Introduction to TEL

Day 3: Designing TEL activities

“Technology and digital tools have become ubiquitous, but they can be ineffective or dangerous when they are not integrated into the learning process in meaningful ways….understanding how to use a device or certain software is not enough; faculty, staff and students must be able to make connections between the tools and the intended outcomes, leveraging technology in creative ways that allow them to more intuitively adapt from one context to the other.” (Horizon Report 2017, p. 7)

Over the past two posts, we have looked at the possible ways technology-enhanced learning can impact teaching and learning. In particular, we’ve unpacked TEL myths and assumptions, and argued that thoughtful and well-planned use of technology is key. Now, we will look at precisely that: how to design TEL activities for teaching. We’ll have some practical activities over the next few days that you can use to prepare a lesson or activity with technology – take some notes for each of the activities included in this post and share them in the comments below.

It’s vital to think about what learning outcomes or goals you’d like to achieve before considering any particular tools or platforms.

To get started, let’s have a look at this video from UNSW on considerations for choosing technology which gives an overview of things to consider.

We will aim to apply the strategies from this video into the activities, below.

question markActivity 1: Learning outcomes

Choose a particular activity or lesson from your teaching practice: it could be an assessment, a discussion activity, a group-work activity, a lab activity, or whatever suits, that you would like to apply technology to. If you are not currently teaching, consider an activity that you have done as a student or participant in a face-to-face course or workshop. What are the key learning outcomes for this activity? What will students achieve or learn from doing this activity?

You may want to refer to Bloom’s taxonomy (pictured below) to help you think about this particular activity: do you want students to analyse, apply, evaluate, understand, create something? You can find a range of examples at the link.

Bloom's taxonomy of learning: Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyse, Evaluate, Create

The key element for any effective use of TEL – that it considers the teaching and learning context and pedagogical needs first.

Your pedagogical approach and philosophy

Next, you will need to consider your teaching context. Are you committed to a student-centred approach, with active and authentic learning and assessment, that is flexible and accessible to students in many different life circumstances?  Does your approach emphasize collaborative work in groups and the development of a community of enquiry?  Some examples of tools that support this approach might include wikis, blogs, discussion forum and interactive learning objects such as the Lesson tool in Moodle (Wattle). 

Are you aiming to move your lecture content online for students to access, perhaps with some questions and discussion on the side?  As an example, you would probably think of making videos of your lectures available to students, or you might create short videos or podcasts of talks on your area of expertise, either of yourself sharing your knowledge, or perhaps interviewing other experts.  You might supplement this with quizzes to help students test their knowledge and a discussion forum for general discussion and reflection. 

Your answer to these questions will have a big influence over what technological tools you might use to assist your students to learn.  

A great example of how technology can facilitate effective learning for students comes from the ANU Japanese language program from the College of Asia Pacific. In the video below, course convenor Associate Professor Carol Hayes shares how her students gain practical experience in speaking and listening in Japanese by conversing with peers in Japan, which is facilitated by the use of the web conferencing tool Adobe Connect.

2015_CAP ‘eChat in Language Learning’ from DigitalCAP on Vimeo.

question markActivity 2: What technology might suit?

Now it’s time to select a technology or tool for your own activity. Take a look at the following resources on what technologies might be used for different pedagogical approaches:

Reflecting on your pedagogical approach to course design, which technological tool or platform might you use to support this activity? If you’re not sure, tell us about your activity and invite some ideas from the other participants. 

Technology-Enhanced Learning in Higher Education Certificate

Go here to learn more on getting recognised for your participation in coffee courses.

Further resources

Dabbagh, N., & Kitsantas, A. (2012). Personal Learning Environments, social media, and self-regulated learning: A natural formula for connecting formal and informal learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(1), 3-8. doi:

Lai, K. (2011). Digital technology and the culture of teaching and learning in higher education. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 27(8). doi:

McLoughlin, C. & Lee, M. J. W. (2007). Social software and participatory learning: Pedagogical choices with technology affordances in the Web 2.0 era. In ICT: Providing choices for learners and learning. Proceedings ascilite Singapore 2007.

Shabatura, J. (2013). Using Bloom’s taxonomy to write effective learning objectives. University of Arkansas Teaching Innovation and Pedagogical Support. Accessed 26/4/18. Available:

48 thoughts on “Day 3: Designing TEL activities

  1. Hi There,

    Happy Wednesday!

    Today’s post help frame the headspace for action, perhaps best summarised by the term ‘fit for purpose’. I now have a better understanding of what makes successful online content and engagement, the key to which being that pedagogy comes before technology. The content needs to be the driving force.

    The area I need to focus on now is in learning what technologies are available to me! I have previously selected what I am most comfortable with (what I know) – which is an extremely limited list and not in true service of the pedagogy.

    I would love some feedback on what platforms fellow staff are using!!! Having said this, the ‘selecting technologies’ link above is great, thanks!

    Many thanks,


    1. Samantha, my approach to platforms is to use whatever Learning Management System (LMS) the institution has, plus some more exciting tools. The idea is to do all the boring bits (course outline, assessment details and routine announcements) in the LMS, then send students off somewhere more exciting to do the real learning. The students then return to the LMS with what they have learned and so it can be officially recorded. The trick is not to try to tightly integrate the LMS with the other tools, as then it becomes inflexible.

      Tom W.

    2. Happy Wednesday! What a great question – I’d also love to hear what other participants use regularly in their teaching and why. For example, our team decided to go with a blog for the coffee courses (rather than a Wattle site) as it is open and does not require anyone to log in, has easy options for discussion with the comments, and straightforward to use (not overloaded with features). 🙂

      1. Hi Katie
        I think this format is great – seems So much simper and more user-friendly that Wattle. I hate to sound superficial, but the graphic look of the blog is great too: clear, clean and without the need to wade through unnecessary material. I wish my wattle pages could be so great!!! 🙂

        1. Hahah glad it is working for you! We are very lucky to have a lot of experience in our team around creating online sites and resources so my expert colleague Thao Tran built our beautiful website! Also stay tuned as Thao and others from our team will be doing a coffee course in a few months on how to design Wattle sites!

    3. Hi Samantha, great insight from today’s post. The thing with what tech to choose is of course, it is a very dynamic, ever-changing field. Different apps seem to come and go, with some catching on as being very useful to education and others fading into insignificant every year. However the link to the UNSW page on matching technologies to teaching contexts is quite useful as it includes Moodle tools, which are what we have available in our Wattle LMS. You will find more ideas in tomorrow’s post! And of course everyone will be able to contribute their own favourites.

  2. I ask students two or three questions each week in a 12 week course. They have to answer each question by writing a few sentences and then reply to what at least one other student wrote for each question. Students then rate each other’s contributions.

    There are learning outcomes for each part of the course, with an assignment to assess it. The idea is that by the time of the assignment, the students will have practiced writing about the topic in the weekly forums. I explain this to the students, but still some say just before an assignment “I don’t know what to do!” and I tell them “Paste all your forum contributions to the word processor to make a draft submission”.

    For the Q&A I use the Moodle forum tool. Alongside this, I use the Moodle quiz tool, to help students each week with terms and basic concepts. The idea is to move up Bloom’s taxonomy, from remembering with the quiz, applying and analyzing with the discussion, to creating with the assignment.

    I have avoided attempted setting on-line group work. As an on-line student myself, I found group projects very challenging. This would be even more challenging for my international computing students, who have English as a second language, plus the typical nerd’s lack of interpersonal skills. 😉

    Tom W.

    1. Hi Tom,
      I also use the forum and quiz tools in Wattle. I am working on using the higher levels of Blooms Taxonomy to be able to challenge students more. In the past I have been hesitant because without the feedback from students face-to-face I have not known how much that they understood and how much I could challenge students. Several iterations of online delivery is giving me greater confidence to develop a greater range of questions that include 1-2 easy questions to then increase complexity.

      In flipping the classroom, I have also found that some students try to skip the pre-readings etc and just take the assessable quizzes. Developing meaningful activities that engage students and encourage learning, as well as integrate learning is challenging. The resources from this module has hopefully helped to understand how to do this a bit better. I would like to get better at this before I attempt to incorporate online peer or group activities and or reflective learning.

  3. I’ve just taught a computer practical that used LabArchives, an online tool for submitting answers to questions, sort of in a lab manual type setting, and the LOs for the practical included:
    – Gaining practical skills in a commonly-employed software package to analyse genomic data;
    – Understanding the limits of the various analytical methods applied;
    – Recording and analysing scientific data;
    – Interpreting and discussing the biological relevance of results;
    – Presenting a comprehensive summary of their research in the form of a scientific paper
    …so, the third LO could be expanded to include learning how to do this in an online setting.

    Reflecting on your pedagogical approach to course design, which technological tool or platform might you use to support this activity?
    I liked using LabArchives this time around. During the computer practical, I actually had the software open and went through the sections of it ‘live’, coding with the students in class. They could then (hopefully) answer the questions during the practical so as to avoid too much time and effort spent outside of class. I also quite like wattle, but I’ve only been using it for the first time this year, and it’s not clear to me yet how much students actually go back (or prepare beforehand) to read or watch information I put up there.

  4. I’m thinking of incorporating technology into my lecture to make it more interactive and facilitate students’ deep learning. It is Corporate Valuation course with enrollment close to 100 per semester. They have to sign up for a group assignment group on wattle and I will be using this group setting to engage students in lectures as well. I’m hoping that this will facilitate students to get to know each other quicker and work together on the assignment in a more efficient way.
    The videos and other materials provided above are helpful in the sense that I think I now have the mindset to only use technology as a suitable tool to facilitate teaching-learning, instead of just using the technology because it is available. The specific way to incorporate technology in my lecture depends on the lecture topics, indeed. For instance, instead of lecturing in the traditional way of talking by myself (on a particular topic), I would ask student to read a case study as a group before the lecture and ask students to answer questions in lecture, like a poll in real time. When I get the response from students in the lecture, I will address their answers immediately and ask more challenging questions. Students will be asked to discuss within their group and provide an answer online of their opinion. I believe this can be realized by using the Echo360 Active Learning Platform. But I do have concerns about equity. Some students may not have a laptop or a tablet to participate the real-time polling and they will feel left out. The other concern is that students have to change their mindset of learning when adapting to the new way of lectures. More proactive approach to study is expected to effectively participate the classroom discussion. A more interactive way of delivering lectures is more challenging for students, and more demanding for lecturers as well. The effectiveness of such changes only come from both parties committed to the activities in the classroom.

    1. Hi, Hua. Live polling looks very exciting. I considered using it in a class about a year ago but then decided that for my purposes simply raising one’s hand was enough. I’d love to hear how it goes in your course.

  5. Hi everyone
    The video and supporting materials reinforced for me the need to ensure that TEL, like any teaching method should be driven by the learning outcomes and specifics of the student cohort and teaching environment. And also that the choice of technology should seem like a logical fit for the task. Obviously i cant replace the experiential components of my course with an online equivalent ( nor would I even cosider it!) but this session has got me thinking about finding other ways to levergae TEL to support the non-studio aspects of my courses such as homework tasks where students have to reflect on either their own art/design work or that of other artists/designers, or even to reinforce some of the WHS and technical learnings. For example after a few weeks of modelling the analysis of an artwork in class, and encouraging students to apply the same approaches through class discussions, I could set homework tasks that require students to independently analyse artworks through a forum/blog/whatever wattle has that is appropriate. Ususally students do this in their visual diaries, but by moving it online, students could read and respond to each other’s posts, allowing them to learn from each other as well as from me (good old Albert Bandura and his social learning theory!). Im going to give it a go next semester and and see what the students think!!! Also, I might leverage off my existing video materials and create some quizes… woohoo!!!! This probably all seems like a no-brainer to everyone who has been using TEL for a while but its a new thing in my discipline and Im excited!

  6. Each member of the Digital Education Services team in the College of Asia and the Pacific has been asked to showcase some educational technology. I have chosen to create a course about recycling and reducing waste in the ACT which makes use of H5P interactive elements and moodle quizzes. I’m really looking forward to putting it together!

  7. I agree with Samantha – I need to become more aware of what my options are.”Bloom’s revised taxonomy and digital approaches” looks very useful for that.
    Starting with something small: the remembering component. In our language classes I feel we sometimes leave the students alone with the incredibly important but potentially boring task of acquiring and retaining vocabulary. I have designed vocab quizzes on wattle they can do in their own time but want to look into other options. What are people using in teaching languages at beginner’s level?

  8. I’m going to look into labArchives, suggested above. Thank you Angela!

    I’ve tended to use the ‘wiki’ function on Wattle for collaborative classwork or group reporting etc. It’s not very intuitive and looks messy, but it’s instant, unlike the Forum function that takes 30 minutes (I think). I did appreciate the strong ‘pedagogy before tech’ message in the video. I think people sometimes conflate them.

    Something that has become very apparent to me recently is the effectiveness of the lab space. Enhancement with tech is good in a nice space like the Ethel Tory studios (where the Japanese online chat video was shot) because everyone can see each other over the little laptops and have face-to-face discussion around the tech. I’ve recently scheduled my classes out of the labs we were allocated because the space really discouraged face-to-face interaction and there was no teaching computer/console. So I guess I’ve learnt that the effective use of face-to-face pedagogical strategies (as opposed to online learning) and tech enhancement is influenced by the physical space. This wasn’t such a big deal when our tech was pens, desks, handouts and OHTs.

    1. Hi Susy, fantastic point around the impact of teaching spaces on interaction. This is particularly interesting in light of recent changes to ANU teaching spaces more broadly, with lecture theatres being reduced and new teaching spaces potentially offering new/different types of spaces which may be more suitable to interactive teaching. Ethel Tory is a great example of how the space is set up both for technology AND for interaction with how the tables are spaces. Computers in rows and such make it much more difficult! While in theory you can teach any way in any type of space, having a venue conducive to your pedagogical approach certainly helps.
      I’d love to hear some thoughts from other participants on their experiences in teaching spaces of different types!

  9. As mentioned on Day 1, I prioritise pedagogy above technology. With this in mind, my response takes a slightly different track. As per ANU policies, my students submit their assessments via Turnitin (the requirement to attach all references if not using Turnitin is quite the deterrent!). The ostensible purpose of Turnitin is to assist students in developing their referencing skills. Unfortunately, what I see happen too often is students using the originality report to identify instances of plagiarism, and then subvert Turnitin by using an online/inbuilt thesaurus to change every 2-3 words. This does not constitute paraphrasing; on the contrary, it is still plagiarism! Alternatively, students seek out older texts that have not yet been digitized, and thus, are unlikely to be on Turnitin. These students attempt to pass off entire paragraphs as their own work, knowing that Turnitin only picks up certain texts.
    On the other hand, students are being incorrectly advised in other courses that there is a magic number that their originality report must be under. They freak out if they get a high “score”, and then proceed to change every sentence such that it becomes incomprehensible. Thus, instead of enabling learning, I find that Turnitin is making students less adept at referencing. In this way, Turnitin appears to foster a culture of referencing illiteracy, rather than achieve its intended design.

    So, my question for everyone is: how can I better use Turnitin to help develop referencing skills and understanding? Is there a better tool out there? As I work with (post)grad students, there is little room in the degree structure to revisit basic skills that, really, ought to be ingrained knowledge by this point in their academic careers. While this speaks to a larger educational problem across Australia, I feel that I am fighting a lonely battle against plagiarism and poor referencing, with TELT, specifically Turnitin, as my arch-nemesis.

    1. Bhavani, thanks so much for sharing this – I have found that many students struggle with this exact issue and that education around how to interpret originality reports is absolutely vital. I know ANU’s Academic Skills and Learning Centre fights the good fight to try to educate students around how to interpret their reports properly and gives guidance and training on how to paraphrase properly. I recommend encouraging your students to check out ASLC’s Turnitin Practice Site, which has videos and resources on how to interpret Turnitin reports and use it to improve writing. You can copy these resources into your own course Wattle site (see the bottom of that page, where it says “Access Turnitin Teaching Resources”. I’d encourage you to send any students struggling to ASLC drop-ins or appointments, or maybe see if they could come speak to your students? Trying to promote Turnitin as a learning tool is a difficult task, though, when students can misuse it easily.

      In terms of better tools than Turnitin, there are a few competitors out there but generally Turnitin is the standard across Australia for universities. Unless there is a major shift, I don’t see this changing any time soon either as it is partially Turnitin’s ubiquity that makes it so attractive, as more people use it, the better the text-matching becomes as more and more assignments are added to it. I hope that helps a bit – happy to chat more about it!!

      1. Thanks for the suggestions, Katie. Recommending ASLC and the Practice Site is perhaps my most frequent feedback. However, I truthfully couldn’t say how many students actually follow through with them.

  10. Thankyou Coffee Course team for providing the resource to Bloom’s revised taxonomy and digital approaches, I look forward to exploring this further. I am interested to know if anyone in the group has had experience using technology to enhance collaborative learning, promote problem solving and reflective practice for an online student body? I am interested to hear more on what people have tried, what worked and what didn’t.

  11. Thankyou Coffee Course team for providing the resource to Bloom’s revised taxonomy and digital approaches, I look forward to exploring this further. I am interested to know if anyone in the group has had experience using technology to enhance collaborative learning, promote problem solving and reflective practice for an online student body? I am interested to hear more on what people have tried, what worked and what didn’t and why

    1. Hi Tam, great question! I myself have used a few tools for these types of activities and can recommend a few others. One tool that is commonly advocated for reflective practice for online students is a e-portfolio or digital portfolio. ANU has an ePortfolio system called Mahara which might be of interest – (here is some training info: ePortfolios are useful for sustained reflective practice over a longer period. We also did a short espresso course on ePortfolios last year –

      Collaborative learning is another interesting area for online learning, as it can be much more difficult to engage students in this when they are not located in the same area/time zone! There are a few options I could think of. Problem-based learning (PBL) is often a method for engaging students in collaborative problem solving, and has been done in online spaces. Here is one paper about it where they used Adobe Connect:

      Aliya – would you be able to add any other comments or resources here around conducting PBL online?

    2. Hi, Tam,
      One of the subjects I teach is writing. We do a lot of collaborative learning through peer review. Reading and commenting on drafts can take a long time, so I sometimes assign it as homework for the students to do in their own time. Last year I used Wattle’s Forum functionality for that. The students had to post 3 times: their piece of writing and comments with feedback on two of their peers’ work. It worked better than I had anticipated. I think, because it was online and visible to me, they put more effort into it whereas, when they provide feedback to their peers on paper, they know that I wouldn’t see it. I’ve also been meaning to try using a wiki for that but haven’t yet.

  12. I set an exercise for art history tutorials earlier this semester which I think could gain a lot from the introduction of technology. Each tutorial group visited an exhibition together and I handed out a (paper) questionnaire which I had designed to get the students to review theoretical concepts we have been learning during the semester and to apply them in an exhibition context. In groups of two or three, the students chose one work in the exhibition and answered as many of the questions as they could. As well as giving them the opportunity to review concepts from earlier weeks, it also enabled me to see how well they had understood and retained these concepts. It would be great to take this to the next level and allow the students to compare their answers with each other across the three tutorial groups. Perhaps a blog format would be appropriate for this. One blog post could have images and details of a single work, which the students see in person in the exhibition, and they could provide collaborative responses to the questionnaire. This could help those who are still unsure of certain concepts to understand through their peers’ explanations. The main problem I can foresee with this is the logistics of contributing to a blog while in an exhibition space (it’s important that the students are actually in front of the work when they reflect on the questions). Perhaps I need to work on this idea more! Perhaps somehow setting it as a Twitter exercise (or something similar) would enable that spontaneous reaction more readily.

    1. Hi Christina,
      What exactly are the logistics problems? Is it a lack of WiFi? I’ve found that museums are increasingly providing an internet connection for free. As long as one person in each group of 2-3 students has access to the internet and is either provided with a tablet or adheres to a BYOD approach, they could write on a collaborative online page. And if the museum doesn’t provide free WiFi, perhaps you can distribute a mobile WiFi hotspot to each small group of students. Perhaps your IT dept cans provide such things, or you can request that your institution purchase them. Also, you could talk to people at the museum and ask them to set up free WiFi for the general public or at least just for school groups. Are any of these suggestions helpful? Are there other logistics problems you might have?

      1. Hi Dan,
        The main problem I was thinking of was students trying to wield laptops while standing up in a gallery space. Using tablets would definitely make this easier, but my department doesn’t have tablets for students to use, at least not at present! I’m sure some students would have tablets, but probably not enough of them. It would be possible for students to use their phones, but it is quite tedious typing out paragraphs on phones, in my experience. Non of this is insurmountable, of course! I hadn’t thought of the WiFi issue. I haven’t found this a problem yet because, as you say, most museums and galleries have it available for the public.

  13. Thanks for the links with the detailed information on programs that can be aligned with what one wants to achieve. Selecting technologies is far from easy, and it is hard to know what is out there and what people use, so this is definitely helpful. I like the way that in today’s coffee course you include a few podcasts – which also provides a nice demonstration on how these can be effectively included into learning material. Short and sharp, and to the point.

  14. I was imagining if I was given more time and flexibility over the tutorials, what I could do. According to the course instructions, one objective of the tutorial is to understand the basic concepts of the material. I could use poll tools to give the students mini-quizzes or just questions like “do you feel comfortable with XXX contents”, to check whether they have reached this goal. Then I will ask the students to work out their own course summary on some collaborative platforms, such as Padlet. Another objective is to apply the knowledge to solve problems. I will encourage the students to form study groups and present the solutions by themselves. The performance of groups will be coordinated with tools mentioned in Espresso Course, Collaborative and Group Work, Day 3.
    But I suddenly identify a problem here: too many kinds of technology may be distracting. Maybe I should focus on a specific one for each tutorial/each month. Oh, don’t be over-excited~

    1. Hi Sunny, these are all great ideas! You can spread them out over a semester or over different courses to ensure a balance. You have identified a common problem in course design – finding a good balance in activities. Often it takes trial and error to find the right balance, and the right balance can vary depending on your student characteristics. But what a great start in thinking along these lines!

  15. For me, one of the things that helped me select what technology to use to help students learn a skill was to find out what companies are doing out there in “the real world”. Recently I found out from ANU careers that almost half of all organizations are using video interviews for first round graduate interviews. As I teach communications in Business, I thought – this is an important skill that students need to have and helps them to apply some of the knowledge that they are reading in the textbook, so I working together with ANU careers, I have begun to bring this technology into my course

    1. That is a great approach, David – grounding your practice in real life practices in your field of knowledge, or industry. This makes for what we call “authentic assessment” – one based on tasks that are realistic for what the students will experience when they graduate.

  16. I’d like to share how I’ve recently used technology in my teaching. I did disability-related simulations. A lot of negative things have been written about it but that’s for another coffee course 🙂 Despite the negative things that have been said about it, I still think it works as long as it is framed and explained properly to students.

    I teach Introduction to Web Accessibility and one of my early activities is meant to develop empathy. I believe empathy falls under understanding. Wiggins and McTighe suggest that “when a person truly understands, they can empathise”.

    One of the main objectives of the course is to make students understand why it is important to design websites with accessibility in mind. So along with articles and videos that explain and demonstrate how people with disabilities use the web, I also make them do a simulation activity. They use a screen reader to navigate a website. They turn off or cover their monitors, go to a website and look for specific information such as telephone number or products without seeing the screen…just listening to the screen reader and navigating using the keyboard. No mouse. I also let them choose a website where they can order something and see if they can put something into the cart.

    They reflect on this activity and most of the time, students report feeling very frustrated because they encounter keyboard traps or they can’t find the information they need. Again, I make sure I follow this up with a discussion on the importance of coding an accessible website otherwise they will stay in the “I feel bad for blind people” zone.

    I also let them go to a website called Empathy Prompts –
    It has a list of activities to help people develop empathy as they develop digital products.

    In summary, I used the following technologies:
    – assistive technology (screen reader)
    – videos
    – website

    Credit to the screen reader activity goes to Scott Hollier who was my teacher when I took his course on Accessibility at the Uni of South Australia. I adopted the activity after we did it in the course. The experience made so much impact to the whole class.

  17. Interesting to read some of the comments about live polling tools being used. I am not familiar with these.

    One tool I used to engage students in the secondary classroom was Kahoot. This is a game based learning platform that allows students to respond to questions on the smartboard using laptops, tablets or smartphones without any extra software. Students can play in teams if they don’t all have access to a device.

    Ways I have used this:
    – test student understanding of terminology or concepts
    – introduce new material – what do students know?
    – Give students a case study or problem to consider for homework then open the class with questions relating to the material to set the teaching session up.

    I am unsure if this has been used at ANU. It is quite easy to create your own quizzes after opening a free account and there is a huge bank of public quizzes sorted by education level that can be saved and edited. Several levels of Bloom’s taxonomy (remembering, understanding) can be built into the quiz.

    1. Hi Melinda, thanks for sharing your experiences with Kahoot! I think it has been used in some of the language disciplines in CAP and CASS? I know Socrative (a similar tool) has been used as well. If anyone else has tried Kahoot in their own disciplines that would be great to hear!

  18. Hello All,

    Reading this day’s post helped me fine tune my activities design process. In one of my courses, the earlier assessment activity was a written mid-semester examination. When I took over the course I wasn’t happy with that particular piece of assessment. The final exam had to be a written exam and so I wanted to change the mid-semester assessment task. Many of the learning outcomes from this course are centered around understanding, applying and evaluating complex mathematical and statistical models. This has historically been done without the aide of technology as that is how the professional syllabus is structured.

    My aim was to introduce the use of certain software, the students are expected to use in their professional lives, albeit at a foundational level. I designed an assignment where the students would apply the concepts learnt in the course, in a problem simulating the real world. This would no doubt help them apply the core concepts but also encourage them to make judgements and conclusions based on the results obtained.

    The use of technology for a portion of their overall assessment also ensures that the students are well prepared for their professional lives. They do not have to be content with the abstract ideas but can apply them in practice and gain some insight into real-world scenarios.

  19. In-class activities, and at-home activities could vary widely, especially depending on the assessment value placed on them. In terms of in-class activities, I use technology to break down a big task and divide it among groups of students, bringing it all together at the end. The aim of the lesson is to get students to practice different research techniques, and to consolidate information from a number of sources. I want them to understand how the task (which is a final assessment option for them) can be broken down and approached empirically, so the group activity is a gentle introduction to that. For this, I use padlet, which allows every student to see what the others are doing, and to apply that work to their own group. It also means they can revisit the tutorials work at any time.

    An idea that I’ve been wondering about for a long time is that of recording videos as an option to replace in-class presentations or comments on certain topics. Although video could be more stressful for some students, it would give them the opportunity to present and communicate their material in a wider variety of ways, with the option of not having their face on the screen for the full duration of the time. It would meet the same learning outcomes as presentation — being able to communicate ideas orally, improving presentation skills, managing time and so on — but would also broaden the experience to a wider variety of skills that are needed in todays world. Supplemented by the teacher setting the example with regular videos, it could be a really supportive and engaging way to develop understanding on certain topics.

    1. Hi Lauren, great suggestion around using video presentations instead of in-person ones. I was once a tutor in a class that offered students the choice of in-person or video presentations (the videos were screened in class). I was very worried about this approach at first because I thought it would be unfair or too challenging for students, but in the end it was really great! Students who were not comfortable with public speaking really appreciated the opportunity to rehearse, record, and edit their contributions. We had a few students submit really creative presentation videos, which also helped keep the class (and myself, as the tutor) engaged as there was more variety in the presentations. Great stuff!

  20. Fantastic to be grounded with the learning outcomes first. I also think that it is worth adding that it is OK to go with a non-technology based solution for your activity if that is better suited or equivalent in achieving your educational goals.

  21. For a recent course that I convened, I looked at finding ways to draw students into an analytical exercise – to query or reframe views from experts who had participated in our course. To spur them into taking this exercise seriously, students submitted their short, sharp perspectives in a blog forum on Wattle which was visible only to our course community. This was to enable students to share their thoughts without having to filter them out (had this been a public blog, for example) yet while also opening themselves up to debate among our small, and trusted, learning community. This quite simple use of tech – probably not even on the TEL ‘spectrum’ – worked wonderfully well and led to some great real time conversations. The counterpart to this was for me to respond in kind, and while this took some time (as I had committed to synthesizing a dozen posts), I too was part of the blog conversation and guess what – I also found the exercise rewarding and difficult. The students were surprised (mainly), and hopefully encouraged, to see their lecturer matching their efforts in time and analysis. Would I do it again, eg set an assessment task that required quite a bit assessing work than the classic essay? Yep, but only for groups capped at 20.

  22. I think that the way I have found most conducive to good learning outcomes and students engagement in terms of integrating technology in my course is when I don’t – but my students do. I have gone on a journey from being accepting of novel approaches to assessment formats to actively encouraging students to be creative with what they submit. While this covers a spectrum of options, it often ends with students creating their own digital content – pushing them right to the top of Blooms Taxonomy. Commonly this looks like students building websites for their major assessment pieces, but I am also supervising a special research topic this semester where the student is creating a 12 hour podcast series. The level of work involved in these options is far greater than submitting a plain written piece, but the enthusiasm the ability to choose generates in students seems to inspire them to happily do far more work than expected. On reflection I think this plays into my over all teaching philosophy which is that self motivation leverages far greater teaching outcomes than I can alone. That is, rather than trying to cover everything in my courses, if I can spark an interest in students, they will go out and independently teach themselves far more than I can fit into a 12 week semester. So if allowing students to choose technology themselves inspires them to greater levels of engagement then maybe I should think about permanently embedding that as options in my courses.

  23. When I took a course on teaching in graduate school, Bloom’s taxonomy was featured as both a way to think about how students are learning, but also to be careful not to try to have students engage in more advanced forms of learning (creating, evaluating) before making sure lower stages of learning have been reached.

    Reflecting on appropriate technologies to teach students, different technologies are likely better at different learning stages. Online video clips and quizzes with basic questions can help students with remebering, while using a discussion forum can help with discussing and applying knowledge based on the task I ask them to do. When I start material, I may use a video clip and short quiz to help students with grasping basic information. I can then ask students to post and discuss a topic on a discussion forum. I might then ask students to reflect on applying their understanding by writing about a topic they see in the news or in print. I think the application of technologies needs to occur in sequence, to enable deeper levels of learning.

    The higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy are difficult to reach in a single course (particularly in an undergrad setting at the 1000 or 2000 level), but I think my role in enabling students to analyse and evaluate information is to make sure students see how I analyse and process information. The overlap of these levels of Bloom’s taxonomy closely parallels critical thinking, which I tend to view as a process of developing skills and values to reflect and examine assumptions about what is learned. Those skills may be taught over the semester and a course of study. Technology there may range from me using a marker and a whiteboard to work through a problem to haing students write essays on a topic by acccessing online sources.

    As I think about this, it occurs to me that different learning outcomes and technologies may be deployed at the same time. Ex. Using a weekly discussion forum to help to stimulate discussion and a major essay to have students develop the ability to evaluate information from journals and reports to apply and evaluate knowledge about a topic.

  24. My selected activity is currently delivered as a practical session using a pdf worksheet. The learning outcomes include naming, describing, and identifying anatomical structures, understanding how these structures relate to each other, and applying this knowledge to predict the effect on functional outcomes.
    An online platform such as Moodle or similar would allow students to work through this lesson during the practical session, supported by textbooks and anatomical specimens/models in the lab. Definitions and other useful info could be included as hyperlinks within the text as well as exercises that direct the students’ learning. Additional activities (such as quizzes, labelling activities, or written descriptions) to be completed after the prac session could be incorporated into the online lesson at different points for later reinforcement of the different concepts learned. Links to additional online resources would be provided within the lesson. Both in-class and follow-up activities would need to be undertaken in order to complete the lesson. Thus the need to recall and reframe the in-class learning at a later time would strengthen and extend their knowledge.
    As an aside Katie, the link to Bloom’s revised taxonomy and digital approaches is now non-functioning – the Wikispaces page seems to have been made defunct.

    1. Ah thanks Corinne for the heads-up about the link! I have updated it now to a new version, and you can find it here for you:

      Wikispaces, once a huge free resource for educators to build their own websites, has been disestablished and a range of excellent online sites have disappeared. We’ll actually discuss this in more detail in our Apps and Open Web coffee course next week!

  25. After also completing the Play to Learn and Quiz design coffee courses I am interested in thinking about how I could better use the quiz functions within Wattle. I think it would be useful to have weekly optional quizzes for language students that test vocabulary and grammar. This could not only aid in memorisation, but if we provide explanations of why something is correct/incorrect in the feedback box this could also aim to improve students understanding on a deeper level. This could provide students with additional frequent feedback, in a relatively non-labour intensive way, and if coupled with the Wattle analytics tool help the teacher to identify which areas students are struggling with.

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