FSE Best in eLearning 2016-17 Commended Finalist: CHEN30071&30081&60271


The annual FSE Best in eLearning competition is designed to highlight resources that stand out as examples of good practice which have positively engaged students, and to reflect the wide range of innovative learning design that exists across the Faculty. This year students made over 500 nominations for 245 course units.

The FSE eLearning team is pleased to announce the following course unit was one of three to receive a commendation.

Commended Finalist

  • CHEN30071&30081&60271 Advanced Engineering Separations : Tom Rodgers (School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science)

Comments from students:

“Original software for the ternary diagram was really impressive and [the Tutor] made video tutorials on how students can solve the problem sheets.”

“The practice quizzes helped me understand the format and also see where I needed to do more work before the actual test. The tests themselves were very fair, with feedback given promptly.”

“When you are not understanding a particular concept the discussion board was very useful as it allowed students to communicate with colleagues and the tutor to receive help with misunderstandings, in a very flexible manner.”

Comments from the course tutors:

What was the most successful aspect of eLearning elements in your course unit?

“I think the most successful aspect of the eLearning elements was the web-app created for students to practice liquid-liquid extraction (http://chem.co.nf/LLE/lle.html). This app consisted of three sections, drawing liquid-liquid equilibrium, calculating a single stage extraction process, and calculating a multi-stage extraction process. This web-app allows student to draw on ternary diagrams and then the plot they have created is checked and compared to the correct answer. If the students are struggling with the question, they can click the hint button to be provided with a hint.

This app was provided from the start of the course and used during the liquid-liquid extraction part of the course, and then reused during exam revision. There were over 2400 uses of the app from the students which is very good as this was supplied as a totally optional activity. This app was designed and created with help from a colleague at the University of Sheffield, Dr Tamas Bánsági.”

What was the rationale behind your main eLearning features?

“I realised that the part of the course that students really need is the tutorials/problem solving sessions, as this course is followed by the main design project (worth 60 credits of their 3rd year). This meant that I needed to reduce to amount of time spent lecturing. The eLearning features were then developed around this, which also allowed good support of the ~50 people who take the course via distance learning.

The main replacement feature was a mixture of different types of video for the students. These were the full lectures, key concept videos, and solutions to some of the tutorial questions, which were embedded into Blackboard. The previous year’s lectures plus some revision material were also available via my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/AdvancedEngineeringSeparations). During the course there were over 14,000 views of this material. The video material was complimented by a set of formative quizzes, which allowed students to practice the material throughout the course and prepare for the courseworks. They could also use the liquid-liquid extraction web-app for practice.

One of the main things that the students commented on was, and found useful, was the organisation of the material on Blackboard, where material was sorted by week, with a summary of the aims of that week provided. Each chapter of course material, based on the course handbook, had an associated discussion board to allow students to find the relevant discussions easily. Although this was not used in large amounts during weeks 1 to 12, it was used during the revision period over the winter holidays.

This year I also ran a hybrid exam where students had a computer and paper exam. This allowed the breath of the course to be covered by easily marked online questions; mixture of numerical, multiple answer, and hotspot questions (50% of the exam); while the depth could be covered using the paper part of the exam, but they had a computer to help solve the questions which meant they could be similar to the course, rather than restricted to problems only solvable with a calculator.”

2016-17 Winner

2016-17 Commended Finalists (in alphabetical order)

We’d like to thank the students who nominated their course units and provided valuable feedback as well as the nominated course tutors who have recognised and responded to the needs of the learner, developing resources that add real value to their course teaching.

If you would like to review the eLearning resources on your course unit or programme please contact us via elearning@manchester.ac.uk


About Sharon Gardner