Template for AS level Environmental Science online week overviews

Alistair McNaught
19th March 2020

The resource is a suggested template for use by staff when delivering courses online in the Earth Sciences department. The problems I'm trying to solve include: too many of our online resources are simply text documents which students passively consume. They presuppose students have skills with decoding long texts and identifying the key points. Most of the resources on the VLE are also very passive and would count as level 1 of Bloom' taxonomy - knowledge. I wanted to create a template that would provide more engaging resources for learners and help staff by having an accessible template design they could copy.

Targeted Audience

This resource has two audiences - first the AS Environmental Science students - the learners who will be downloading this resource from the VLE but there is a second audience - colleagues in the department. I want to show colleagues how to create online resources that have high inclusion value from both a pedagogical and technical accessibility perspective.

Resource effectiveness in solving the identified problem

I found the resource significantly helped me in creating the weekly overviews by giving a strong pedagogically sound template that had inclusive practice 'baked in'. The main pedagogical benefits were: 1) a weekly glossary of key words and concepts helped me be clearer on the teaching focus 2) clickable image thumbnails meant students who read slowly could focus on the information summarised in the enlarged images instead. The combination of text and bullet points also helped reinforce ideas. Some of the images were simplified versions, allowing differentiation. 3) Requiring the student to suggest an exam question made them engage with the content at a higher level - they needed to analyse and rework the information.

Use, impact and benefits seen from learners

Yes - the learners responded well. Several mentioned that it took them less time to understand the content than it did on other courses where they were not always clear what the main points were or how to use them. We don't have specific learners with a declared disability in this cohort but the fact that accessibility considerations has already benefitted non-disabled students points to the value of making all content as accessible as possible from the start.

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About This Resource

Level 3

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