FSE Best in eLearning 2016-17 Commended Finalist: EART10111

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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

  • EART10111 Planet Earth: Its Climate, History and Processes : David Schultz, Jonathan Fairman (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences)

Comments from students:

“Build Your Own Earth was a very interactive resource. It was useful when studying a large number of different things relating to the course (e.g. climate, atmospheric models, etc.) and as a result was one of the most useful resources I used during the course of the module.”

“Kahoot was the best part of the lectures and consolidated learning. The Build Your Own Earth simulation also was a self-taught programme thus helping independence.”

“Videos, etc. went into more detail than in the lecture, therefore improving understanding.”

Comments from the course tutors:

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

“There were three big improvements in the course from last year.

The first was a radical restructuring and redesign of the homework associated with Build Your Own Earth. Previously, the homework had too many multiple-choice questions that just asked the students to look at the plots and report answers. This year, we redesigned the assignment almost entirely from scratch, favoring an approach with learning embedded into the assignment, eliminating almost all multiple-choice questions and replacing them with questions testing higher-level thinking skills and library work, and adding content of more relevance to their learning in future years.

The second big improvement was giving short kahoot quizzes at the end of every lecture. Kahoot (https://kahoot.it/) is an online webpage/app that students can access and answer multiple-choice questions interactively. The student would get points for answering correctly and quickly. I would ask four questions at the end of each lecture. The student with the best score would win a prize. This kept the students engaged during the lecture, and the quizzes gave them free and fun formative feedback.

The third was restructuring the Blackboard page to provide an introduction to me and the purpose of the course.”

What was the rationale behind your main eLearning features?

“Climate models are one of the primary tools to understand past, present, and future climates. Media stories describe the results from climate models, but undergraduate students have little experience or understanding of these models, how they work, and what their output looks like. One of the principal arguments against believing future climate projections is that these models are imperfect or are no better than weather forecasts. Because such projections rely exclusively on climate modeling, understanding is essential for an educated citizenry. Thus, giving students first-hand access to climate model output and showing them the strengths and weaknesses of these models should help them understand and appreciate these models, and how we understand the future effects of climate change.”

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

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About Sharon Gardner