Quest to achieve the optimum

Cloud created by:

aykut ozkaya
25 March 2013

Narrator

Aykut Ozkaya: ICT Lecturer-Teaching Introduction to Computing to Level 4 Students

Situation

The development of an interactive website to assist training in Introduction to Computing module level 4. The computer lab has 50 desktop computer with virtual citrix desktop running on each one. The students are able to login to individual workstations. However, lecturer is not able to demonstrate the tasks to the class due to the classroom’s projector not  being mounted onto the wall nor having access to any of the workstations. The solution must address and solve  the following problems:

  • Student not able to login to the VLE due to not having a correct password,

  • Student not able to login to the VLE due to not having a user profile,

  • Lecturer not able to login to the VLE due to being inside a private network but trying to access the resources from a private laptop,

  • Lecturer can login to the VLA but not able update effectively due to limitations with the virtual desktop environment

Task

Develop an interactive web based training program to help solve the problems associated  with not having a large classroom display projector. The web site must address and remedy the issues raised above by achiving the following desirables:

  • must be viewable from every student desktop

  • content must be  engaging

  • must allow the students to communicate to one another

  • must filter out spam

  • must not allow students to communicate inappropriately

  • must support students beyond the classroom

Actions

The problems were addressed by investigating into webhosts and finding a suitable one to host the new website. Then developing content to suitable to the student background and course content. The website designed and made available to anyone so that no password required in order to encourage inclusion. The use of pictures, video demonstrations and short youtube links integrated into the site to capture active interest of the students and bridge the gap between the lecturers verbal instructions  and student practice. Student blog capabilities are explored with the automatic spam and anti-social behaviour settings as well as tutor monitoring each entry help to promote a safer environment.

Results

The website had around 1000 visitors each week last month. Students are communicating through the blogs and the video help files being created. Some of the students comments about the new website are as follows:

  • “The way the website is set up is very good and easy to use which is beneficial to our lessons.”Dorian

  • “the video clips are useful” Rajmur

  • “I really like the class sessions and I have managed to learn a lot and especially with the videos it is a very simple way to learn and one that will hopefully stay with me” Jon

The visitor  numbers have dropped in the last 2 weeks due to the approaching easter break and students having other module deadline. Currently It stands at around 200 unique visits per week.

Reflections

I think the website is working as it should; but it is not possible to measure the outcomes accurately yet, as it only has been running just over a month. The next steps from this point onwards involves the following:

  • measure exactly how much value the interactive website has added to students attainment levels as a measurable outcome to student final mark

  • measure the quantative change in student behaviour towards better use of technology
  • measure the use of module specific knowledge in wider student life after the course such as using relational databases in their professional life
  • find ways to encourage more student engagement by getting them to video their work and share

Extra content

Embedded Content

Contribute

Avril sweeney
3:56pm 2 April 2013


Hi Aykut , will the site need to be maintained on a regular basis by tutors? Also, i guess it was time consuming to investigate webhosts and develop the content? I like the idea of no password required so it made it easy for students to log on and engage?  We use generic passwords for induction but the generic passwords are maintained by us. I like your idea of ' . The use of pictures, video demonstrations and short youtube links integrated into the site to capture active interest of the students and bridge the gap between the lecturers verbal instructions  and student practice. Student blog capabilities are explored with the automatic spam and anti-social behaviour settings as well as tutor monitoring each entry help to promote a safer environment'

Dave Martin
10:48am 3 April 2013


Thanks for the link Aykut, I don't know how I missed your design narrative.

I was particularly interested by your measures of success - views are a useful albeit limited indicator but your three possible measures of longer term impact will be very difficult to achieve, especially the second and third ones. As to the impact on student attainment levels you will need to take account of other factors.

That said it strikes me that an important success criteria will be the response of lecturers as you seemed to have resolved a teaching problem.

aykut ozkaya
1:39pm 3 April 2013


Hi Dave

Thanks for your feedback. I think the points about measuring success are absolutely spot on.  Positive student feedback is nice to hear but can be misleading. Also trying to measure student attainment in this case might be very difficult due other mitigating factors. However it is absolutely critical to have some kind of review at the end of a teaching term in order to make things better. I have just put some ideas down but not quite sure how to implement the further steps. I believe a well designed questionnaire might give me some insight to achievements, the progress and the value this tool is adding to the standard of teaching.  

As for solving a problem yes I think so far the approach is successful. I have had an e-mail from my principle about how engaging the site is and possibly an indication that the wider university community might follow a similar approach to their teaching.

 

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