The Learning Innovation Unit has pulled together some tips based on recent experience (2017) of supporting the delivery of postgraduate distance learning programmes in the Faculty and in response to student feedback from these programmes. These practices could also be used on our campus-based and blended learning programmes to enhance the experience of all our students.
- To facilitate the creation of a cohort identity, provide an interactive online programme induction to give students a chance to get to know each other and to become familiar with the various technologies (this will depend on what you are using on your programme).
- Provide students with access to a discussion board and webinar room for peer support and social interaction.
Access to course materials and support
- Students appreciate a consistent structure across their modules with clear information (to avoid wasting time trying to locate resources). For this reason, we have the FET Blackboard Module Template and all module leaders are expected to use it.
- Make good use of your programme sites on Blackboard to provide programme-wide information − see Guiding principles for the Blackboard Programme sites (e.g. consider an online reading list for the programme, set up a Student Representation section, make use of Announcements to keep students up to date with changes and job opportunities).
- Ensure that modules have online reading lists and try to ensure that you use the online versions of books and journals for easy access.
- Consider setting up a Frequently Asked Questions area on your programme or module site to deal with the most common questions that students ask.
Students appreciate interactive webinars, so consider using these functions within Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, e.g. drawing on the whiteboard, polling, chat, and sharing applications.
Bespoke learning materials
In addition to creating short recordings, using Kaltura or Panopto (such as a video software tutorial or an introduction to a programme/module/concept), consider creating some written study material including self-assessment questions, examples and case studies, using, for example, Xerte or PebblePad.