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Hypermedia pedagogy in a history course
Making resources easily accessible can encourage students to return to them for increasingly deep reading – provided that their tasks reward this.
Critical use of sources by professionals usually involves repeated reading and consideration of many possible meanings. Courses which aim to develop this skill should therefore not be assume that students will make only one reading, but rather encourage them to return to sources in different contexts.
This course on Western Civilisation seeks to teach historical skills and understanding through study of discrete topics, rather than systematic knowledge of 350 years of European history. Students given access to hypermedia (eg web-based) resources are found to return to them much more often than those using equivalent printed resources; having the resources “just a click away” makes re-reading easier. However, it’s significant that the assessments are designed so that re-use of resources obviously improves the students’ submission.
[T. Mills Kelly]
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