Common pitfalls for staff using Learning Space

Common pitfalls for staff using Learning Space

Lecturers are expected to create content on VLEs such as moodle, sometimes with no training in technicalities or design (be it graphic or instructional). Below are some pitfalls noted while dealing with helpdesk queries relating to Falmouth University’s VLE, Learning Space.

  1. Poor “Chunking”
    Each module has its own page split into weekly sections. Within a section, you need to balance the number of clicks a student makes against the amount of scrolling they have to do.
    The use of Folders or Pages or downloadable documents can greatly reduce the need to scroll and allow the student to grasp an overview more easily. However, it is all about balance: don’t ask students to download multiple documents that each only contain a paragraph of text.
    Chunking is worth planning from the start as it is time-consuming to put right once content has been created.
  2. Superfluous images
    Use of icon-style images can be appealing and helpful when done professionally. However, over-use of large images that aim to function like icons can create clutter and confusion. If you are not “graphic design aware” then keep things simple and avoid.
  3. Large images
    Whether an image serves a serious purpose or is merely “eye candy”, it needs to be kept to an optimal filesize. This is an issue most lecturers are unaware of and have no training in, resulting in some module pages that require students to download 100 (yes, sometimes 100) times more data than is necessary. Staff need to know how to resize and compress an image BEFORE they upload uploading and embed it.
  4. Poor text formatting
    This may result from cutting and pasting from either a webpage or a Word document, or may be overzealous formatting, with copious amounts of bold, underlining and colouring. To avoid carrying unwanted formatting into Learning Space, paste plain text into the editor (on a mac, Cmd+Shift+z) rather than a simple paste (Cmd+z). Thereafter, exercise restraint when tempted to add formatting.
  5. Inconsistency
    Presenting the same thing in the same way is difficult to achieve in a UK HE setting where module leads may be left to “get on with it” with little guidance. If you can’t be consistent with your colleagues, then do strive to be consistent within your module and “chunk” in the same way each week.

You’ll have noticed that the above all relate to basic content presentation and not to choice and use of activity tools. That is for another time!

Collaboration via Learning Space

Collaboration via Learning Space

In this article, Digital Learning takes a look at a shared space within the Learning Space built for the School of Film and TV.

Collaborative learning will not be unfamiliar to our students, indeed it’s built into the curriculum in ways students will recognise such as group work and projects. These collaborative opportunities will be common to arts subjects and are especially relevant for those studying Film and Television where working inter and intra-disciplinary is vital. (more…)

Keeping Connected – Developing distributed team working practices

Keeping Connected – Developing distributed team working practices

As a relatively new arrival to the team (3 months in) I felt it might be good for me to share and briefly discuss this article capturing the excellent work that has gone on at Falmouth developing an excellent environment for online working. Having had mixed experiences in the past with working remotely and the support I received, this was an important consideration to me joining this team at Falmouth and how it would impact requirement of my role in coordinate the work of the Learning Technologists team.

Amy Sampson, as leader of our department has worked hard over the last few years putting together a number of “ways of working” which have been adopted and are now our norm. Our department has been growing rapidly with some of us working fully remotely and this work has been key to our success so far and will be more so going forward.

I am a passionate believer in the importance of staff being supported and empowered in order to be happy in their work and productive too and I have found since working in Falmouth that this work has helped significantly in achieving this working predominantly online within a growing department.

Read more about Amys’ work here in this JISC case study: https://digitalculture.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2022/03/09/keeping-connected-developing-distributed-team-working-practices/

MURAL: Digital Learning’s top tips for facilitation

MURAL: Digital Learning’s top tips for facilitation

As we reflect on a successful roll out of MURAL across all 9 departments, we continue our series of posts with our practical top-tips for facilitation.

1. Start simple

MURAL has brilliant functions for slick facilitation and media-rich contributions from students and staff, but we recommend you start simple and ease your students (and yourself) into using a new tool.

By starting simple you’ll remove barriers to engagement and ensure learning and progression can be accessed by all.

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5 Things We Learned From Meeting MURAL

5 Things We Learned From Meeting MURAL

A few weeks ago we invited all of our colleagues at Falmouth University to an event presented by the team behind MURAL. For those not in the know, MURAL is a digital tool that enables collaboration online between staff and students. It allows users to easily share ideas, images and designs for brainstorming and teaching purposes!

When our account manager from MURAL, Sasha, offered to run a session with Falmouth it was too good of an opportunity to turn down! In this post we want to share five things we learned from the session which may also help take your facilitation to the next level!

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What does a Learning Designer actually do?

What does a Learning Designer actually do?

The Learning Designer is a relatively new role at Falmouth and is often referred to as an academic developer’ in our community. Our responsibilities mostly involve being the voice of the intended person a learning activity is being delivered to. Through our experiences and research, we advocate for good practice, proven pedagogical practices, and the learner’s motivations. 

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Additional Learning & Teaching Applications Now Available to Staff!

Additional Learning & Teaching Applications Now Available to Staff!

Overview

We’re now 8 weeks into the study block, and from all of us here at the Digital Learning team, we hope that the year has got off to a great start for all of our colleagues. This is just a quick blog post to remind you that we have some excellent additional learning & teaching applications available for you to use in your teaching. These tools are MURAL and ThingLink, and both offer an extra level of interactivity to further enhance engagement between staff and students.

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