From here to there… reflections on a semester of the #bathblend – Part 1

Posted in: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Opinion

Author: Steve Cayzer -

Along with the rest of the UK educational community, I have ensured that my courses @UniOfBath are Covid-ready. This means designing them according to the Bath Blend which includes independent (self paced) learning, Live Online Interactive Learning (LOIL) and In Person Time (IPT). In this blog, I show how I designed the blended experience in a social and inclusive way.

Independent Learning does not mean recorded lectures

One temptation is simply to take my existing lectures and record them. I don’t take that easy option, as it leads to a few issues:

  • Hour long recorded lectures are really not very engaging.
  • They would also overload my students, in a typical week there might be 10 hours of recorded content a week, plus at least the same again in associated self study, before they even get to the live online sessions.

As one student commented:

“[Pre-learning allows] you to prepare ahead of time and thus allows you to focus on lecture materials with a basis of knowledge. However, if it is too long it can be overwhelming and unrealistic."

Instead, I tried a more holistic approach which includes:

  • video snippets
  • self assessment quizzes
  • games
  • asynchronous forums
  • ‘try at home’ activities
  • and whatever else that is engaging, relevant and valuable

For this reason, I avoid the term ‘pre reading’ and prefer the phrase ‘pre learning’. As an example, my pre learning for game theory took the form of an online game (thanks, nickycase) and a series of short video snippets, each building up to a self assessment question (answered in the next snippet). There were 6 snippets each of 5 minutes. This cuts down the recorded content from 2 hours (had I just recorded traditional lectures) to a much more manageable 30 minutes.

Pre learning, signposted from the Learning Management System and consisting of an online game followed by 6 short video snippets.

Steve Cayzer’s blog will be continued here in the very near future. Sign up to receive notifications for the blog so you don’t miss Part 2.

Posted in: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Opinion

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