When constructing your FLO topic there’s lots of different things to consider, discussions to be had and decisions to be made. To meet the expectations of today’s students, consistency is key. There are a range of changes you can make, some small and some larger, to evolve your topic in a positive direction. It’s worth considering that the majority of students inevitably study more than one topic at a time so working with your colleagues to make changes across an entire course will have a much greater impact on a student’s experience.
Within Online Learning and Teaching (OLT) we’ve done a lot of the hard thinking for you to create the FLO topic baseline. We’ve reviewed design principles whilst considering the Flinders University Learning and Teaching Principles and constructed seven guidelines to help you determine what improvements you could make to have a positive impact on your students and your topic. There’s lots of flexibility in how these guidelines can be implemented. The focus is on creating a better learning experience for your students and a more efficient teaching experience for you and your team.
Here are four tips to begin to highlight how many opportunities there are to make positive improvements to your topic:
Tip 1: Consider what your topic is linked to.
- Does it belong to one course or span multiple courses?
- Does it sit within a single college or span multiple colleges?
- Is there already a standardised structure for this/these courses you should follow?
- Has your college put together guidelines to follow?
- Are there other availabilities running at the same time?
- Should multiple availabilities be shared or kept separate?
These questions will help you determine how far reaching your topic is and if work has already been undertaken to introduce consistency in this area. Working together with your colleagues is key. Have a look at these pages for expanded tips.
Tip 2: Consider grouping the information your students will need.
- How will you welcome your students and give context to the topic?
- How will you orient them to the FLO topic, so they know what information they can find and where to find it?
- What information can be grouped together i.e. assessments, readings, communication etc?
- Is there information duplicated across topics which could be centralised on a course FLO site and linked to?
Here we concentrate on streamlining and focusing information to keep it in context and up to date. Have a look at these pages for expanded tips.
Tip 3: Consider who your students are.
- Undergraduate or postgraduate students?
- 1styears, 2nd years etc?
- Internal, external or online students?
- Can the teaching material be shared across all these cohorts?
- Are there new concepts that need to be introduced or skills to be scaffolded?
Answers to these types of questions will help you focus your efforts to ensure your teaching materials really hit the mark. Have a look at these pages for expanded tips.
Tip 4: Consider what tasks your students will need to do to be successful.
- How will your teaching content be broken up into small, manageable chunks?
- Is there anything your students need to do before they come to class?
- How will their classes be structured?
- Is there any follow up work they should do after class?
- How does the teaching content fit with the assessments?
Imagine having clear, unambiguous instructions that lead you on a path of discovery through the knowledge you’re thirsty for. Why not make that your students learning experience? Have a look at these pages for expanded tips.
Consistency within topics and courses is momentous. Visual, functional and terminology consistency allows students to quickly and easily feel confident. When students can see what’s available within their topic, know what the expectations are, and feel comfortable moving between topics they’re more likely to engage in a positive way.
A more in-depth discussion of these tips, along with suggestions of ways to implement changes, can be found in the eLearning Gateway. If you would like to discuss making changes to your FLO topic or would like guidance on any of the points raised, please contact your local Learning Designer. We’re always happy to talk through how you can utilise FLO to best meet your needs.
Written by Jackie Cornell
Learning Designer – CILT