CS_01_Title

Background

A top- Russell Group University asked me to create the materials for a re-sit module that would be online for the first time. The specifications and objectives were as follows:

Specifications

  • Length of the course: Short/intensive course lasting one week.
  • Target audience: First-year undergraduate students of the Faculty of Social Sciences.
  • Available University Tools: Blackboard & Adobe Connect.

Objectives

  • To engage students so that they finish the re-sit module.
  • To make students collaborate and interact with others from different: disciplines, genders, and nationalities.
  • To promote creativity by creating an artefact by the end of the module.
  • To introduce students to research (e.g. looking for reliable sources, creating a bibliography list, etc).

Creating the course content

In order to create the content materials, I followed the following process: I identified personas and, based on these and on the course objectives, I created a draft/sketch which was discussed with the module’s coordinator, to check that we were on the same page. After this, I went on to create a prototype of the materials which went through two rounds of feedback & revision.

Personas

It’s indispensable to outline and keep in mind who is the end-user. In the case of this course:

  • First-year undergraduate students. The average age for someone to start the University in the UK is 18 years.
  • Coming from all social science disciplines (e.g. architecture, management, geography, etc).
  • Gender in the Social Sciences is quite balanced, so target audience is about half females, half males.
  • Have probably never have taken an online module before.
  • Might not know many sources of reliable information.
  • First-year students are less experienced in Blackboard (the official University LMS). However, they might be more inclined to trying different tools/software.
  • First-year undergraduate students are still forming their study habits. Hence, they might benefit from clear, simple instructions (e.g. checklists, to do lists).

Draft / Sketch

Day 0 – Group formation

  • Welcome students: Make an introductory video to engage students (I used Powtoon -link!)
  • Divide students into groups (each group must contain a mix of: discipline, gender, nationality).
  • Assign groups to ‘facilitators’ (postgraduate students that will support groups and check on their progress).
 

Days 1-4 – Collaborate in groups towards the artefact

  • Make slides for each day, using the same theme & characters from the video, and following a standard format for each day (For this, I used a combination of Powtoon and PowerPoint)
  • Encourage student to collaborate by: 1) Using Blackboard’s forums, 2) Using Adobe Connect, 2) Making a collaborative project: a poster or pin-board, using Padlet-link.
  • Focus on daily targets: Day 1) Get familiar with Cyberbullying, 2) Conduct individual research, 3) Start working on artefact & presentation, 4) Finish and upload materials & give feedback.
  • Add lots of additional materials to get them going, using reliable sources of information. I used a combination of case studies (using reliable media sources), academic papers, TED talks, etc.
Sketch_online_module

Final Materials

The final materials, of the module were as follows. These were all uploaded to Blackboard (called MOLE, in the designated University).

Introductory video

Daily slides