David Briggs from Essex Pathways is determined to ensure students are still inspired by their studies and stay engaged with their learning despite the impact of COVID-19.
He’s received an Excellence in Education Award for his work to deliver a high-quality online learning experience to support students both on and off campus.
David, who is Director of Blended Learning and Digital Innovation in Essex Pathways, developed the Moodle Education Journey project to ensure students could get the most from their Essex Pathway law modules whether they were studying online or on-campus.
Moodle is an online platform which allows students to access resources via a PC, tablet or smartphone. David focused in on using Moodle to promote knowledge acquisition, the overall university experience and building communities of learners, colleagues, academics and friends.
He worked with colleagues to use our existing knowledge of using Moodle to make the online learning journey as intuitive as possible. He also looked to embed interactivity to encourage engagements and emphasised accessibility to improve success rates while building a larger online learning community.
He said: “Feedback showed that remote students wished to feel a connection not only to the University¸ but the people within it. As a result we created introductory videos providing welcome talks and journey directions were included at the beginning of all modules.
“This not only connected the students with the academic team, from the outset, but also provided the opportunity to immediately introduce the students to the new learning model.”
Interactive learning tools were embedded into the Moodle modules to allow students to self-assess their learning using the Genially and Educaplay platforms.
David said: “As the model progressed from development to implementation, we decided to seek weekly and termly feedback from the students on the key aspects of the model, so as to allow us to quickly respond to student issues and concerns.”
Pre-recorded content meant less potential disruption due to COVID cases within the staff community and allowed students the flexibility of viewing the content at the best time for them, either outside of work, or other commitments, such as caregiving.
The Moodle Books tool was used to break the content down into manageable chunks, but also to ensure student engagement as they have to click through the video content.
Recorded content and online activities were followed up with seminars to allow learners to discuss their learning with fellows students and academics.
Students were also directed to further reading and could request additional academic materials to be added to the online materials to assist their learning.
Student feedback scores were up on previous years with students particularly positive about the quality of Moodle resources and the organisation and structure of teaching. Student assessment scores were also higher.
David said: “I was really pleased to see the number of students who rated the modules as ‘Excellent’ and ‘Good’. I’m also really positive that the students appreciated that we gave them the chance to discuss the changes we made and we were able to show them we listened to them and took action to improve the student experience.”