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Internationalisation of Modules: A Blended Online Learning Approach. Dr. Julie Greensmith School of Computer Science University of Nottingham. Overview. Introductions Collaboration with UNMC G53NMD: An Online Module Technological Constraints A reflection of challenges and successes

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Internationalisation of modules a blended online learning approach
Internationalisation of Modules:A Blended Online Learning Approach

  • Dr. Julie Greensmith

  • School of Computer Science

  • University of Nottingham


  • Introductions

  • Collaboration with UNMC

  • G53NMD: An Online Module

  • Technological Constraints

  • A reflection of challenges and successes

  • Future blended learning approaches

Who am i
Who am I?

  • Lecturer in Computer Science - 5 years

  • Research in Artificial Immune Systems

    • PhD, Anne-McLaren Fellow

  • Teaching modules at all levels

    • Software Engineering (Level 1) - FSE

    • New Media Design (Level 3/4) - NMD

What is g53nmd
What is G53NMD

  • New Media Design covers:

    • interaction design

    • graphic design for computer scientists

    • emerging new and social media technologies

    • advanced webdev and content management

  • 10 Credit Module for final year/PGT

  • 100% Coursework assessment

    • 75% Group Project, 25% Individual component

Forming a collaboration
Forming a Collaboration

  • Collaboration formed almost by chance

    • A member of our teaching staff was seconded to UNMC

    • Assigned the same two modules of software engineering and new media design

  • Decided to combine our experience to deliver the modules together

Past history
Past History

  • My collaborator is Dr. Tim Brailsford

    • Head of School on UNMC

  • Tim taught the predecessor module - Principles of Multi-Media (2002-2008)

  • Had already recorded a series of online lectures as .avi movies

    • used screen capture on powerpoint and talked over the slides

  • Had experimented previously pairing lecture videos with online learning environment via a class forum

A tradition of technology
A tradition of technology

  • Tim had set a precedence to “teach multi-media with multimedia”

  • The video slide lectures were hard to follow

    • a disembodied voice is hard to listen to for a long period of time

  • Used videocasts instead of formal lectures

    • used the lecture time to hold group meetings and workshops

A blended learning approach
A Blended Learning Approach

  • Initially aimed at MSc Management of Information Technology students

  • Provided a more mature and flexible approach to learning for postgrads

  • Weekly video slide lectures supported by an online forum

    • discuss the material

    • provide additional resources

  • A small amount of credits available for participation in the online forum discussions


  • Teaching materials online

    • easily shared between campuses

  • Web based wiki or forum

    • can be accessed by both UK and MY students

  • Work on the same coursework assignments

    • halved the workload of setting assessments

Team teaching
Team Teaching

  • Not a purely online course

    • needs some local supervision

    • running labs and workshops

  • Prepare all online materials together

    • makes for better online material

  • Local coordinator on each campus

    • simply ‘shepherding’ the material

Making it work
Making It Work

  • Get together twice per year

    • content review

    • setting assessments

    • recording new and updated materials

  • Try to keep in close contact during the teaching semester

    • weekly email, frequent skype

It s great
It’s great!

Technical challenges
Technical Challenges

  • Could not run our own server for hosting our videos due to firewall restrictions

    • needed remote access for flexible learning

    • to be available for both cohorts

  • Were encouraged to use WebCT

    • could not access the same resources from UNMC

    • restricted to a different forum

  • Video editing and production may require more specialist software

Our first cross campus attempt
Our First Cross Campus Attempt

  • Use web 2.0 to teach web 2.0

  • Used many different public web-based services:

    • blog at to release each video

    • forum at google groups for discussion

    • videos hosted on youtube (comments off!!)

    • course updates via twitter

Shared assessment
Shared Assessment

  • Main group coursework to build an interactive multi-media website

  • Use a ‘real’ client

    • musicians, artists, local charity

  • Videolink interview with the client

  • Students at UNMC could discuss ideas with students from UNUK

Things that worked
Things that worked

  • Using these high profile services meant better dependability

    • rather than maintaining a server ourselves

  • Did not have the cross campus restrictions as to who could register for the forum

  • Students from both campuses could discuss topical issues

    • increase student awareness of cross cultural design

  • Quite easy to set up!

Things that didn t work
Things that didn’t work

  • Semesters are not synchronised

    • UNMC start the semester later

    • Set different hand in dates for the assignments

    • Can lead to confusion on the forums

  • Had to get students to sign up to services using a google ID

    • not ideal if someone has issue with google’s terms and conditions

    • and worse..

You get busy
... you get busy!

  • It can be hard to be diligent and keep in touch with each other throughout the semester

    • (especially if you are a Head of School so I’m told!)

  • Particularly difficult as I need to set my assessment much earlier in the year

    • need to keep talking!

2012 13 the moodle years
2012-13: The Moodle Years

  • Integrated virtual learning environment

    • host and serve the videos

    • have a main discussion forum

    • set a quiz to unlock online material

    • have a discussion forum per video resource

  • Both cohorts can see the same online material and can interact with each other

Its a lot of effort who benefits
Its a lot of effort...who benefits?

  • Can help introduce more specialist teaching into UNMC - big advantage

    • local convenor need not know all the material for the video casts (it can help)

    • technical questions can be forward to the specialist at UNUK

  • Share the teaching load with a colleague

    • can even ‘exchange’ with each other for a semester

  • Students have different backgrounds which can enhance discussions

  • (I won a Staff Oscar last year - looks good on my PDPR!)

Leaving a legacy
Leaving A Legacy

  • Once the technology is in place and the material is compiled its quite engaging as a convenor

    • spend more time working directly with your students

  • Update of material each year does not take too long

  • In theory its a simple transfer in moodle

    • this is a bit techy, even for me!

The future
The Future

  • I’m moving on to teach a new module

  • Plan to also use a blended learning approach, to run in parallel to formal lectures

  • Get online material in place first before making another internationalised module

    • will also try this out with UNNC

Top tips
Top Tips

  • Find a good collaborator who you know you can work with consistently

  • Use online material as the basis of teaching

  • Find a delivery mechanism that you feel you can cope with, allowing access to both cohorts

    • there is tech support if you chose moodle

  • Support online lectures with interactive workshops

  • Be aware of timing differences and local cultural issues

G53nmd thank you
G53NMDThank you

  • Dr. Julie Greensmith

  • School of Computer Science

  • University of Nottingham

  • UK (and sometimes UNMC)