In the final days of September, Annette and Shoshi from the ELU attended the first Virtual MoodleMoot, to learn how institutions around the world are using Moodle (the platform behind QMplus).
Session topics ranged from ‘Engaging students’ to ‘integrity of assessment’ to ‘Video Capture and Virtual Classrooms.’ The focus, naturally was on the current crisis, with representatives from the OU sharing insights from their current distance learning delivery, while the majority of the other participants came from institutions in a similar situation to Queen Mary. In all sessions, the question of mass upscaling in online provision was addressed and there was a lot to take away and feed into our ELU current practice and plans for the 2020/21 academic year.
- Moodle (QMplus) can be used effectively to support consistency and best practice learning design for remote delivery. This is the approach taken at QMUL though our new QMplus course template, so it was very validating to see the hard work that went into this being matched and applauded across the sector.
- It is very important for the student experience to have resources released and available ahead of time. Although students recognise this is a burden of work on staff, seeing what work is scheduled helps students plan out their work and feel in control of their studies in these very uncertain times.
- Increased staff training has been necessary to upskill those new to remote delivery. The aim is to take this further, from ‘training’ to ‘development,’ facilitating and making space for reflection and for staff to learn new skills and push their teaching further. The ELU is developing advanced workshops for staff looking to develop their basic skills with QMplus Quizzes and Assignment, and we will also continue to work with the Queen Mary Academy so that provision can be joined up. For example, the training in the ELU’s ‘Run webinars with BB Collaborate’ (ELUCV03) CPD session is developed in the Queen Mary Academy’s ‘Interactivity in Online Teaching’ (QMAV01) workshop. Both of these and all of the ELU’s and Queen Mary Academy’s sessions can be booked through the CPD booking system.
- Now is an exciting, if challenging, time to be reimagining assessment. While there are systems and technologies to help replicate the traditional invigilated exam experience for remote student, there are also existing tools for making assessment more innovative and authentic. For example, using webcams not for invigilation, but for video assessment where students need to present answers instead of writing them down (a form of assessment that addresses the need for identification and can combat essay mills at the same time). These changes cannot be made overnight, but it is very interesting to hear about the huge innovation across the sector and the shift in assessment focus that has taken place over the past months.