b) Understanding and engaging with policies and standards
For a number of years UCL has had a baseline for courses created in Moodle. With the event of the Covid pandemic and the shift to online teaching required for the 2020/21 academic year, this was revised and re-branded as the Connected Learning Baseline.
The baseline sets out the minimum expectations for connected learning for all taught programmes and modules at UCL, with a focus on Moodle. How this impacts on my own work is in the design and creation of support materials that I create in Moodle. It is also the basis on which I provide feedback to colleagues on the structure and presentation of their Moodle courses.
The Moodle course that I created Moodle: Beyond Acquisition and Assessment was created using the Connected Learning baseline template. Inline with the baseline guidance, the course content is structured using collapsed topics and have made use of subheadings to structure content within course sections.
In addition, any of the links that are included are descriptive and videos have captions. From the Blackboard Ally report you can see that there are some minor improvements required.
As the purpose of the Moodle: Beyond Acquisition and Assessment course is to showcase different approaches to pedagogic aims within Moodle, it doesn’t have a chronology unlike modules of study. Therefore, the course sections and activities are not numbered in accordance with the guidance.
When providing feedback to colleagues on Moodle courses for taught modules, my focus is on the narrative of the course and it’s structure and navigation. This course has proved helpful in discussions with colleagues about their Moodle courses, demonstrating what is possible and how different courses can be constructed using the Connected Learning Baseline template. One of the things that I have learnt since becoming a FLTL is not assume that colleagues know about things such as the Baseline. Students regularly complain that they get too many communications from different channels and key pieces of information get lost in the noise. It would it appear that the same is also true for many staff. I know that a lot of comms went out about the Baseline but these seem to have been missed. I also think the practice of automatically duplicating existing courses for teaching the following academic year has meant that colleagues haven’t reviewed the structure of their courses. There are some colleagues I spoke to after the presentation of Moodle courses was raised in a Student-Staff Consultative Committee meeting, students raised concerns about inconsistencies in and across the courses. It was a productive conversation and new baseline template based courses will be created this summer.
The knowledge developed whilst completing the Multimedia and Communication module of PGDip ICT in Education and my experiences of completing my MSc fully remotely predominantly via VLE have contributed to both my personal approach to online learning design and course creation.
As Moodle was the primary delivery method for 2020-21 and will be playing a key role in the Blended by Design approach being undertaken for 2021-22 the Connected Learning Baseline is a key resource. It is guidance that I have flagged to colleagues via the Bartlett Online Teaching Resource Hub, but also in emails and other communications.
In the last 12 months there has been a change to my approach in presenting learning materials within Moodle. Previously I have made use of labels for providing text content and had these appear as large blocks within sections. I now make much more use of other resources within Moodle such as Page and Book. Both of which enable you add a variety of other content as well text and images. By making this shift, it has made the support materials I create visually easier to navigate and made the content easier to engage with. I know encourage colleagues to move away from large blocks of text and make use of Page or H5P layout tools such as the Accordian.
Additionally, to support the Connected Learning Baseline and the Connected Learning approach adopted, I have produced guidance on undertaking group work in Moodle and when and how to make use of Moodle reports in the form of blog posts on the DigiEd team blog.