Working together in module design

Grafitti spray painted on a wall. It says 'Together we create'.
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By Amy Leon and Catherine Du Baret

High quality, online and distance education materials, building on a huge legacy of groundbreaking distance education. This is what Learning Designers and editors, working alongside academic colleagues, at the Open University shape and hone during the creation of new modules.

The Open University (OU) creates around 150 new modules each year, to sit alongside over 350 represented modules offered to students. The Learning Designer and Digital Development Editor roles are pivotal to the development and production of new modules and are involved right from the start, working alongside authors and faculty colleagues, to support and advise on plans. Other specialists, such as video and audio producers, interactive developers and graphic developers, are brought in at various points in the development, as and when they are needed. If you’re not familiar with Learner and Discovery Services (LDS) at the OU, LDS teams work closely with colleagues across the University to design, produce and deliver online and printed learning materials for students. This is a collaborative arrangement which engages our dedicated Learning Design, Learning Innovation, Development and Production, and Commissioning teams.

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Designing assessment for distance learners: what matters?

Photo of multi-coloured shoes on a beach
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By Katharine Reedy and Mark Williams

What is the most important feature of assessment for you and your students? This is a question we put to those present at the Assessment Design workshop our team led for the OU staff community in May 2021. The word cloud below shows that people thought that assessment should first and foremost be fair. They also believed it should be innovative, useful, interesting, challenging and enjoyable. Continue reading “Designing assessment for distance learners: what matters?”

Listening to students in real time: how feedback leads to success

Like all robust development processes, our learning design approach includes a number of opportunities to learn from feedback. One is our curriculum design student panel (aimed at capturing students’ views on learning design ideas before they’re live). Another is real-time student feedback (RTSF), which gathers feedback from students as they’re studying with the aim of ensuring they get the support they need. Short questionnaires focusing on recently studied topics are embedded into students’ online study planners so they can reflect and comment on their experiences and receive extra guidance based on their comments.

Our module teams can learn from RTSF too. In this post, we take a look at how students and module teams can benefit from RTSF and some of the impacts it’s making.

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Learning from practice: refreshing the OU activity types framework

The activity types framework – a categorisation of learning material into different types based on the student activity involved – is one of our core learning design tools. It shows, simply and accessibly, the variety of ways in which module teams can actively engage students with their subject content and skills development alongside reading, watching or listening. Continue reading “Learning from practice: refreshing the OU activity types framework”