TAs. And it was quite hard to circulate, to get to the different groups of students in the lecture theatre. So luckily, a couple of years ago, we got a new lab space designed where we can now run the labs and the problem-solving workshops. And this makes it much easier for the conveners and the TAs in the class to get around to the students and address any problems that they are having. One big one I did that was enjoyable because it was a new area for me was a Biotechnology course. And I hadn’t taught in this before so I relied on feedback.

Skip to 2 minutes and 15 seconds And one of the other academic staff had an Office of Learning and Teaching grant that had got feedback on what was needed to do with work integrated learning. And this course was going to fit between a first year and a third year Biotechnology course. And it really needed to bridge the gap, but also bring students together. So as well as looking at what the content and the curriculum was, it had a particular role for those students and their social group. So that did really well in the way it ran. It was a different structure from what students had done before. They didn’t have exams. And they didn’t have a textbook.

Skip to 2 minutes and 59 seconds And they had a lot of industry speakers and an excursion. Most recently, someone else has taken that course. And it’s interesting seeing them redevelop it. They’ve kept the main part of it, but they’ve put in a big new innovation part because that’s something that students are interested in, innovation having impact at the moment. And it’s really nice seeing how you can work a course with someone else. So when thinking about how effective Audio Culture, that specific course, has been, in terms of its design. This was a moment where I was designing a course from scratch. And I was really lucky to have a lot of support from the uni.

Skip to 3 minutes and 42 seconds And this is one thing I really encourage if you’re in that position, seeking out those resources that are available to you. It meant I was able to discuss the course with a number of people whose job it is to focus on course design, which is amazing. And I think that was very fruitful. That meant that the course overall was really balanced and interesting. And it really exploited multi-modal learning and different tiered understandings of the material in really effective ways. I was really happy with how it went. It’s one of these things where courses always need to develop. And I really enjoy receiving student feedback for that reason because there’s certain elements that can be expanded on going into the future.

Skip to 4 minutes and 36 seconds I think one of them was more Hermitude. We can do that. [LAUGHS] I recently designed the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences first multi-lingual, blended learning capstone course. This as an undergraduate course for language majors. It’s a course that brings together six different languages, which we have here in the faculty. And it allows them, through this online course, to implement language-specific strategies that they’ve learned throughout their undergraduate studies, and also engage with students in other languages which they do not know to talk about some of the universal and non-language-specific issues that they encounter in becoming professional users of their language. It’s a capstone course for language majors.

Skip to 5 minutes and 23 seconds And essentially, we have fortnightly face-to-face tutorials and weekly video lectures, which we segmented into small videos to cover the various topics from theory to best practise to industry trends to guiding advice for their career choices in the future. We have quite a large database, or a materials bank, of multi-lingual and multi-modal information in the course– subtitles, texts, magazines, books– all of which the students have some choice in choosing which they would like to work a little bit more with, which topics interest them– current affairs, politics, economics, literature, and so on.

Skip to 6 minutes and 5 seconds And with these fortnightly assignments, we then are able to use these online resources to get the students to translate or subtitle or work with these texts in these multi-modal contexts. They then justify their choices, submit it to Turnitin. We then provide feedback and assessment using an aligned rubric. And then in the in-class tutorial the following week– in the meantime, the students have had time to digest that feedback. And in the face-to-face tutorial the following week, we talk about language-specific issues for each of the language groups, and also some universal challenges and unique solutions that some of the students have demonstrated in that task. It’s a course, that was, thankfully, very successfully received.

Skip to 6 minutes and 52 seconds And using learning analytics, feedback from students, feedback from staff, and alignment with the overall undergraduate programme, we aim to update this through an iterative course development approach for the next semester. So we’ve also had peer feedback.

Skip to 7 minutes and 12 seconds The lab that I just presented had some formal feedback from Learning and Teaching. I’ve had people sit in and have a look at it. I’ve had colleagues come and evaluate it from the outside. I’ve had colleagues from the inside evaluate because they’re learning how to teach and they want to pick up tips and tricks on how to present themselves and their topic for the first time. So in terms of peer evaluation, I’ve had people come in and have a look and also give feedback, but also, more formally discuss areas that could be improved. So it’s been really good. And that whole learning and course redesign has engaged colleagues to help with that.

Skip to 7 minutes and 54 seconds I was fortunate to be involved with the design of Scenario-based Learning. And this was done with a large multi-disciplinary group of highly dedicated academics. And I was fortunate to be a part of that team. And when we designed Scenario-based Learning, it was aiming to engage students in an active inquiry-based approach to learning. As we were implementing this, we started to realise that students needed some guidance in the skills that were needed to engage in self-directed learning and collaborative learning and teamwork.

Skip to 8 minutes and 30 seconds So in order to address that problem, I designed an assessment activity, building on the principles of assessment for learning, whereby I designed an assessment activity that required students to systematically engage with the scenario in a self-directed manner and engage in teamwork by engaging in peer teaching, that not only builds their own content knowledge, but takes their peer group along with them. So I’ve developed that assessment activity in response to a particular problem that we identified in the design of our curriculum. And I’ve found that that has greatly enhanced the use and effectiveness of Scenario-based Learning in medicine.

Good educational design in practice

Whether your cohort is large or small, has face-to-face or online delivery, when developing content, learning and teaching activities or assessment, consider which educational design model or approach offers you the best fit for your discipline or course.

In this video (9:24) UNSW academics discuss their design strategies, which cover:

  • re designing activities to better align with the course assessment / test
  • gathering feedback to assist in the course design
  • seeking out resources from within the institution to assist in the design i.e Educational / Instructional Designers
  • providing choice for students with online resources, in a blended learning model
  • using scenario based learning, or active inquiry based approach to learning, as the basis for designing assessment

Academics in context

Information about the academic staff in this video and their professional contexts may be found in the Academics in context document.

Talking point

Often, the design process begins with a challenge or a problem that needs to be solved. The academics featured in the video worked through the design process to find a solution to their problem.

Identify one of the learning and teaching challenges that you may be currently facing, which may require a re-design. Post one current challenge, together with a potential learning design solution.

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This video is from the free online course:

Introduction to Educational Design in Higher Education

UNSW Sydney