2004 Projects

Humanities and social sciences/ economics and business

Strategic eLearning projects were launched in 2004. The faculties comprising the Humanities and Social Sciences wanted an overview of the current use of eLearning and academics’ plans for the future. They also invested in a cross-faculty project to address the shared issue of raising the standard of student academic writing.

Cross-faculty projects

Snapshot of ICT Use and Intentions1

In semester 2, 2004, an inventory was made of the current use of Information and Communication Technologies in teaching and learning across the University to inform future planning. The information gained from this project was extended in 2005 with a series of staff and student focus groups which collected views on current practice and future needs. The information will assist in: Supporting staff at the University of Sydney in maintaining/extending/enriching their current practice in eLearning; Developing strategic directions for future projects; Facilitating inter- and cross-faculty collaboration between staff with common goals and interests in eLearning; Establishing communities of interest in particular aspects of ICT in Learning and Teaching.

WriteSite 1

Developed the website for the WriteSite and module 1, 'Grammar.' The WriteSite is an online resource to facilitate the development of student skills in academic writing. It addresses common learning needs of students, both developmental and remedial and the finished site contains three activity-based modules with comprehensive feedback ('Grammar', 'Sources' and 'Structure'). Staff members are supported with a marking key that is designed to streamline the process of providing feedback to students on their writing problems. It reduces the need for providing repetitive, detailed feedback on many writing problems. Use of the website by staff promotes consistency of feedback on some of the most problematic writing issues and supports students as they work towards improvement. The WriteSite was launched in June, 2006 at the Best Practice in Learning and Teaching Forum and is available to all staff and students at the University.

Health Sciences

Moving face to face teaching to online learning environment

This project developed the effective transformation of content material from a traditional face to face lecture room situation to the online learning environment. This involved an investigation of the processes and decisions that need to be made by academics about how to deliver content online. This includes an analysis of the relative advantages and disadvantages, technological requirements, intellectual property and copyright issues involved and time required to undertake this process. Guidance materials to assist academics in their decision making process were also developed. This project applied this understanding to three examples of online content delivery; (1) Replicating the lecture experience online by integrating narrated PowerPoint presentations with other course materials. (2)Transforming the lecture experience online for large numbers of students and providing feedback on student learning and progress. (3) Capturing visiting content experts for reuse in future units of study.

Developing templates for rich online case-based, inquiry-based and problem-based learning modules

This project indexed existing templates used for online scenarios. They were evaluated for their educational value and ease of use in the University LMS (CE6). Key features were identified for case, inquiry and problem based scenarios in both clinical and non-clinical contexts. A template was modified for use in the University LMS (CE6) which was applicable to a number of disciplines including physiotherapy, medical education and public health along with guidance materials.

Online facilitation and support of interprofessional learning

Online resources and learning activities were evaluated for use by facilitators, clinicians and students participating in interprofessional education and clinical placements. Three activities based on sound pedagogical principles to facilitate interprofessional learning were developed including a preclinical discussion activity, an online reflection tool and a roundtable discussion activity.

They were made available to all staff to enable the transfer of the activities to a broad range of courses. In addition support materials for students and facilitators participating in interprofessional learning clinical placements were transferred to the online environment through the development of an interprofessional learning university LMS (CE6)website.

The development of interprofessional resources and learning activities complements the work of the College of Health Sciences (CHS) Interprofessional Learning Working Group, which is part of a College-wide initiative to expand interprofessional learning in clinical placements in undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Development of a Flexible Electronic Report-writing Tool (FLERT) to help students learn report writing skills

This project aimed to improve students' scientific report writing skills. It addressed generic communication skills as well as supporting the learning of scientific concepts. A web-based report-writing tool (FLERT) was developed that consisted of a standardised report writing template or shell to enabled students to construct their draft scientific report. A series of interactive support materials was provided to guide the students through this process with discipline specific materials available for the subject of physiology.

Sciences and technology

Still images in eLearning (interfaculty health sciences and Sciences and technology project)

This joint project developed, and tested user-friendly protocols and templates for seamless use of still images stored both locally and centrally within learning management systems (LMS) environments (and by extension other systems compliant with appropriate standards). Staff development sessions (group workshops, and online help resources) were run on the use of still images in effective teaching and learning.

eLearning audit

An audit was conducted into the use of elearning in the Faculties of Agriculture (FAFNR), Architecture, Engineering, Sciences and Technology, and Veterinary Science.

Development of online components for 2nd year psychology UoS

All 2nd year Psychology units of study now have University LMS sites. A strategic outcome has been the appointment of an online tutor to monitor the online discussion board for the 600 2nd year students. The role involves enhancing and extending tutorial discussions online, as well as answering students’ questions and redirecting queries to staff when appropriate.

Redevelopment of project management graduate program core online units

All core units of study of this internationally award-winning online postgraduate course were redeveloped using best practice in educational design and a clear, consistent look-and-feel.

Lifelong earning

This very small project is related to the Faculty’s developments of innovative resources for the use of all students. The project to develop the web website was funded by a University TIF grant through the College of Sciences and Technology and it addresses comments made in the Academic Board Reviews of the Faculty about providing students with the opportunities to understand about generic attributes and to self-assess the development of them. The project is grounded in a philosophy that it is the students’ responsibilities to both develop life long learning skills and to understand how to use them.

The project is grounded in a philosophy that it is the students’ responsibilities to both develop life long learning skills and to understand how they can use them in the wider context of their professional life. www.lifelongearning.science.usyd.edu.au was launched mid-2004 as part of a dissemination process to students in Semester 2. Part of the project was to provide assistance in promoting the website, which has since become a 2005 strategic eLearning project in order to extend its applicability to students across the whole College.