8 January 2016

Wouter Ernst: ‘That’s why I completely changed my course’

Wouter Ernst was looking for a way to get the students in his first year course of ‘Introduction to Constitutional and Administrative Law’ come to his lectures better prepared as well as engage them more interactively. Wouter Ernst: ’’That’s why I completely changed the course into a more blended version.’’ Wouter: ’’Our solution to better prepare our students was to provide them with a weekly assessment prior to the work group classes. It is practically impossible to organise a location for such a weekly test for 900 first year students. Because of my experience with Remindo, a digital testing application, I was willing to use this on a weekly basis for a digital ‘take-home’ assignment. The assignment was subsequently checked in Remindo per work group by the twelve work group lecturers. While we think that checking and, in particular, discussing the assignment could be done in a more practical way, we had a positive assessment about the Remindo application. It never failed or was inaccessible, which were problems some of us were a little apprehensive about in advance. In addition to a better preparation of our students, we also wished to add a more interactive element to the course. This year, we decided on a FAQ lecture. Based on the weekly assessments, the students could send us their questions about the specific subject matter. In this way, we created a dialogue with space to provide more in-depth knowledge, clarification or context. A – digital – dialogue which does not happen in the lectures because of the large numbers of students or in the work groups because of the high level of information density. Students sent us questions straight after the test via Blackboard or email. From 1 PM, we were ready with a small, weekly changing team to compile the questions into a fluid, short tutorial, often supported by videos or websites. This tutorial was recorded on camera the very same day and from 6 PM made available online via Lecturenet. Creating the FAQ lectures was a positive challenge and generated positive dynamics in our team of lecturers. The complete course has been rated a 4.2 out of 5, which we are very happy about. The students were positive about the online assignments and the majority agrees that these help them to come to the lectures better prepared. The FAQ lectures received a more mixed response. Some of the points of improvement referred to the timing of these lectures in their weekly schedules. We are currently discussing how to improve the individual elements of the course as well as their interdependence in order to offer next year’s students an even better course. Digitalisation will only ever work if the reason for it has an added value. More testimonials  

2 October 2015

Angela Kok-van Meer on the use of IT in teaching

In this first teaching period, Angela Kok – van Meer MA (USG) is providing two digital testmoments. Angela explains the reasons why and what she has achieved so far. Angela Kok-van Meer hopes to save tons of time “I am already experienced in the use of various ICT applications in teaching, such as weblogs, e-lectures and voting devices. When the digital testing or so-called e-assessment option became available, I jumped at the advantages both to students and teachers. That to me was the most important reason to explore the further possibilities. In Period 1 of the Public Administration course, we will be asking the Bachelor 1 students both open and multiple choice questions. Remindo, the digital testing system allows us to pose both types of questions as well as to mark the answers. Especially distributing the marking and deciphering the various handwritings in particular used to cost me a lot of time. That soon will be in the past. Moreover, the system offers further new options, such as asking questions related to a video clip, thus enabling us to start using ‘Nieuwsuur’ items in our exams.   Making use of e-assessments does however require a certain amount of preparation as you will have to master the specific system first. For this reason I followed a three-hour training during which many of the functionalities were explained and I had ample time to have a go on the Remindo testing system myself. Of course there is also the technical and didactical support from the Centre for Teaching and Learning when you start creating your own tests. You are never really on your own! We will have to be patient for a few more weeks still, before we can finally offer our students a proper e-assessment. I am expecting them to respond positively as screens and keyboards are central parts of their world now.” More testimonials

12 May 2015

Mark Sanders on the use of IT in teaching

Dr Mark Sanders (U.S.E.) is one of the first teachers within the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance who started making knowledge videos.  Mark explains his motivation:  Why did you start making knowledge videos? “I first started making knowledge videos for practical reasons. Explaining the complex empirical assignments took a lot of my team’s time, time we did not really have within the set number of contact hours. That’s why I started recording short videos explaining the basic subject matter. I believe that a diverse student population is best served by making use of all available information channels. Some students will prefer reading about the subject while others prefer to listen, to question or to actively engage in the study material. Knowledge videos provide me with an additional channel via which to present the subject matter to the students. During the first-year subject of Macro Economics, the students have to digest a lot of basic subject matter. This basic material does not change a lot from year to year and as a result teachers may tend to forget how overwhelming it can be for their students as they feel they have explained it so often already. You may find yourself rushing your lectures and focussing too much on additional information, applications and funny examples while the basic subject matter has been insufficiently internalised yet. I hope that the recording of and presenting students with knowledge videos will allow them to really engage in the basic material in their own time and consequently get more fun and use out of the live lectures. ” Why do you think the use of IT in teaching is an added value? “IT offers new opportunities for interactive teaching to either provide more context or rather more depth. By making use of the whole range of IT options, you are able to better facilitate larger numbers of students in their learning processes. This in my opinion is what academic teaching is all about. IT may contribute to this and that’s why I am an advocate of researching and (on evidence of effectiveness) using its applications. As the production and distribution of (video) content is becoming increasingly cheaper, I also think that teachers should not wish to miss out on this. And then you might as well be leading the way.” More testimonials