2008 Projects

Humanities and Social Sciences/Economics and Business

Using eLearning to assist with program cohesion continued to be the dominant theme this year. A wider range of faculties applied for projects.

Entrepreneurship and innovation program 1

The project assisted with selected aspects of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation program in the School of International Business. An assessment activity was created which centres on student contributions to a wiki and is used in three units of study in the program. The wiki contributions form a resource for all students on key concepts in the discipline and are especially useful for postgraduate students who have not previously studied subjects in Economics and Business. The wiki was also augmented with audio case studies of businesses and technical guides were created for staff involved in their yearly production. Guides to storytelling and the creation of audio and audio-visual stories were also produced for students who must complete an audio or audio-visual business story while on location, along with technical guides to help them prepare their podcasts.

Assistance with transition of disciplines between faculties

The Schools of Political Economy, and Government and International Relations, which were previously part of the Faculty of Economics and Business, have now been incorporated into the Faculty of Arts. Assistance was given with the migration of online units of study from the Blackboard 7 LMS hosted by Economics and Business, to the University's centrally supported LMS, which at the time was WebCT CE6.

Case scenarios in special education

Twelve paper-based case-studies produced for EDUF3031 and EDBT6125 were translated into an attractive online case-study format, which incorporates images, links and weekly task guides.

Website for third year social work

The existing 3rd year social work site in the University LMS, which contains materials from all third year units of study in the program, was restructured and redesigned to provide greater support for students and streamline the management of the program. Materials were added to the Field Education 1 area, including an area for the Field Educators who supervise the students on placement. Private discussion topics were created for the students and strategies were developed and implemented to improve the communication between the multiple stakeholders – students, academics, field educators and administrators.

SCWK6920 - Mental health practice standards

This fully online unit of study has been delivered to students since 2006 via the University LMS. Sydney eLearning worked with the academic facilitators to strengthen the community-building and collaborative aspects of the unit, vary the weekly tasks and increase the self-reflective aspects of the course. The weekly materials were presented on the site in a web-friendly format, while the original multi-page documents remain available for printing. The project aimed to improve the student experience of the unit by taking into consideration student feedback, issues of student engagement and retention and the coordinators' experience when managing the online unit.

BDST6905 – Healing in Buddhism

An online postgraduate unit of study was created in the University LMS (CE6) for blended learning. Online assessment activities were created that incorporated student-led discussions, student-created repositories of research sources and the creation of literature reviews. A customised banner and icons were also created for the website. It is hoped that the completed website structure and design may be transferable to other units in the Buddhist Studies program.

Contemporary rhetoricians – ENGL1000 project (Stage 2)

The online WebCT unit for ENGL1000 which attracts large enrolments from students and is delivered four times a year was further developed with the addition of materials and a quiz addressing the issue of plagiarism. The discussions, glossary, video and lecture materials were also refined in response to student feedback, continuing the work done in 2007.

Legal research online

Self-directed learning modules in Case Law and Legislation were created, for inclusion in the existing online units of study LAWS1013 & LAWS1019 in the University LMS. Legal research is taught by the Faculty librarians in blended mode to first and third year students enrolled in the Faculty of Law and students are directed to study the online modules before attending classes, to free up the class time for activity-based learning.

Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Music education program 2

The Professional Experience in Music Education site, which was developed in the 2007 project period, was enhanced during this project in response to student feedback, the academic facilitators' experiences and ongoing changes to the curriculum. The site was divided into three, one for each year of placement, and customised icons and branding were applied to each. Improvements were made to the existing reflective journal activity and additional materials were created. These included an activity preparing students for professional experience based around selected video clips and narrated PowerPoint presentations of lecture materials which are streamed through Lectopia.

Assistance with new online units at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music MUED4006 – Popular music studies

A site in the University LMS was created for this new blended unit of study. The online component of the unit was based around weekly discussions on questions arising from the tutorial readings juxtaposed with a 'stimulus' piece of multimedia drawn from the web. Students work to distil the important issues before the face-to-face tutorial seminar. The activity was designed facilitate student engagement and ownership of ideas and to keep the group preparing consistently for the weekly seminars.

MUED3031 – Survey of jazz history

A site was created in the University LMS to assist with the complex organisation of the unit. The web site forms the central point for transmission of information and students are required to print music from the site in the correct key for their instrument to bring to class.

MCGY2620 - Russian music history

This website also acts as a centralized repository of information and materials associated with the unit of study. Students can review information and music discussed and played in class, access readings via links to the library and print out additional copies of handouts.

Health Sciences

Caries management system – Understanding the protocols

The aim of this project was to develop an elearning resource to assist students in learning to classify caries diagnosis according to the principles of the Caries Management System (CMS) and, subsequently, to apply the follow-on corresponding treatment for their patients. The Sydney eLearning educational designer worked closely with the Academic in charge to develop a WebCT website with 8 “Key Learning Areas” delivered via WebCT Learning Modules. Each of these 8 learning modules contain PowerPoints and formative tests to reinforce students learning of the content.

Developing active online learning modules to support the Person, Context and Practice (PCP) of ‘cultural perspectives’ in health

(1) Personal awareness of constructs and biases towards diverse cultural perspectives; (2)An understanding of the social and health care context of culture globally; (3 ) An improved ability to practice with cultural competence, for clients and health care professionals

This aim was realized through the development of a WebCT website with 3 core sections delivered via Learning Modules:
1. Culture and Person,
2. Culture and Context,
3. Application to Practice.

Within each of these core sections, students will be undertaking a sequence of learning activities through the Discussion, Assessment and Assignment tools

Video clips online for enhancement of practical skills in neurological physiotherapy (PHASE 1)

The aims of this elearning project were to: increase student access to demonstrations of necessary skills, develop staff expertise and improve staff workload issues. Sydney eLearning worked closely with AV services and the Academic in charge to produce a Flash video player with a staff interface that enabled the streaming of videos and text content to students from links within their Physiotherapy unit of study Web CT website

Development of a pilot blended unit of study in transplantation for the Master of Surgery

The goal of this eLearning project was to complete development of a blended unit of study website that supports flexible learning for part-time students studying in the Master of Surgery program. The Sydney eLearning educational designer worked with the Academic-in-charge to design 10 Learning modules containing lecture material, case studies (with assessed tests followed by group discussions) and recommended readings. The selective release tool was used to direct students through the learning sequence. The educational designer also provided training on how to create narrated PowerPoints for streaming on the Lectopia server.

Developing an eLearning scaffold for delivery of staged learning processes across selected nursing degree curriculae (PHASE 1)

The goal of this project was to extend use & continue development of a WebCT based cross-curricula framework to support continued learning on professionally related topics. This goal was achieved through the creation of a WebCT website for each of the topics – Exploring Legal Issues for Nurses and Evidence-based nursing in Critical Care. Both these topics were modelled on the design of the Research Roundtable Web CT website, which gives students the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge in a professionally relevant topic alongside their unit of study.

Video clips online for enhancement of practical skills in neurological physiotherapy (PHASE 2)

This was a continuation of the project begun in semester 1. In PHASE 2 of this project an additional Flash player was developed for the topic of Spinal Cord Injury and the functionality of the flash player was modified with the addition of a buffer indicator and a progress handle. An additional button was also added to the interface which will allow for the inclusion of a second video demonstrating to students the difference between the training video and an actual live patient demonstration.

Developing an eLearning scaffold for delivery of staged learning processes across selected nursing degree curriculae (PHASE 2)

Achieving a level of mathematics competency sufficient to support safe nursing for example, when dispensing medications, is a key learning objective within units addressing the clinical practice of nursing. The aim of this project was to use eLearning to support the implementation of strategies for the effective teaching and assessment of the required mathematics calculations and the development of remedial support for those students identified as being at risk of poor performance in this important area.

A WebCT website “Numeracy for Nurses” was created for this purpose. Each of the four modules within this website contained a diagnostic quiz, practice exercises and self assessment quiz implemented using a combination of WebCT’s assessment and assignment tools. All students are required to complete the diagnostic quiz for each module. Students who receive lower than 80% in the diagnostic quiz must complete the accompanying exercises for that module and then re-test themselves with the self assessment quiz.

The use of WebCT’s Gradebook feature allows UoS coordinators to identify students at risk early in the learning process and direct them to additional learning support if required in this important area.

Professional practice and fieldwork information centre

The goal of this project was to consolidate and integrate resources across the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Clinical and Professional Fieldwork Portfolio in order to ensure that best practice is implemented across the Faculty. A thorough review of existing e-learning resources was conducted with the mapping of existing discipline sites and the identification and restructuring of information to form a common template.

Staff from the disciplines received one-to-one training on how to transfer content from their old sites and customise the template to suit their content and program structure.

Inter- and intra-block study support for indigenous students in courses in substance use

The aim of this project was to improve student learning through the provision of literacy and numeracy support resources available on a WebCT website or a CDROM (for remote students without quality access to the Internet). These resources will be used predominantly between on-campus blocks; students will be working with community and/or clinical mentors and building on the face to face teaching of these skills. The Sydney eLearning educational designer worked closely with the academic-in charge to develop a LMS website and CD ROM titled “Indigenous Health Substance abuse”.

The website and CD ROM contain: presentation materials in HTML files, Flash tests and a Flash animation on “How to reference for Public Health courses” The website has a 'How to use this website folder with student guides, an 'Assessment' folder, a 'Block resources' folder for materials used face-to-face in the Block and 5 InterBlock folders with online materials. Artwork supplied by one of the current students was developed into banners and icons by the Sydney eLearning educational designer.

Development of an interactive tutorial to assist post-graduate markers in learning how to provide written feedback

The aims of this project were to improve student learning through improved written formative and summative feedback of written student assessments and to develop professional academic skills among post-graduate students, specifically the provision of appropriate and useful formative feedback.

These project aims were realized through the development of two Flash feedback activities for each section of a typical report (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion) and a Flash activity on Linking report sections. These activities were designed to guide tutors through the process of giving feedback and lead them into completing an individual activity for discussion in a face to face training session.

Clinical log books – developing an eLearning approach

Clinical placements are an essential component of student learning within the pre-registration Master of Nursing program. To date student experiences and their reflections on their clinical learning have been recorded through use of paper-based log books. These are expensive to produce and difficult to store for the 50 year period potentially required by current regulations.

In this project the Sydney eLearning educational designer reviewed current practice in the local and international context and produced a report with recommendations on how the faculty of Nursing and Midwifery could transfer their paper based logbooks to an electronic format.

Development of clinical case studies for electronic formative feedback

The goal of this project was to transform current paper-based clinical case studies in order to provide electronic formative feedback to pharmacy students. Currently, students in the final year of the Bachelor of Pharmacy unit of study- Integrated Dispensing, complete weekly medication record forms for their clinical case studies. Approximately 3-4 record forms per student (a total of 240 students in 2007) are submitted weekly to the tutors for marking. Handwritten feedback is provided on the record forms by the following week, and in total this requires approximately 30 hours of staff commitment per week.

The weekly feedback which is provided to the students is essential for guiding their improvement in this unit. The Sydney eLearning educational designers modified the current hard copy form and placed it online using WebCT’s assignment tool.

Students will complete the forms individually and in discussion with their peers in workshop sessions, and will submit them electronically on the day following the workshop. The use of the assignment drop box will enable students to receive feedback as soon as the due date for the form has passed and also allow the markers to concentrate their marking efforts on the patient interaction components of the form as opposed to fundamental aspects (such as dosage form, strength, dosage regimen, interactions, side-effects and contraindications).

Students will be able to access their feedback and grades securely through the web, and the system will automatically record the grades.

Sciences and Technology

Handling Large Animals

A group of videos are presently being made to demonstrate techniques to handle large animals safely. In this project a web-based interface is being created so that students can access and download these videos. The web-based interface will be available through a link from the University LMS (CE6)website for the Unit of Study (UoS). Sydney eLearning staff are also consulting with the team who are making the videos to ensure they are suitable for delivery on the web.

The Virtual Abattoir

Veterinary students need to spend time in an abattoir before they can be registered; however, it has become increasingly difficult for the Faculty to organise these visits. Over several semesters a resource has been developed (and is currently being added to) which prepares the students for their visit to an abattoir, so that the time they do spend there can be more fruitful.

Advanced Statistics Quizzes in Psychology

In this project tests are being prepared for advanced statistics students in Psychology that have an added feature: students assess their level of confidence in their answers as they give them, then their level of confidence is measured against their actual quiz score. This device is designed to help students realistically assess their level of ability in the subject.

The Bioethisphere

Students in Bioethics need to learn to see ethical issues from many different viewpoints. This tool will assist them to understand the many different ways that ethical issues in health care affect all of the people involved. Sydney eLearning staff are assisting with the design of the tool and its integration into several units of study.

HPS Graduate Program

The School of History and Philosophy in Science presently runs a Graduate program which it would like to move to a more blended model, with short block courses and the majority of material being delivered online. Sydney eLearning staff are presently giving pedagogical support in the redesign of the units of study, and will later be involved in building the sites for delivery of content to support online teaching.

Quizzes in Molecular Biology

Beginning students in Molecular Biology often have difficulty grasping concepts related to molarity (strength of solutions). Sydney eLearning staff are supporting staff to develop tests with detailed feedback, carefully designed to counter common misconceptions and assist students to understand the underlying concepts. The tests will be part of the teaching structure of the Unit of Study.

Online formative assessment with feedback for molecular biology

Online tests in a Unit of Study in Microbiology

Interactive tutorials for Molecular Biology and Genetics

In this project strategies were developed for integrating e-learning with face-to-face teaching to make the laboratory teaching for senior students in molecular biology and genetics more efficient.

Field Study Online

In an earlier project resources had been developed for supplementation of field study activities through online preparation and revision. Responding to student evaluations of activities and resources in the 2007 unit, pre-field trip activities were extended, and more guidance was provided on resources for use after the field trip.

Large Group Strategies for integrated learning

An online case study template was developed for use in Units of study offered by the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural resources

Targeted eLearning support

Staff in the Faculty of Engineering were offered the opportunity to have one-to-one support for incorporating online learning into their teaching plans. One result has been that two new projects were accepted for the 2009 project cycle.