It’s the holy grail of teaching: working with a group of highly engaged learners. But how can you create this environment?
As a taster for the upcoming annual Jisc Regional Support Centres (RSC) Higher Education Conference 2014, four of this year’s speakers have shared their top tips on how to engage and stimulate learners using online technologies and resources.
1. Involve learners as co-creators of learning resources
Rather than keeping the virtual learning environment (VLE) as the exclusive preserve of academics and module leaders, Stephen Rose, lecturer and education adviser at the University of Exeter, has allowed students high-level access and editing permissions, effectively ‘unlocking’ the VLE to learners. This ensures that resources have currency, says Stephen, and they are sufficiently agile to meet student needs at critical points of their learning experience, including transitions within the student experience.
2. Reward and motivate students through Open Badges
The Open Badge model from Mozilla offers the opportunity to use digital badges to recognise skills, competencies and achievements both inside and outside the classroom. Julie Adams, academic skills tutor (IT) at Staffordshire University, has developed the Open Badge model for use within higher education and has found it rewards and motivates students (and staff!). Badges earned can be displayed on the web and shared for employment, education or lifelong learning. Read more about Open Badges in this blog post by colleagues.
3. Adopt online learning for enhanced support
Phil Sayer, learning technologist at The Manchester College, has implemented a blended learning course structure, making better use of learning technology to facilitate a student-centred learning approach. Tutors use the VLE to support students whilst away from campus and online forums are used as a means to guide learners through collaboration and peer-support. Phil also uses online formative assessment in ‘out of college’ units.
4. Encourage students’ use of their own mobile devices
Students and tutors collaborate to develop the use of tablets and digital literacy skills at North Lindsey College. Dan Peart, programme leader in bioscience at the university centre of the college says, this informs curriculum development and assessment strategies of re-validated provision.
Find out more about the effectiveness of these practices – and others – at the forthcoming Jisc RSC Higher Education Conference 2014, taking place on 27 March 2014 in Manchester. The conference will be a showcase of ideas, techniques and practices that put the student at the centre of their learning. Stephen, Julie, Phil and Dan will all be on hand to give advice and welcome your input.