Academics from the School of Education are busy developing inspiring new shared modules for Macquarie’s Secondary Teaching Education Program (STEP) – but their iLearn design is already an award-winner!
Victoria Taylor, Educational Designer for a project being led by Dr Michael Cavanagh, was awarded a ‘Moodley’ at Moodleposium 2014 for best design for student interaction. The project is part of the Faculty Partnership Program and is managed by Fiona Nicolson.
Michael was delighted at the recognition for the contribution of educational design to the project. “The Educational Designers add a great deal to the development of our learning design. They take the raw material that we have, and turn it into something that is really engaging for students and helps them learn.”
The modules within the Shared Curriculum Commitments and Responsibilities unit provide shared content for pre-service teachers in the STEP program. Each module covers important areas within the Australian school curriculum that are now the responsibility of every teacher. The two main aims of the design of the modules are to inspire the pre-service teachers in relation to the importance of these shared curriculum responsibilities, and equally to inspire the lecturers delivering the content in STEP.
Victoria says that maximising student interaction was one of the principles guiding the iLearn design. “We’ve tried to provide students with lots of different ways to interact with their peers, their teacher and themselves through opportunities for more private reflection. Every activity promotes active participation with the content by using iLearn’s standard tools in creative ways, such as linking Glossary entries directly to activities, so they are visible contextually and connected to an actual task. Also all of the main activities create student generated content to be then shared and discussed.
“We’ve also tried to maximise student interaction in multiple forms by providing a guide, along side the online content, which offers suggestions of how the activities could be used in a face-to-face environment. This allows teachers the flexibility to deliver the module in a blended format using the flipped classroom model for example.”
Feedback to students comes in various forms; from their peers, individual feedback from the teacher and opportunities for the teacher to give generalised feedback on reflections made by the group. A final database is shared with students where they can add ideas, post study of the module, with useful tips and examples they acquire during their teaching practice out in schools.
Sleek Visual Design
The main page of each module is designed to be streamlined, allowing for ease of navigation and clear signposting of the activities which need to be completed.
The iLearn space as a whole and the individual modules themselves were also given a strong visual identity. Each shared curriculum commitment and responsibility has its own unique colour and symbol. The now associated visual presence could be used ongoing during the program to highlight when a certain shared responsibility is being considered again at another time during the pre-service teacher training.