2005 Projects

Humanities and Social Sciences/Economics and Business

The emphasis was again on projects that benefitted as many faculties as possible, with the development of further modules for the website to assist with improving academic writing and extension of the inventory of use of ICT across the faculties. Creation of flexible online postgraduate units was a strategic priority for the faculties of Arts, and Education and Social Work this year.

WriteSite 2

Develop module 2, 'Sources' and module 3, 'Structure' for the WriteSite 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.

Staff & Student Guides to the WriteSite

Produce two online guides that can be accessed from the homepage of the WriteSite.
The staff guide contains:
• An orientation to the website content and navigation.
• Information on using the marking key.
• Advice on introducing the website to students.
• Tips on integrating use of the WriteSite into a unit of study.
• Instructions on linking to the WriteSite from a unit of study.
• Downloadable marking key, handout for students and WriteSite icons.
The student guide contains:
• An orientation to the website content and navigation.
• Tips on getting the most out of the WriteSite.
• Strategies for improving writing.

Flexible online postgraduate units of study

The Sydney eLearning educational design team conducted group and individual educational design sessions with three academics from the faculties of Arts, and Education & Social Work to assist with the creation of the online units of study
ARCL6901: The Western Greeks, Deptartment of Archaeology;
EDPD5001: Students with Special Educational Needs, Special Education;
LNGS7273: Additional Language Teaching, Dept. of Linguistics

The units of study form part of postgraduate programs and the emphasis was on creating sustainable, transferable units that form part of a coherent program. The emphasis in the sessions was on experiential learning, so an online website in the University's LMS was created to allow the academics to experience managing and participating in an online learning site prior to delivering their own unit. This website and the materials produced for the group sessions may be reworked for other staff members who are planning to develop online units of study. Evaluation carried out at the conclusion of the project indicated that the staff participants felt they had gained lasting benefits and skills.

Snapshot of ICT use & intentions 2

The information gained from the 2004 inventory was extended with a series of staff and student focus groups, which collected views on current practice and future needs. These were compiled into a report to assist with planning.

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:

Replicating the lecture experience online by integrating narrated PowerPoint presentations with other course materials

Transforming the lecture experience online for large numbers of students and providing feedback on student learning and progress

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 universtity 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

Self-learning in Engineering

This project covered various units of study in Electrical and Civil Engineering. It established an elearning model to provide students with a self-learning environment to enhance their preliminary knowledge through online practice materials. One of the highlights of this project was the development of online automated practice activities for 2nd and 3rd year Fluid Mechanics students. These students need practice applying formulas to real situations and need to be able to see what happens when the parameters of a question change. Problems were created in Excel with VBA code so students could work on them repeatedly and get feedback. Based on work in the Faculty of Economics and Business (Freeman and Blayney, 2005).

Dome

A framework was developed for an online visual library of information, incorporating instructional and interactive practice material, videos and animations. The Dome will assist students master fundamental engineering concepts, enabling them to better understand the material in their units of study. It is envisaged that academics and students will contribute to The Dome – the framework is scalable, allowing its contents to be expanded to cover all engineering disciplines.

Development of online components of third year Psychology units of study

Online units of study with a coherent set of resources were developed to support a large and diverse cohort of students in third year Psychology, as well as some fourth year units. As a result of this project and the project with second year Psychology, all Psychology units of study now have an online component.

LLE collaboration between Science (IT), FAFNR, Engineering and Veterinary Science

This project was a development from a successful Faculty of Science student-friendly website Lifelong earning which encourages students to take responsibility for the development of the attributes and skills valued by employers. The project expanded the LLE website so that is contextualized for graduates from IT (Faculty of Science), Agriculture (FAFNR), Engineering and Veterinary Science, and to incorporated dynamic, interactive material.

Redevelopment of Project Management Graduate Programme elective online units

The online PMGP elective UoS (developed as a 2004 Sydney eLearning support project), have been redeveloped in line with the new template for core courses. The new sites have improved usability, navigability, consistency, coherency and accessibility, as well as faster download times.

Spotlight on online practice activities

This is the first stage in the development of a website which showcases good practice examples of elearning. Examples in the website have been taken from the disciplines of the sciences and technology and have focussed on online formative assessment. Each best practice example incorporates background information to enable staff to adapt the examples to their own online learning and teaching situation.

Chemistry pre-laboratory work delivered via the LMS (WebCT4)

Phase one of the First Year Chemistry online pre-lab course material and activities were redeveloped in the university's LMS. Phase two of this project is being undertaken in semester 1 2006. This material is used in all 13 junior Chemistry units of study, for a range of programs across the University.

eLearning sites for new animal and veterinary bioscience degree

The Faculties of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (FAFNR) and Veterinary Science were assisted in the development of online units of study for the Animal Biosciences Degree. Online materials include image and film repositories, library resources, case-based approaches and practice activities. This project assisted FAFNR with its cultural shift to the University’s learning management system and increased the uptake of elearning in the Faculty.

HBOnline

Developed for Advanced Human Biology, this project has broken new ground for First Year Biology. It has re-engineered existing legacy materials and integrated them with online textbook resources within the university's LMS, to provide students with a stimulating learning experience which includes a range of different practice activities and case-based learning.

Structures tutor in Architecture

The structures component of Architecture now has templates for the development of online practice activities, produced using a little-known software called Question Tools. Activities developed using Question Tools can incorporate hints and allow students to make multiple attempts.