Teaching Matters 2017 | Presentation Details | 28 NovemberNov 2017
From Flatpack to Bookcase: development of an online resource for students and staff
Christine Angel, University College
Cherie Hawkins, University College
Melissa Finnen, University College
Rob Lewis, University College
Making a Difference for Students
Stanley Burbury Lecture Theatre
Each teaching package in the new University College associate degree program, which commenced in February 2017, incorporates paired subjects: discipline knowledge and practical application (known as Practice and Portfolio, or P&P). Digital modules, developed by P&P academic staff, form part of the teaching and learning material and are available for students through each subject’s MyLO site. P&P development staff recognised that ongoing access was becoming problematic. The increasing number of modules meant teaching staff were finding it more difficult to know what was available. Students were not able to access modules after MyLO closed sites at the end of each term, which is particularly relevant for students who commenced after term 1 and did not have access to foundational modules.
P&P staff established a permanent MyLO site, in which all modules and other material are stored as they are developed. This site, known as the Practice and Portfolio Toolbox, is open to College staff, and to students while studying with the College. The need for identification of available material engendered the concept of a ‘bookcase’, with each section designated as a ‘shelf’. Each shelf has a specific topic into which relevant materials (‘books’) are placed. For example, the ‘Work Health and Safety’ shelf includes a module on work health and safety, links to UTAS’s policies, and safety checklists.
Students now have ongoing access to material. Those who came into the program in later terms can access foundational modules, in particular assistance with setting up an online blog (‘ePortfolio’) for uploading P&P assessments and reflections. Students who commenced in term 4 have utilised the bookcase for access to foundational modules. Teaching staff have accessed the material for use and are identifying where material they need already exists, obviating duplication, or where there are gaps that they can fill, or request the P&P team to fill.
The concept of a bookcase has potential for wide application – within the College, in UTAS generally and in the wider community – because it is available to both students and staff. While the university’s online repository for learning materials (Sharing Learning Resources Project) is a valuable resource for utilisation in development of P&P modules, it is not available to students. As part of a practice-based pedagogy, the concept fits the UTAS’s Open Educational Practices policy to assist in empowering learners on their lifelong learning path. As online learning sites change to serve more people in more complex ways, a bookcase is a logical repository for material as it evolves to meet changing learning and workplace environments. In the College context, as more courses become available, the potential for cross-over material (such as for work health and safety) will increase. Access to a site that is adaptable and up to date, with learning material always available, will be a valuable resource for students and staff.