Blended learning for large groups low impact approach

Low-impact approaches are where an online activity is added to an existing module. This page provides some example activities and highlights the technology skills you’ll need to meet common challenges when teaching large groups of students.

Don’t try to implement all of the solutions listed below or you will end up with a very bloated course. Pick a couple of solutions that meet your particular challenges. If you have already implemented a number of low-impact online activities into your module consider adopting a medium impact approach to identify which activities work best online and which face-to-face activities they should replace.

 Improve socialisation for large groups

It is difficult for students to feel a sense of community in large classes.

Solution

Technology skills required

Tips

Set up time required

Develop online ice-breakers  to encourage large group socialisation using Forums. Present results of ice-breakers using a wordle to provide a visual representation of the ice-breaker.

 Moodle Forums and Wordle .

Wordle is a free online tool that produces a visual word cloud.

For very large groups of students you might want to create groups and apply these groups to the Forums so that students aren’t overwhelmed with messages.

Provide information for students on how to switch off their Forum subscriptions so that they are not overwhelmed with emails from Moodle.

You can copy an RSS feed from your ice-breaker forum to produce a visual word cloud of the results using Wordle.

1 week to set up and time required to moderate.

 Assessing large groups of students

Use educational technology to provide fast and effective feedback to large groups of students.


Solution

Technology skills required

Tips

Set up time required

Model answers are presented to students using Moodle Resource with Restrict access settings after the due date of the assignment and once students have submitted an assignment.

Moodle Resource (PDF, Page or Video

) with Restrict access settings.

Consider adding audio to your model answer. Moodle enables you to record short audio clips into the text editor.

2-4 weeks.

An online Quiz can provide instant and personalised feedback to students based on their answers.

Moodle Quiz .

You might find the  confidence based marking useful to encourage students to self-assess their own progress in formative quizzes.

4 weeks.

To facilitate marking of large groups of students the offline grading worksheet in Moodle is a fast and effective way of returning grades and feedback to students.

Moodle assignment Offline grading worksheet. 


1 week and ongoing time for marking.

 It is difficult to measure progress and understanding in large groups

With assessments often at the end of the module it can be difficult to measure how students are progressing through the course.


Solution

Technology skills required

Tips

Set up time required

Set up an online One Minute Paper activity using the feedback activity to encourage students to feedback on the clearest part of the face-to-face session; the area they struggled with most and what they would have liked to discuss further during the face-to-face session. You can use the results of the One Minute Paper activity to inform your next face-to-face teaching session.

Moodle Feedback activity.

The Feedback activity can be set up as anonymous to encourage participation.

2 weeks to develop and ongoing time in terms of reviewing One Minute Paper activities.

An online Quiz can help students consolidate their knowledge and can provide you with information on areas of difficulty being experienced by students. You can provide instant and personalised feedback to students based on their answers.

Moodle Quiz

You might find  confidence based marking useful to encourage students to self-assess their own progress in formative quizzes.

4 weeks.

 Managing communication with large groups of students

Large groups of students can generate large email inboxes for lecturers.


Solution

Technology skills required

Tips

Set up time required

  1. Set up an FAQ Forum or FAQ Glossary that provides the answers to the most common student queries.
  2. Re-purpose any email advice you give to one student to the entire group using the FAQ forum.
  3. Encourage students to use the FAQ forum to ask questions rather than emailing.

Moodle Forum  or Moodle Glossary.  

Manage student expectations by clarifying how regularly you will be checking the Forum.

4 weeks and ongoing time commitment during the module to update FAQ Forum and FAQ Glossary.

 Managing communication and collaboration activities

It is difficult to encourage participation in large classes and provide all students an opportunity to discuss an issue and it can be intimidating for some students to speak out in front of a large group.


Solution

Technology skills required

Tips

Set up time required

Provide students with time to research and reflect on issues before providing their point of view by providing access to a Forum.

Moodle Forum with Groups and Groupings    for large cohorts.

  • Well structured Forums can help promote student engagement in the activity - see the three tips  for structuring Forums.
  • When structuring Forums bear in mind that students tend to engage in online communication activities for shorter periods of time, but more frequently.
  • Set clear guidelines with students about how they are to expected to interact with the Forum.
  • Manage student expectations by clarifying how regularly you will be checking the Forum.

4 weeks and ongoing time commitment during the module to moderate the Forum.

Next steps

Click on the link below to what resources are available to support you? to find how you can use this resource to develop your low-impact approach and what other resources are available to support you.


Blended learning home

What resources are available to support you?

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