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Damien Drohan's design narrative

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Damien Drohan
30 March 2015

Title Video Tutorials: Condensing Words


I am a learning technologist, showing students how to interact with our online courses.



I was trying to show students how to use a particular piece of software in the clearest and easiest way possible. The students were using our VLE to submit an assignment. Many were students with poor technical skills and were out of education a long time. Submitting an assignment is a high stakes activity and I wanted to keep it as clear as possibble.


Teach students how to submit a written assignment via Turnitin and be able to check if it submitted correctly, and also view feedback from lecturers.


I decided on a 2 tiered approach. I would first hold a class tutorial, covering the system with the students, Then I would have them work through an example themselves. 

Following the class, I would have backup instructions in the form of a video and written instructions with screenshots.

This system was then implemented. The effect of the lesson was overall positive, with some students making some unexpected errors which I had to correct in class. I then had to amend the other instructions to account for these errors and point out how to avoid them. 


I reflected that it took quite a lot of time to come up with this lesson, but that it was worth it as it cleared up any ambiguity on something that causes students a lot of stress. I plan to implement this system for any other technical instructions that I give to studets.

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added by Damien Drohan


David Appel
8:32pm 31 March 2015

Hi Damien,
this is a very clear narrative of your course design. I think I have a quite good idea of the situation, your role, the approach you took and the issues you encountered and I could imagine turning back to this cloud with a similar task at hand, which is, as I understand, one of the goals of such a design narrative. It might be interesting to know if you initially had considered alternative solutions and - if yes - what reasons had been for you to go for this one.


eva parisinou
10:22am 1 April 2015


It seems like you have a good blend of a face-to-face/personal approach to help your studens solve this issue, and at the same time offering them the opportunity to try the system out for themselves on a technical level. I found myself in a similar position as a student and as a tutor 'fighting' with systems to get them to work, and I can tell you, most times I wouldn't have managed to cope without a good old-fashioned personal approach by talking on the phone to a specialist or by attending a tutorial where a specialist is shown and speaking to the viewer rather than have everything explained through hyerlinks and technical only devices. Giving technology teaching a personal flavour is important for me, and you seem to be acknowledging this in your design.

Catherine Lee
11:21am 1 April 2015

Hi Damien

I thoroughly agree with Eva about the importance of using low-tech (face to face encouragement, opportunity to have errors put right in a face to face environment) approaches to developing technical skills, especially when working with students who need extra support in this area. What I find positive about this design is the back-up video and screen shots. This enables students to reinforce their learning and understanding at their own pace. It also transfers the learning site into an on-line environment, which is appropriate for the learning task.

I wondered whether you had considered errors that you were not aware of - whether all students had successfully been ablr to upload their assignments at the first time of trying, for example?


Damien Drohan
11:27am 1 April 2015

Hi Catherine,

I could see the success rate in real time for assignment uploads, and had allowed time during the face to face session to help anyone who was having problems. I also had a practice activity set for the students to complete at home to give them a further chance to upload before the high stakes assignments. 

Despite all this, some students did have problems. My  motto is that 'If theres a way to do it wrong, students will find it'. You can streamline a process as much as possible, but theres no accounting for human nature.


peter arnold
1:43pm 6 April 2015

Face to face with computers in front of them seems the best way for learners to 'have a go', it also gives them a chance to ask you questions. getting a range of questions from all students would give you a good idea of what areas were causing problems. i like the idea of giving screenshot printouts as it gives students a chance to review the system in their own time with or without a computer present.

i think the most frustrating thing about teaching is when you think you have been VERY clear and coverered every angle. if you could find out the reason why, we would all be buying your books.

i cant think of any things you could have done better besides one to one tutoring.


Damien Drohan
10:18am 7 April 2015

Thanks Peter,

I think the answer may be something to to do with chaos theory. You can't account for every variable.


Catherine Lee
1:44pm 8 April 2015

theres no accounting for human nature

Indeed! :-)

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