LITEbox

Digital playground

Tagged: Student engagement

Using Peerwise (MCQ software) to encourage a deeper understanding

  , ,

📥  Case Studies

Staff involved
Amanda Mackenzie, Dept of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Christine Edmead, Dept of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


What was done and what technology was used?
Peerwise is free online software which supports students in the creation, sharing, evaluation and discussion of assessment questions. We have been using this technology on a flipped unit with around 180 students for the last two years, and have had a great success.

Peerwise takes a few minutes to set up, and can be done via Moodle enrolment. Once it has been set up it is very self-sustaining and doesn't need much input from ourselves, however we can moderate if needed.

What are the benefits to staff?
This unit has 60% of marks assigned from a multiple choice paper, but we do not release past papers. Students have always asked for practice questions and with Peerwise they can write their own questions and then practice on questions which other students have created. There is also a competitive element as students gain points from writing, answering and commenting on questions. This saves us a lot of time not having to write practice questions each year and provides the students with a broader question bank. We can also look to see which topics students are finding harder and may need to revisit in lectures.

What are the benefits to students?
Students generally will deepen their knowledge by needing to think of appropriate questions and answers to these questions, as well as having access to a fantastic resource for revision for their exams which is added to throughout the semester. Around 60% of students in the cohort actively engage with Peerwise throughout the semester, and while no part of this is assessed, two questions selected from those submitted, are included in each years' exam as an incentive to engage.

 

Audience response systems

  , , ,

📥  Event Review

Dr Richard Joiner introduced the session, which is available to watch online, by giving the audience an example of an Audience Response System (ARS), otherwise known as an Audience Voting System (AVS) or Electronic Voting System (EVS), in this instance, OMBEA, by asking them to use any mobile device they had with them to participate in answering some sample questions. Participants were able to see what it was like to respond to a question in many different ways, and to see how the responses could be displayed in bar charts, word clouds, etc.

It was mentioned by Richard that he liked to add music behind the questions, helping students feel comfortable to discuss the topic amongst themselves.

Richard linked his motivation for using technology such as audience response systems to getting students to be more active in teaching sessions and how well they learn. Audience response systems encourage students to engage in class by providing short mental breaks within the lecture allowing them to maintain focus, as well as supporting them to apply their recently acquired knowledge together with instant feedback, even in larger classes, to help their learning.

Please read the following to learn about the introduction of an audience response system here in Bath, and their effectiveness more generally.

 

Different uses for ARSs mentioned

  1. Promote active learning - help students develop a deeper understanding
  2. Formative assessment - to gain a rough understanding of what the students know
  3. Summative assessment - can be challenging and has issues such as registering the clickers, ensuring no cheating, etc.
  4. Interactive (revision) sessions - to lead at the pace of the students
  5. Unit/programme feedback - provides instant feedback with a good chance of high turnout
  6. Data collection - from a large collection of students with a range of experiences

 

How to use the University's audience response system

You can book the University's audience response system for use in your teaching from the Audio Visual Unit, and receive training on using the system from the e-Learning team.

Image from http://opus.bath.ac.uk/12505/1/

 

Key questions during the session

Have you received any feedback from students?
Students are generally very positive to any form of voting system, but Richard has seen a slightly lower response rate when students use their own devices, possibly because they don’t want to run down their batteries.

Is Nick Kinnie’s project report (on use of ARS) available?
The project is still underway so the report is forthcoming

 

A flipped teaching toolkit for a quantitative module

  , , , , ,

📥  Event Review

Dr Aydin Nassehi began his LITEbox session, available to watch online, by explaining a typical problem with the “standard” classroom approach: students claim to be too busy meaning they often miss lectures, tutorials and out-of-class study time, leading to a lack of learning and lack of understanding of the material. In order to engage the students and create a deeper understanding, Dr Nassehi uses a flipped teaching approach where lectures are much more interactive and allow students to develop their ideas further. In order to assist his approach, he uses the following technologies:

Despite the advantages of flipped teaching, it does come with some disadvantages: student feedback is very mixed, with some students reporting that the academic staff are “not teaching anything”; the teaching approach needs to be continually adjusted according to feedback; and the culture of marks being more important than an understanding of the subject is a barrier for many students.

The student approach to a "standard" classroom approach

The student approach to a "standard" classroom approach

Digitising Tablet

Before the lecture, content must be provided for the students to learn. This can be a collection of anything relevant, from academic papers through to online videos, which are all uploaded to Moodle for easy access. Dr Nassehi produces videos of step-by-step problems specific to his taught modules by using a digitising tablet (costing £50 to £80), and allows the students to work in a self-paced learning environment where they can pause and resume the video as required. This means that no students are sat in lectures confused when the pace is too fast to follow.

Integration of Moodle - Quizzes

In order to ensure students have done the required work before class each week, they are incentivised with a quiz on Moodle worth 1% of the module mark. Quizzes can be automatically marked, and once a question bank is set up, Moodle allows for random value numerical answers and automatic question shuffling in order to ensure students can’t cheat. Moodle also allows for analysis of the students’ marks, showing where they are struggling and which topics they find hard.

It was noted that the content before the lecture must relate to both the quizzes and the assessment objectives, as otherwise students are disheartened spending time learning unrelated material.

LTEO can provide help and guidance on using Moodle for quizzes.

Audience Response System

To engage with a large cohort of students during contact time, Poll Everywhere is used to ask questions based on the content which has already been learnt, either multiple choice, numerical or short phrase submissions – though be prepared for students inputting silly words. It allows anyone with an internet-enabled device to connect, which is much easier logistically than having to hire out a set of 200+ clickers from the University. Poll Everywhere also allows for registration to track user’s progress throughout the semester.

Dr Nassehi uses an audience response system for a variety of reasons, including short numerical based problems in groups, through to marking other class presentations on non-technical presentation aspects. While Poll Everywhere can provide live feedback on whether students need the pace of class to increase or not, this can be challenging when a certain amount of in-class content must be planned in advance.

Alternative similar free software is mQlicker which allows for embedding within PowerPoint and deals with numerical answers as numbers rather than text strings. You can book the University's audience response system for use in your teaching from the Audio Visual Unit, and receive training on using the system from the e-Learning team.

You can find out more information about how to use audience response systems from a LITEbox event write up.


Questions arising during the session

Is flipped teaching more time consuming?

  • To set up the material takes much longer than standard teaching, however once the resources have been set up there is much less work in following years

How do you stop students using their phones in class for non-lecture content?

  • Students are more engaged as they have read the material, which as an added benefit also means the lecturer can discuss topics they enjoy with other informed people
  • Provide interesting material in class sessions so they want to learn
  • You can’t stop those who want to check Facebook, even in “technology free” lectures

How does flipped teaching rank in unit evaluations?

  • When students have to do more work and are taught in a different way to usual, flipped teaching appears worse in unit evaluations
  • You can still use these tools without flipping

Do students have transparency of the class being flipped?

  • From experience, students prefer and rate the class higher if you avoid calling it a flipped class and say this is the way the class has always been taught

If you have any more questions please ask in the comments box below.

 

Lessons from the Universe

  , , ,

📥  Event Review

On 23rd October Professor Carole Mundell shared her Lessons from the Universe to a wide audience of academic staff, support staff, researchers and students. One reflection of the session was:

This was a truly inspirational talk which made me think about how familiar technology could be used to do real research

Please use the comments section below to discuss your thoughts on revolutionary research and it's link to teaching and engagement. You can also watch a recording of the talk below.

lessonsfromtheuniverse

Professor Carole Mundell introducing her talk

The event started with a brief overview of astrophysics, including the fact that it is possible to tell things such as the the ages of galaxies by their colours. The goal driven problems which Astrophysicists are trying to solve are both exciting and extreme, where records are continually broken in all aspects, including largest magnetic field, most distant object, and the list continues. Due to these extremes being measured, there is a continual drive for technology to be developed at such a fast pace there are noticeable developments every year.

Carole then described how telescopes around the world are now being used in arrays. These arrays can provide data which would only otherwise be possible to obtain by manufacturing an impossibly large telescopes. The next topic was gamma ray bursts - extremely high energy bursts which were detected for the first time 50 years ago by accident, and can occur in a timespan of milliseconds. In order to monitor these in the current day we need real time observation, creating vast amounts of data. This data can be automatically probed and observed in order to find a tiny unique bit of data amongst data collected from the whole universe. In order to develop these technologies a cross disciplinary set of skills is required, particularly engineers who can design and build these technologies.

Before the final remarks on the next decade and beyond, and how Astrophysics links to all other aspects of our lives, Carole joked that we could use Mantis shrimp with telescopes to observe the cosmos with. These shrimp have 12-colour imaging which is better than both the 3-colour imaging which humans have, and also better than the technology we currently have. Our goal is to use biomimicry to create new technology which can surpass current technologies.

In order to inspire a new generation of Astrophysicists, it is vital to work with current students and engage them in solving real life problems and revolutionary research. Not only does citizen science assist scientific research developments, but by including people of all ages - including school based programmes - everyone can share excitement of taking ownership of new data.

One student who attended the event confirmed this by saying:

The more students who turn up to inspiring talks on state of the art developments, the more likely someone will be motivated, and ultimately these motivations will cause the future developments and technologies we see in the world.

 

Please have a look at more of our upcoming events list, including using multimedia message walls to collate students' thoughts, and technologies to help with flipped teaching.

Watch a video of the Carole Mundell's Lessons from the Universe below:

 

LITEbox Event: Using online multimedia message walls to encourage participation

  , , ,

📥  LITEbox Event

This event has now ended, please view a write up with a comparison and instructions on embedding these walls into Moodle

Online forums offer a way of enhancing student engagement by exchanging ideas and questions. Yet, the problems associated with encouraging and supporting student participation remain. This interactive LITEbox workshop seeks to explore:

  1. Whether new, freely available online multimedia message walls such as Linoit and Padlet address any of the perceived short comings of forums
  2. How new, freely available online multimedia message walls such as Linoit and Padlet can offer alternative ways of collating students' thoughts, ideas and questions to stimulate learning and feedback.

Before the workshop we invite you to watch this short video of staff reflecting on their utilisation of Linoit and Padlet https://vimeo.com/141824889 and share your experiences, insights, concerns or queries on our specially designed multimedia walls where we will discuss the key issues as part of the workshop on the boards:

We will also use the workshop to develop a community of practice whereby participants share their ideas and work together to design learning activities that embed online multimedia message walls in order to overcome identified pedagogic problems and/or ensure students' learning needs are met.

Dr Jessica Francombe-Webb will convene this workshop. Jess is a Lecturer in sport and physical culture whose research draws from the discipline of feminist physical cultural studies, to explore the contested politics of the (in)active body in relation to health, body size, appearance, gender, social class, race, (dis)ability across the lifespan. She is keen to explore and innovate with new and existing technologies in her teaching, even if they aren't a guaranteed success.

LinoIt board being used for this session

LinoIt board being used for this session

 

LITEbox Event: A flipped teaching toolkit for a quantitative module

  , ,

📥  LITEbox Event

A flipped teaching toolkit for a quantitative module (a digitising tablet, screen capture and an audience participation system)

Date: Wednesday 18 November 2015
Time: 12.45pm - 13.45pm
Venue: CB 5.13

Please send an email RSVP to litebox@bath.ac.uk to register your interest.

If you are thinking about 'just-in-time' lecturing for flipped teaching, adding interactivity to your class or, trying self-paced instruction through virtual learning environments, this session may be of interest to you. In this session, innovative e-learning technologies will be showcased that can significantly enhance your teaching practice and student engagement.

Specifically, this session will look at the ways in which interactive learning environments can be created through: the integration of virtual learning environments such as Moodle; audience participation systems; and simple software packages.

Dr Aydin Nassehi is a Mary Tasker award-winning Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His area of expertise is manufacturing; a topic that is often challenging and unpopular with Mechanical Engineering students.

Watch a short video which Aydin has produced himself on the challenges faced when teaching manufacturing to second year students: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mr3cr24k5em1pk6/LiteBox.mp4

Flipped teaching

Extract from Dr Nassehi's video

 

Are you interested in any other LITEbox events? Register your interest with us to keep informed.

 

LITEbox Event: Videoconferencing and innovative teaching in social sciences classrooms

  , , , ,

📥  LITEbox Event

This event has finished and there is a write up available to read

Dr Aslam has been using a blend of Twitter and Skype to organise interactive videoconference sessions with academics, students, aid-workers, social activists and journalists from across the Middle East and Asia. See below for photos taken during these sessions. The purpose of this activity has been to enable students to learn first-hand about a number of political and security issues in those regions by interacting with those living there. This has also helped students learn about a number of political and security issues concerning the two regions studied on these courses.

Within this seminar Dr Wali Aslam will discuss his utilisation of the two learning technologies within two of his recent courses and introduce some preliminary data that explores the impact of this technology enhanced teaching.  This will be followed by small group discussion focused on the potential cross-institutional deployment of Twitter and Skype and ways to enhance engagement with learning technologies.

Click the links to see the Twitter discussions for the two courses mentioned above:

Why not join the discussion of this event by tweeting in advance your own thoughts, comments, questions using #LITEboxWali? View the discussion here

Dr Aslam’s research lies at the crossroads of International Relations theory, international (particularly Asian) security and United States foreign policy. His more recent research has focused on United States foreign policy for the AfPak region and on Asian security. Some of his other research projects include employing the theoretical perspectives of the English School and Constructivism to analyse the American drone strikes in Pakistan.

The following video discusses how and why Dr Aslam uses and combination of Skype and Twitter to engage his classes in conversations with students, academics, aid workers and journalists across the world.

 

Here are some photos taken during a taught class by Dr Aslam showing how students interact with guest speakers by using Twitter and Skype:

Embedding ‘serious’ games in the curriculum

  , , ,

📥  Event Review

Embedding ‘serious’ games in the curriculum: an aide to active learning?

 

Please watch back a recording of the event for further information.

 

Hannah discusses using the simulation game Democracy 2 with students working in a special technology enabled group-work room.

The rationale for embedding serious simulation games into the teaching of Social Policy.

There is great potential for serious games to facilitate active learning, particularly in courses that are strongly theory-led and where traditional teaching methods may reinforce students’ feelings of detachment from the subject matter.

This workshop explored using serious games to:

  • facilitate active learning in the classroom
  • share their own experience of using similar technology-enabled aides to teaching
  • discuss potential applications for serious games to support their students’ needs
  • identify what resources are needed to realise the benefits of these aides to learning and teaching more widely across the University.

Dr Hannah Durrant is the University of Bath's Institute for Policy Research Co-ordinator, who is seeking to engage with colleagues across the University with an interest in technology enhanced learning and teaching. Previously, Hannah was Teaching Fellow in Social and Policy Sciences, and developed her interest in using serious games in learning and teaching as a result of the encouragement of other tirelessly creative and committed academics in the department.