GOOD PRACTICE GUIDANCE
- Students are more likely to engage in asynchronous tasks when they are designed to complement live teaching and signposted in Module Roadmaps/Weekly Plans,
- Before deploying asynchronous learning activities, check that your Blackboard module meets threshold standards; the guidelines help students to navigate activities outside of live teaching, find related resources and focus on learning (rather than administrative tasks). For example, you should group resources into clearly named/dated folders and ensure all content is logically labelled
- Download the CQSD adapted eTivities checklist and use it to inform design and running of asynchronous activities. This resource draws on principles from the eTivities framework, encouraging participation through: creation of ‘invitations’ through instructions, effective modelling of activity and dialogue, planning appropriate instructor interventions.
For further information about design guidance, Gilly Salmon talks through the original eTivities framework in her video ‘Creating invitations for eTivities’ and provides a summary of the framework/benefits to asynchronous engagement in ‘Designing eTivities’.
The information below gives a ideas for using learning technologies to deliver asynchronous activities. If looking for adaptations to enable different delivery modes, see these common learning activities translated into asynchronous, live online and live-person teaching scenarios.
A full list of approved technologies is displayed on the Designing Learning Activities homepage.
When providing activity instructions, remember that students are motivated to engage when they can ‘see’ and ‘hear’ their lecturer. Consider referring to learning activities in your screencasts. See ‘Making Screencasts’ for more tips about this format when supplementing activities with short recordings.
- Alongside screencasts, it is advisable to use a mix of information formats to keep students engaged. Other information formats could include a Blackboard Talis Reading List, resources from LinkedIn Learning and recordings from Box of Broadcast (BoB). Your subject liaison librarian can assist you in selecting UoR learning resources for your module.
- You can ask students make their own videos and share these with you through OneDrive (if it is an assessed submission, see Assessment: Using OneDrive for file submission). Instructions for students to create and submit video material available via the Blackboard student support site and there is further staff guidance about moving presentations online if you are considering asking students to record and submit presentation activities.
Journals provide a tool for ongoing reflection, for example, a student can keep a journal as the module unfolds or when analysing topics over a longer period of time.
- Consider using a Blackboard Discussion Forum to allow students to post questions prior to live teaching; giving you time to collate answers and promote peer reflection on activities. See Designing Learning Activities: Discussion Forums for guiding principles to effectively run this type of activity with your students.
- Blackboard Wiki is a collaborative content creation exercise where students research together to produce a series of small curated webpages on Blackboard.
- Blogs are reflective spaces for students to write about things they've been learning, researching or discussing in other areas of their learning.
- All staff and students have access to O365, which provides a variety of options for running collaborative authoring activities, such as OneNote (for shared note-taking) and PowerPoint Online (for shared presentations and posters)
It is important to acknowledge and/or respond to students completing learning activities, to sustain motivation and check progress. You could do this during contact hours and/or you may decide to provide asynchronous feedback, for example:
- via participation in an online activity (such as responding to posts in a discussion forum)
- setting up a submission point. Please note, graded submission links are set up by support centres, however, if your activity does not count towards accreditation (i.e. it is informally assessed/reviewed) then you can set up submission points to collate and respond to student activities.
Examples of submission points:
- You could ask students to upload files through an ungraded Blackboard Assignment submission point, located in the content areas of your course. If you are not able to respond to all submissions, you could take a sample and provide a screencast summary of feedback themes.
- Turnitin submissions can be set up for peer feedback. If the Turnitin assignment is not for summative assessment, and you don’t want the Similarity Index to muddy the waters, untick all the Search Options in the Optional Settings.
- Note: student responses to Blackboard authoring tools (Wiki, Blog, Journal and Discussion Board) are accessed via Blackboard and do not require a separate submission point to be viewed/marked.