Monday, April 10, 2017

Simplifying a course web page

Pictographs by
Carlos Sarmento

from the Noun Project
(CC BY 3.0 US).
As part of my Four Steps to Digital Teaching here is a real example of simplifying a course web page. This shows the page for my ICT Sustainability course as it was when first offered at ANU in 2009 and the latest version in 2016.

Between 2009 and 2016 I removed the paragraphs of text, as the emphasis should be on what the student needs to do. The details of why and how are now in subsidiary documents.

The Terminology List, Course Outline, and Background have been consolidated into an eBook of course notes. There is a chapter in the eBook for each week, which includes the "Read me first" and "Work Notes".

The list of major assessment items had been added to the top of the page.  A reminder is timed to appear a week before the assignment is due and again the week due. The links point to where the assignment is submitted, which is also where information about how to complete the assignment is provided. This avoid confusion when students get multiple and contradiction sets of instructions about assignments. However, having the full title of each assignment makes for a lot of text and I am shorten this in the next version.

The "Discussion Questions" are now listed at the end of the chapter of course notes for the week. Each question is also posted to the "weekly forum" as a thread for the student to reply to. This way the student is prompted by the system to enter their answer.

The "Friday Message" to students is now posted to the weekly forum. This provides feedback on how the students are doing overall, which research suggests the students appreciate.

A weekly automated "quiz" has been added. The quiz and discussion forums have time limits. The student has a week to contribute and receive a mark. A tick box indicates they have completed each of these tasks (as well as the major assignments).

A timed "reminder" appears for the last day to drop course without penalty. At this point students have several weeks of assessment results and so very few students fail the course. The completion rate for the course is similar to conventional courses, but rather than fail, students withdraw while they can.

2009 Version

ICT Sustainability

Green ICT Strategies is an online course about how to use computers and telecommunications in a way which maximises positive environmental benefit, with minimum energy and materials use.
  • News forum
  • Chatroom
  • Terminology List
  • Course Outline
  • Backgound to development of the course
  • 18 January - 24 January

    Week 1: Introduction to Green ICT Strategies

    Understand environmental, social and business context for sustainability, and overview of background, boundaries.
    • Read me first - Week 1
    • Work Notes - Week 1
    • Workload
    • Assessment
    • Seminar - Week 1
    • Discussion Questions - Week 1
    • Friday Message

    22 February - 28 February

    Week 6: Methods and tools

    Ensure that appropriate methods and tools for the planning, development, operation, management and maintenance of systems are adopted and used effectively throughout the organisation.
    • Read me first - Week 6
    • Work notes - week 6
    • Seminar - Week 6
    • Discussion Questions - Week 6

2016 Version

ICT Sustainability

  • News
  • Chatroom
  • Contact Your Tutor
  • Course Notes: ICT Sustainability: Assessment and Strategies for a Low Carbon Future
  • Assignment 1a due week 4: Describe an organization and how you will study its ICT sustainability ☑
  • Assignment 1b due week 6: Estimate the Carbon Footprint ☑
  • Assignment 2a due week 10: Approach to Reducing Carbon Footprint ☑
  • Assignment 2b due week 12: Reduce the Carbon Footprint ☑
  • Tasks Every Week: Read, Answer and Discuss
  • Sample Quiz

22 February - 28 February

Week 1: Politics, Science and Business of Sustainability

  • Week 1 Discussion
  • Week 1 Quiz

Week 6: Methods and Tools

  • Week 6 Discussion Forum
  • Reminder: Assignment 1b due this week.
  • Reminder: Last day to drop course without financial/academic penalty is 31 March 2016.
  • Week 6 Quiz

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