My Studies has a number of tools available that will enhance the learning opportunities for our students. Usually we think about these tools as being for Summative Assessment, however in this context, we’ll look at the tools as formative exercises, and ways to teach asynchronously using My Studies (formerly: studentcentral).
Useful Tools for Asynchronous learning
- Discussion Boards
- Panopto Video
- Others (Blogs and Wikis)
Building a sense of community among students is crucial for a successful online experience. The Discussion Board is an important tool for interpersonal interaction and can replicate the discussions that take place in the traditional classroom. Discussions can serve a range of purposes, such as:
- an online meeting place for social interaction among peers
- an additional medium for collaboration and the exchange of ideas
- a medium to pose questions about homework assignments, readings, and study area content
- a way to demonstrate the understanding or application of learning material
- a record of discussion which can be reviewed at a later point
- a graded activity that demonstrates understanding or application of learning material.
All module areas on My Studies are provided with a module discussion board in the ‘Module Information’ area. Please see our discussion board resource page for more about discussion boards. Also visit the Blackboard help site about Discussion Boards and Forums.
Journals are personal spaces for students to reflect on their studies and/or practice, or even to communicate privately with you. Students can also use journals as a self-reflective tool. They can post their opinions, ideas, and concerns about the course, or discuss and analyze course-related materials.
You can create journal assignments that are broad and student-directed. Students can reflect on the learning process and document changes in their perceptions and attitudes. Students can describe the problems faced and how they solved them. You can also create instructor-directed journal entries that are more formal in nature. You can narrow the focus with a list of topics for discussion.
Tests can be used to provide a quick assessment of students’ understanding of a topic. The My Studies test tool allows instructors to create tests containing a range of question types, many of which will be marked and graded automatically. Responses can be tracked in the grade centre so you can see who has engaged, and more importantly, you can see which questions your students struggled with and take appropriate action if required.
Tests could be used in a variety of situations:
- To recap knowledge at the end of a topic/section, or a single lecture
- To ascertain students understanding at the start of a topic, assessing prior knowledge
- As a diagnostic tool to ascertain strengths and areas for improvement in knowledge.
We have a range of resources to support instructors with creating tests
Blackboard also has extensive help for working with Tests and Surveys.
Panopto can be used to create pre-recorded lecture videos. This allows students to be flexible about when they learn. It also allows them to review content as needed. You can even embed quizzes within a Panopto video to assess understanding and improve engagement. For more information about using Panopto, please see resources on the Digitally Enabled Learning site, or sign up for a workshop. If our own help guides and videos aren’t enough, Panopto has extensive ‘how to videos’ on their support site.
Blogs are similar to Journals, except instead of being private to the student (and instructor) they are visible to the entire modules’ cohort.
- Blogs can be set up as either a Course blog (which all students can contribute to) or Individual blogs (specific to each student)
- Blogs provide a way that students can publish content that stays within the module area, allowing students to share their content in a safe place. Students can see each others blogs and comment as appropriate.
- Blogs are really useful in encouraging students to share their work and offer constructive criticism to their peers.
- Please see our blog resource page for more about blogs. Blackboard also has help guides about blogs
Wikis allow course members to contribute and modify one or more pages of course-related materials and provide a means of sharing and collaboration. Course members can create and edit pages quickly, and track changes and additions, which allows for effective collaboration between multiple writers. You can create one or more wikis for all course members to contribute to and wikis for specific groups to use to collaborate.
- Please see our wiki resource page for more about wikis
- Or see the wiki resource pages from Blackboard