Providing an active online learning environment in Animal Behaviour courses

Short Description

With this innovation project we want to optimize effective learning and student engagement in a course with large and growing student numbers, by providing an active online learning environment that offers interaction with real-life research material and the opportunity to develop general learning skills.

The students in the Animal Behaviour course have different entry-levels, requiring the course to compromise on the speed and type of content. Assessment of common knowledge gaps during the courses and addressment via online videos and tutorials will permit more in-depth practicals and lectures.

Finally, facilitating effective group work in a course with any students is always a challenge. Providing online interactive tools such as peer assessment of reports will give students more opportunity to actively learn from each other and gain experience in giving and receiving feedback (critical friends).

Objective

We aim to stimulate, facilitate and optimize learning in a course which has a large and growing number of students by providing an active online learning environment. 

Strong Points

Based on a survey with all students, we made changes in the course for an active online learning environment. The course now has:

  • a completely new tutorial in science writing with online questions and activities;
  • explanatory movies about the background of the practical;
  • explanatory movies about methods of data collections and science writing;
  • short movies high lightening some lecture topics (these movies were developed within the framework of our Mooc)
  • changed the exam to QMP level and along this line developed a QMP based short test exam
  • Working sheet for uploading to better standardize the practical work;
  • practical entry quiz.

Recommendations

Further optimization is possible by:

  • optimizing small details;
  • move online tools to home work assignments allowing more room for discussion in the tutorials;
  • include peer assessment.

Teachers of courses with large and growing student numbers could:

  • Objectively assess the needs of the course;
  • Make online videos and develop additional online interactive student assignments (such as peer assessments) that are directly applicable to the course;
  • Get training in online tools and talk to lectures who already are more advanced in such tools;
  • Contact Marc Naguib (marc.naguib@wur.nl) for more recommendations.

Products

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