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bullet  Warwick E-Learning Award 2004

The first year of the Warwick e-Learning Award course has attracted 10 participants from a range of departments. The programme is centred on a project and a reflective portfolio. 

The focus of the individual projects may well change during the 18 months of the programme but the initial proposals suggest a wide range of interests including:

  • Using online environments to build collaboration between tutors.
  • Ensuring e-Learning approaches adopt an appropriate pedagogical model.
  • Assessment of online learning materials.
  • Equipping students with the skills set and. expectations to work successfully in this new mode. Motivation of students.
  • Collaborative learning in large (distributed) groups.
  • Developing writing skills in a foreign language.
  • Using online learning journals to consolidate learning and reflection.
  • Computer aided assessment for diagnostic and formative testing.
  • Enhancing and facilitate appraisal in medical education.

Language learning is a particularly active area this year, involving four of the participants.

Participants already demonstrate a depth of interest and thinking that promises that the projects will inform not only their own practice but that of the University as a whole.

bullet  Warwick E-Learning Award Summary of participants and initial project proposals

Teresa MacKinnon    Language Centre

My work involves delivering academic teaching in French, using on-line support material. I also organise programmes of study for business clients and market our services through the Internet.

As business language development officer I am looking to pilot on-line materials to support client progress. I use such materials myself in my academic teaching and would like to involve other business tutors in their trial and evaluation. I may be able to get some seed funding from current business clients to enrich the range of content that could be offered.

Andrew Taylor    Medical School (PGME)

My role involves supporting the Masters programmes in the Clinical Sciences Division of the Medical School.  As part of my job I do a little teaching and have some tutorial (personal) with students.

The undergraduate and postgraduate curricula encourage the need for taking responsibility for the students’ own learning.  I am interested in the possibilities of using BLOGS and LOBSTERS to consolidate learning & reflection both at under and post graduate levels (but PG in the first instance).  I also have an interest in using the current technology to enhance and facilitate appraisal at the undergraduate level, now that the GMC has said it must be done.  Julie Sherriff, the LWMS IT Services Team Leader would be willing to support this venture.

Richard Parker    Library

My role in the Library is in user education. This involves training in the use of online resources, group training sessions and one-to-one training.

I share teaching on a 10-week study skills course for History of Art undergraduates with a lecturer from the department. We have run it 3-4 times now, with some variations. I want to use my input (3-5 sessions, depending) as the focus for this Award. The skills teaching itself (databases etc.) is generally successful and uncontroversial. I am interested in exploring the motivational aspect in this programme, as it is more difficult to teach: not just what, but why and how to use information – finding skills and integrating them into students’ study patterns; what aspects need to be in place for that to happen logically, from seminar topic and reading list through to finished essay. I have opted for the 18 months duration as this course might be delivered next spring, instead of autumn term.

Christa Williford    Theatre Studies

I currently co-teach one undergraduate module in Theatre Studies, and I contribute further as an occasional lecturer and grader as well as through the preparation of digital learning resources. My experiences on the E-learning Award program would involve the preparation for, assembly, and evaluation of this online learning module. Although self-taught I have considerable experience with a wide variety of ICT, including building web pages using Dream Weaver.

Based upon my recent experiences with teaching the “Performance Spaces” modules in Theatre Studies, I would like to develop a learning module related to one of my speciality areas (most likely the seventeenth-century French theatre). The design of the module would be based around either an E-lab online lecture (approx. 1 hour in at least 3 discrete 20-min segments) or around resources such as those on Japanese Theatre housed at the Global Performing Arts Research Centre:

Paul McCarthy    WMG (Engineering)

I have developed, delivered and managed dedicated programmes for industrial partners.  I am currently leading the redesign of the e2BM Full Time MSc programme. The focus of development work with the Warwick E-Learning Award is concerned with:

  1. Student Skills for effective e-learning – The most significant barriers in our work so far has been equipping the students with the skills set and expectations to work successfully in this new mode.
  2. e-learning is not e-teaching – Another challenge has been to promote real educational redesign to ensure the right learning context/process rather than just “ go read it on a computer screen”.
  3. Online assessment as a drive/support for real subject engagement / learning – This is partially concerning motivation of students and partially to do with developing robust processes for un-invigilated online assessments
  4. Collaborative learning in large (distributed) groups – is this the real key to making it work?

John Gould    WMG (Engineering)

I am employed by WMG as a consultant on an on-going contract (currently 16 months) of approx 2-3 days per week. My role is to project manage and provide professional consultancy to WMG’s work on the e-business MSc and beyond that the implementation of e-learning processes across our programmes.  I am also a project supervisor for a number of students on the Full Time Msc and lecture on this programme.

I propose to undertake the Warwick E-Learning Award study in conjunction with the work that I am doing supporting the e-Business Management education (e2BM) MSc Full-time programme within WMG.  We are approximately 6 months into a revised version of the programme that gives plenty of scope to study the effects of various forms of e-Learning application.

Elisabeth Robery    Language Centre

Currently, I teach German to students at Warwick University from beginners to advanced level.  I will be participating on the Warwick E-Learning Award programme as part of my work on the open module of the WTC Diploma. The Warwick E-Learning Award programme will be used as the vehicle for devising, designing and piloting the project to review, identify and test appropriate forms of technology to support online approaches.

I propose to work on a project that would support and improve language teaching and learning.  The project would involve two strands aimed at significantly improving student and teacher facilities:

  •  the students’ self-evaluation test
  • the teachers’ placement test. 

My vision for students is to design a language course website, including an on-line live discussion forum. I would like students to be able to submit their coursework, homework etc. direct to the teacher through the secure website.  Also, students should be able to undertake specific tests to evaluate their knowledge and receive instant feedback (self-evaluation tests).  By doing specific tasks that the teacher has designed to support learning, the students could practise specific aspects of the language, such as grammar. My ideas for the teacher would include a discussion forum (entry by password only) so that language teachers could share knowledge, ideas, problems, links to the web, etc. enabling them to work more closely together. 

Rod Revell    CELTE

I’m in charge of the Pre-sessional Course in English that the University provides to overseas students who are due to start a course of study at Warwick but whose English has been deemed insufficient for their studies.  The course is heavily subscribed; the final five weeks in late August and September have attracted an average of 330 students over the past three years. And it draws heavily on finite resources, principally teachers and teaching space.

These factors, combined with the fact that the course participants are, by definition, normally resident some distance from Warwick make the Pre-sessional Course an obvious candidate for e-delivery. We have considered doing so previously, but while the teaching of the key skills of reading and writing are relatively easily done electronically, we have felt that teaching listening and speaking electronically was less easily done. Now, with the Ease CD-ROM on lectures that was produced some time ago and the upcoming CDs on seminar skills, we are better placed to undertake comprehensive English for Academic Purposes teaching remotely and electronically.  I consider it a high priority that we undertake developmental activities in this area. The Warwick E-Learning Award, it seems to me, would be an ideal vehicle for getting this project moving forward.

Anupama Mohan    WBS

I co-direct and teach on various programmes in the Warwick Business School. I have involved in designing courses and materials, and presenting research as part of on-going training and dissemination. Many of the approaches have been web-based. I propose to apply the learning from WELA in relation to designing and delivering aspects of the CCU-WBS PGA for executive development on social reporting, auditing, verification and assurance. The course is taught jointly by myself and Professor Alyson Warhurst as part of the Warwick Business School Executive Development Programme. The course is scheduled to run with up to 45 participants through 2004 and will involve in making use web-based pre-workshop material, a residential workshop and post-workshop training.

Specifically, the intended project will focus on:

  1. the design of the web-based materials, pre-residential workshop interaction, and the planned 5 months longer online interaction by appropriate integration of ICT; as well as refine our strategy for the course.
  2. improving the web-based learning and interaction on-course through the conduct of the programme from April to December 2004.
  3. obtaining face-to-face feedback from the participants and apply other criteria and means for evaluating the impact of the intervention; possibly also comparing the results with similar programmes that we have run previously.
  4. using the learning and evaluation results in the design of future programmes.

Daria Mizza – Department of Italian

The project aims to enhance teaching and learning by making use of the enormous potential of technology for interactivity and engagement. Appropriate online learning activities will be designed and developed to support two classroom-based courses in the Language Centre.

  1. Foreign language writing skills development in students of Italian as a foreign language at the University of Warwick. The project could also be extended to French and German languages.
  2. Additional, reinforcing working material for History of Art students studying Italian as a foreign language.

In every language-learning programme, writing skill is an important area for improvement. However, it remains a neglected area of teaching for several reasons. Students` feedback has clearly demonstrated the urgent need for additional material to work on, in order to improve writing skill, particularly useful in a professional context.

History of Art students are required to spend an academic year in Italy (University of Venice), as part of their degree programme. Given their non-linguistic background and the concrete difficulties they generally face in learning a foreign language, an online additional material could be extremely precious to speed-up and boost their learning process, alongside their weekly face-to-face lessons.

bullet  Teaching Development Fund Project Summaries

Four awards totalling £14572 were made in the first two bidding rounds of the 2003-2004 acadmiec year.  A total of 8 applicants were received.   Brief summaries of the awards are given below.  More details can be found on the TDF website

Developing Language Learning Skills and Strategies in Different Student Populations

  • Contact: Dr Bob Powell
  • Award: £3010

This project sets out to improve the teaching and learning of foreign language learning skills and strategies.  Through the introduction of modules leading to the production of portfolios, students will derive benefit from greater understanding of the range of learning skills and strategies available to them as they acquire their foreign language(s). This is applicable to time spent in language classes and to independent or group learning activities outside class in pursuance of specific requirements of the modules they are following or through self-directed, supplementary learning. Language teaching staff across the language departments and in the Language Centre will be involved by assisting in the creation of the modules for the different groups of learners and by the provision of guidelines for the introduction of strategy development programmes within the teaching schedules.

Enhancing understanding of the barriers and facilitators to e-learning development: An evaluation of the Warwick Diabetes Care (WDC) Certificate in Diabetes Care (CIDC).

  • Contact: Dr Andrea Docherty - LWMS
  • Award: £3562 

The project consists of an evaluation, incorporating staff interview, student questionnaire and document review, of the current and future direction of WDC, CIDC e-Learning strategy.  Three examples have been selected from the Warwick e-Learning strategy as the focus of this evaluation. The evaluation aims to identify the key barriers and facilitators to e-Learning by developing a greater understanding of staff and course perspective, student experience and the confidence and competence of these groups in the utilisation of e-developments. In addition to directly feeding back to CIDC, this understanding will subsequently form the basis of a generic template (comprising model and recommendations) for use by other courses interested in enhancing this component of their educational provision.

A Suite of E-Lectures for Flexible Postgraduate Initial Teacher Training

  • Contact: Dr Val Brooks - Inst. Ed.
  • Award: £5000

Flexible Postgraduate Initial Teacher Training (FITT) is a teacher training course which uses paper-based distance learning materials in lieu of a taught course. FITT students complete extra reading and written work to compensate for the absence of a taught programme of lectures and seminars. The purpose of this project is to take five lectures which are delivered live on the PGCE programme and produce electronic versions suitable for use by FITT students. FITT already has one e-lecture recorded in 2002 when the University was developing its capacity to produce e-lectures. Student feedback on this initiative has been extremely positive and has inspired us to want to extend this aspect of our provision.

Development of Web-based teaching for basic Chemistry

  • Contact: Dr Ken Flint
  • Award: £3000

Currently Biological Sciences uses an A2-level Chemistry teacher to teach Chemistry to the home and overseas students admitted each year who do not have A2-level Chemistry. This development would allow these students to learn the relevant Chemistry needed to support Biological Sciences teaching at a more realistic pace. We propose to develop, using SiteBuilder, an interactive Chemistry module based around the Chemistry that is currently taught, initially to help with and support the learning process but ultimately to replace traditional lectures with formative assessment and conditional release of the material. We would also consider making assessment on-line (at present it is by an assignment and an unseen test).

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