Wednesday, 24 May 2017

What if students don't have digital competence?

As I teach both for a Uni and for a Polytechnic (the latter is similar to a Community College but we deliver applied degrees and post-graduate programmes), as I have noted lacks in student digital competence, or have been asked questions by students, I have created 'how to' screencasts and text answers to those commonly asked questions.

A lot of the questions are around simple things like "How do I create a Table of Contents", or "Where can I get Excel starter information?" Not all students start their learning with good digital competence, and sometimes the 'how' needs to be supplied before the students can get to the 'what' and the 'why' that is specific to their learning outcomes.

My institutions run classes as blended learning, using a Moodle backbone. So what I have done is that over time, I have compiled all my answers and links to video into course-specific FAQ pages which have become quite a large resource on each paper I teach.

Students can scroll through their course FAQ page and find answers to their questions, grouped into certain areas to do with their assignment or part of the course. I keep the FAQ page as a single page to ensure that it remains searchable using Ctrl & F.

This latter point is one of the limitations of Moodle: you can only search accurately on a single page. However, as all the Q and A are on one page, I have tried to organise the material to make things easier to find. All the assignments are colour-coded using highlighter, and there is a short contents table at the top of each course FAQ page which uses hyperlinks to take the student to the answers for a particular assignment.

As students ask new questions, I add the answers I develop to the Moodle page and post them with the student question.

It saves me time, because I don't have to repeat the same information to fifty students. I can redirect students to the FAQ page when they ask me something that I have already provided the answer for. While it needs a bit of annual updating, in general, it is pretty timeless.

An extract of the Moodle page can be viewed here

And it works.


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