Friday, 3 May 2013

#ocTEL Designing Active Learning

I am getting very excited after a week of meetings and discussions about the SCALE UP project we are going to be running in the university next year. I have proposed two very different modules for the pilot - one is already very much a collaborative, tech based module but the other has been taught in a traditional way up until now and I am going to have to rethink learning activities.

The idea behind SCALE UP is large group teaching with students organised into round tables of nine, with 3 internet connected devices to share (3 to a device). Teaching is meant to be inquiry or problem based with students teaching themselves and presenting work to one another. While some might complain that here the technology is driving the pedagogy (I am rethinking activities to fit the environment) in reality, it is the other way round. I feel I have been constrained by timetabling and room restrictions to teach in a way that is really uncomfortable for me, boring for the students and increasingly irrelevant. (A lecture on Harvard Referencing conventions???) I have secretly been dreaming of a large, flat space with round tables and excellent wifi - and here it comes!

So in the week when ocTEL is asking participants to design a learning activity, I have this environment and the changes needed in mind.

My activity is going to be for very new undergraduates to whom I introduce research and digital literacy skills. One of my favourite moments in (usually final year) tutorials is when I reveal to some poor student, struggling to find the memory stick or email on which they have their dissertation backed up, the wonders of cloud storage.

So I have decided to make this a key part of early undergraduate education.

The learning activity I have designed has some elements of group collaboration built in and relies on the students accessing the internet to read and discover, practice and reflect. (Absorb, Connect, Do)

If you would like to read through the activity - and better still participate in it - please visit this link:


  1. Hi Jane, Thanks for sharing this learning activity.
    It looks achievable in the time indicated. Why orient students to DropBox when you have used GoogleDrive for the collaborative instruction?


  2. Good point! I guess this way I give the students 2 for 1! But I also use Drive and Dropbox for different purposes - live collaboration AND synchronised storage available offline.

  3. so.... this comment from Jillian got me thinking and I now realise that Google Drive does exactly what DropBox does (synch files on all devices and cloud) AS WELL AS provide a platform for collaborative content creation.

    I am though reluctant to move all my work files over to Google drive, so I may still maintain this split between work I do in class and everything else... but certainly I will redesign the learning activity to focus on Google Drive.