The purpose of yesterday's workshop was twofold. First, the students were asked to design a template that could be used/adapted for all undergraduate modules in the School of Medicine, based on how they would like to access resources. Second, and deriving from the discussion, the UGTLG would like to write up a set of guidelines/policies for staff on good practice in using Blackboard, particular to the School of Medicine.
|Dr Rosemary Geoghegan leading one group of students|
|A second year Health and Disease course design|
Some of the common themes that came up were:
- Students don't want large PDFs of course handbooks, that are also distributed in hard copy. Forget the hard copy completely. Instead, put the information into easy-to-browse format within Blackboard.
- Organise materials by theme, and not by type of material. This is how students approach their study, and they want the Blackboard course to reflect that.
- Do include staff details - names and email addresses. Include a link to the person's website, if it exists. No more information is required. When I asked if a photo would be useful, one young man replied "If I know his name and how to contact him - why do I need to know what he looks like?"
- Have a policy about announcements, particularly regarding changes to the schedule. A live schedule would be ideal. (I'm hoping the new Calendar functionality in SP12 will help here)
While the work of the UGTLG is not finished and there is a lot more to do, I thought that the involvement of the students at this stage was invaluable. I was very impressed with their engagement and willingness to discuss the issues as they saw them. While the outcomes of this particular workshop are not generalisable, the workshop format and aims could be very usefully repeated in other disciplines.