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Student-Centred Learning: providing structure and a weekly journey

Design for Delivery
Special Series - Reflections from lockdown

This example describes an approach used in two compulsory undergraduate modules – one with second years and one for finalists – with reflections on the positive benefits for students and impact on teaching practices.

The online education approach adopted

This approach provided a clear structure tied together with a weekly learning journey/narrative and sequential appearance of items within a weekly set of materials in learning modules on Minerva.  This included asynchronous lecture videos (up to 15 mins each), links to readings, slides and full typed transcripts.  In addition, the material includes some third-party videos and podcasts, also transcripted in full by me.  Synchronous fortnightly seminars in groups up to 30 students in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra involving limited plenary and use of breakout groups for discussion.  For assessment, online open-book timed exams were used for Professional and Statutory or Regulatory Body accredited provision (PSRB) and coursework where not PSRB.

The positive impact on students’ educational experience

Assessment performance was in line with normal expectation and there were some outstanding performances from first class honours students. Student feedback was very positive, especially given the circumstances in March/April:

 The lecturer was very enthusiastic and always happy to answer questions in and after classes. The online classes were also well-prepared and of high quality.

The transfer to on-line learning has been rather smooth for this module. The mix of live and pre-recorded material/sessions seems to have worked well.

Online learning was great as lectures were pre-recorded meaning they were concise but the information was clear.

The impact on my teaching practice

This was a practice I was moving to anyway as I have taught flipped modules and co-led a University of Leeds Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on this topic. I used a lot of the learning from those experiences for the last few years to make the rapid transition to online in March/April 2020 in a structured way, creating a clear weekly framework for students’ study on each module.  I have evolved and refined this approach for 2020/21. I have contributed the learning journeys to the ‘Adapt your teaching for online delivery’ course, I have been an active member of TIPS Community sharing practices and learning from others, and I’m an active member of the Online Teaching team.

By Alice Shepherd, Leeds University Business School