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Advice for implementing digitally enhanced teaching and learning within modules. 

Guidance is presented as effective practices for delivering digital learning along the principles of clarity, consistency, coherence. In addition, guidance from colleagues in the Lincoln International Business School (LIBs) are included for supporting international students under the principle of culture.

Clear: easy to perceive, understand, or interpret

Module sites include a clear statement about its purpose and expected learning outcomes. Module sites include information for students on the core set of digital tools they will use and what is expected of them. Links to support materials are available to help students prepare.

The relationship between learning activities, their order and how they support module outcomes, is clearly defined and signposted (aka the schedule of learning).

Learning content is available through a structured organisation, using meaningful file names and descriptions:

  • Every content area should begin with a description;
  • All items include descriptive information to guide learners.

Module sites include advice on communication expectations within online platforms such as email, Bb Collaborate, discussion boards, and MS Teams.

Text is clearly presented using basic text editor.

Accessibility tools within Bb (Bb Ally) and/or O365 are routinely used to ensure equal access and equal opportunities for all learners to all learning content.

Documents are also available in PDF format to support use across a wide range of devices.

Where possible, consider the challenges some students may have with limited access to broadband and/or computers and offer simple alternative formats (e.g. plain text documents) where needed.

Consistent: acting or done in the same way over time

Regular use of Announcements for urgent notifications, reminders or promotion of activities by default (providing a record of all communications to students and encouraging regular module access). Where appropriate this may include shared Programme level sites.

Module sites include a staff profile page with contact details, avatar/picture (on O365 and Bb) and provides details of contact availability and preferences.

Publicise your online availability being aware of potential time zones and differing public holidays (where you have international students studying overseas).

Module sites include a link to theModule Handbook or equivalent (recommended use of an online tool like Sway and linked to within Bb). Where appropriate information on alternative formats and support is provided where accessibility is identified as a possible issue due to the nature of the learning activity.

Module sites include clear and consistent instructions on assignment submission using dedicated tools such as Turnitin.

Where possible provide explicit examples of previously assessed work.

All grades and feedback available through Grade Centre.

Resources from the internet are added as links (rather than uploaded). Please ensure you check the resources have been made available with the owner’s permission and reference the source appropriately.

Ensure students have sufficient time to engage and familiarise themselves with the learning materials.

Recap often to help support student progress.

Links to external resources are routinely checked before publication to students.

Direct link (in same location across Programmes) to an up-to-date TALIS Aspire reading list for each module.

Direct links (in same location across Programme) to appropriate Referencing Handbook and submission guidelines.

Direct links (in same location across Programme) to Panopto (videos).

Direct links (in same location across Programme) to discussion forums.

Direct links (in same location across Programme) to Bb Collaborate (webinars).

Direct access to all available additional tools (in same location across Programme) to facilitate use (e.g. use of MS Teams for meetings or seminars).

Direct links (in same location across Programme) to policies, University standards and Programme requirements the students are expected to comply with.

Coherent: forming a unified whole

Use of Programme sites to welcome and orient new students to learning in a blended learning environment.

Encourages students to introduce themselves to their cohort using preferred communication channels (socialisation activities and community building).

Provides a balanced mix of synchronous and asynchronous activities throughout the Programme, with (where appropriate) flexibility built into pacing to take account of any phased activities, e.g. face-to-face sessions.

Consider your module in the context of the Programme and align Bb structure, naming conventions and how available tools are used where appropriate.

Consider your module in your disciplinary context, are there any broader structures (e.g. professional bodies) or disciplinary specific requirements to apply equally across the Programme.

To ensure relevant timely availability of resources consider use of adaptive release for groups or timetabled content (where appropriate).

Use of rubrics for electronic assessment and grading across all modules.

A variety of appropriate learning activities is shared across the Programme and encourage student participation with active blended learning.

Culture: valuing international difference and diversity

By Ian Pownall, Malgorzata Drewniok, Alison Raby, Olanrewaju (Larry) Olaye, Deborah Lock, Elaine Clark & Change Ge (Lincoln International Business School)

Consider students whose cultural backgrounds place emphasis on interpersonal relationships who might find that online teaching lacks the cues they would expect when working face-to-face. Consider allocating time for such students to review materials that might be commented upon as unclear.

Give more time for the completion of, and Q & A about, particular set learning tasks. Set learning activities can require more time to complete when delivered online to a class/group(s) and/or some students may be inclined to take more time as they feel under less pressure. You may find that asynchronous discussions or activities can be helpful to use here.

Reflect on your use of synchronous and asynchronous delivery styles and learning materials. Synchronous delivery induces a sense of promptness, timeliness and is reassuring for learners whilst asynchronous delivery helps to remove the logistical and ethical barriers as well as permitting learners time to reflect and prepare contributions. The outcomes of asynchronous delivered learning materials may require summarising to support students who need more time to digest materials quickly.

Be more prescriptive when working with multi-cultural groups of students. Clarity and focused guidance are important in reassuring international learners and ensuring they have confidence with your learning materials. You may need to ensure for example to address cultural power asymmetries and uncertainty avoidance evidenced in some cultures of students, by for example, allocating group roles.

Use inclusive learning materials to reflect student diversity.

Encourage students to draw from personal experiences and share those reflections

Explicitly include opportunities and time for personal guidance and support. This ensures all students have time and opportunity to raise issues/clarifications with you (cognizant of different global time zones).

Respond to Students’ values and interests that might be included in digital correspondence. For example, the culture of some students can encourage them to inquire about well-being of your family and they would appreciate a similar inquiry from yourself.

Be flexible towards expected later requests for support. Online learning can result in a lengthier time between the need for help being recognized and the request for help being made bya student. You may wish to allocate a block of support time towards the second half of your module’s delivery for this reason.