When building your TEL environment provide an orientation activity to students to increase understanding of what they are expected to do within the site.
You can review QM General Standard 1: Course Overview Introduction for how you can prepare your students for their learning journey with you in your unit.
Digital Futures have produced a publication on ‘5 Steps to vUWS Success’, which is a step-by-step guide of the key steps involved in putting your unit on vUWS and the maintenance of it.
The information includes:
Please visit Digital Futures vUWS support page for more information on the above topic and more.
The tools and technologies selected should support the learning materials and activities, enabling students to actively engage in the learning process rather than passively absorb information.
It is important to first map out the activities before considering what tools and technologies to use. Careful selection is required to ensure that technology is supporting, rather than detracting from learning outcomes.
Always remember the design comes first and the tools/technologies should be selected to fit the purpose or the goals that the activities are set to achieve. Another important principle to consider is to ensure all technologies are accessible to students. Please refer to QM General Standard 6: Course Technology for more information.
The template structure is based on existing unit vUWS sites with minimal changes and regrouping of elements. The design takes elements from existing University vUWS sites that scored highly in a recent quality standards benchmarking exercise.
The template establishes clear expectations for students on where to find learning materials, assessment information, communication tools, and support. This enables students to focus on learning rather than looking for the information they need.
It is important to ensure that there is a navigational flow to your TEL environment. Topics should be clearly labelled and students should have a clear where the learning activities are placed within the site and where the assessment activities can be accessed. The use of the vUWS template provides student with a standardised structure of where to locate essential information about the unit such as ‘Unit Learning Outcomes’, ‘Essential Resources’, ‘Assessment Summary’ and ‘Teaching Staff’.
Overall design considerations
It is important to ensure that there is a navigational flow to your vUWS site. Topics should be clearly labelled and students should have a clear where the learning activities are placed within the site and where the assessment activities can be accessed. The use of the vUWS template developed by the Digital Futures Team can aid in developing the navigational coherence of your site. It has been designed to provide student a standardised structure of where to locate essential information about the unit such as ‘Unit Learning Outcomes’, ‘Essential Resources’, ‘Assessment Summary’ and ‘Teaching Staff’, just to name a few. Contact Digital Futures for more on accessing and using the template.
It is important to start thinking about your vUWS site in terms of the navigational categories that you will use. You are encouraged to think about how your site can be structured in terms of modules and topics within modules rather than using a chronological (e.g. weeks) structure for your material. The vUWS template will provide you with a framework for designing your vUWS site using a module/topic structure within the ‘Learning Zone’ of the template. If you require more information about the template, please contact Digital Futures.
Go to our Adding, checking and fixing links section of the vUWS Support page for more on this.
For a more detailed list of instructions to perform a range of vUWS-related tasks go to Digital Futures vUWS Support portal.
Using a content repository
Ensure that you place all of your materials (pdf, docs, image files and any other file formats that are used) into the content repository before you place them on your student-facing site. You will find the ‘Content Repository’ section under ‘Course Management’ of the vUWS template and for more on this topic see Managing the Content Repository section.
Learning materials must accessible for all students (e.g, transcripts for video/audio formats) and the overall design allows for easy reading. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these.
The integration and use of technology should not act as a barrier to the student learning experience.
Linking library readings
For help with this go to the Adding and checking the Library Reading list link section of the vUWS Support portal.
It is important to develop a naming convention for the material that you have developed because naming conventions give meaning to file items. This will make it easier for you to maintain your site as well as making it clearer for others who will access content in your site.
Review the file formats and file size recommendations and considerations below:
Videos. Many devices are now shooting videos at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) which can produce videos of great quality and clarity, but this translates into large sizes. One minute of footage at this resolution will produce a 120MB .mp4!
- It is important to indicate the file type (e.g. mp4, mov or avi) as well as the file size next to the item.
Images. As is the case with videos, file size is important. Students need to be able to view images easily and quickly and this is especially the case if students are viewing content on mobile devices.
- You will also need to indicate the file type (e.g. gif, jpg etc.) as well as the file size next to the item.
Visual layout. To emphasise an item in a piece of text, use italics or bold rather than different colours. Black font renders best for online and mobile device viewing.
Pdf, documents and PowerPoint. As is the case with other file items, it is important to indicate the file type (e.g. pdf, doc, ppt) and the file size associated with each item.
There are a range of tools available to support students achieve their learning outcomes, and to support you in your teaching practice. Many tools are available within the Learning Management System (vUWS), and there are other tools you may already be using, or have heard about.
Your TEL environment at WSU will be automatically opened to students one week before start of session.
WHERE TO NEXT?
Once you have completed the Build phase move onto the Deliver phase.