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Blended Learning Examples

Weekly Tutorial Tasks for Large Cohorts

Weekly Tutorial Tasks for Large Cohorts

See it in action:

  • Providing clear instructions in a blog task

    Stanley Blue's instructions for the weekly tasks were both clear and detailed. Stanley provided further support by way of embedding help videos from Blackboard for students who were not familiar or confident with the technology.

  • Blackboard video on creating and editing blog entries

    Blackboard video on creating and editing blog entries

    Stanley blue embedded additional support materials for students unfamiliar with the technology required for the tasks.

Stan Blue, course convenor for the 1st year module SOCY 10452 Media, Culture & Society wanted to engage his large cohort of students in both tutorials and lectures. Working with the eLearning team through a process of learning design he settled on trialling a rotating weekly group task.

Students were assigned to a small task team (3 or 4 students) and each week the teams were required to respond to one of the three following Tutorial Tasks:

  • Provide a set of answers to the set tutorial questions (see below)
  • Give a short (no more than 300 words) summary of the Required Reading
  • Write a short (no more than 300 words) critical assessment of the Required Reading, in light of other reading you have done, further material presented in the lecture or from elsewhere in the course, or from anything in the Required Reading itself that does not add up, is contradictory etc.

Each week the tasks rotated between the teams. Responses were uploaded each week to the modules Blackboard site. Stan embedded a Blackboard help video on creating and editing blog entries to support students with the task. Tutors would review these postings and inform Stan of any groups needing extra support, and those who had posted exemplary responses. These exemplary postings were then highlighted in the whole course lectures as examples of good practice.

Benefits:

The tasks were designed to help students

  • focus their reading
  • develop skills in summarising and critically assessing texts
  • gain experience in working together in small teams over a period of time
  • by providing material for lecture recaps and revision
  • create a collective, student developed resource for revision and essay preparation.

Stan has said he likes this way of engaging students and sharing the workload. At the start of the course the students were contributing well. However the tasks met some resistance from both students and tutors. On reflection Stan thinks asking students to do this every week was too much for both the tutors and the students. If he were to employ this teaching and learning approach again Stan would reduce the frequency of postings to around 3 postings per group for the whole course.

Key Take-aways from the project:

  • The Blackboard blog tool can be used for group work responses
  • Embedding Blackboards own online videos is a quick way of supporting students and pre-empting technical issues
  • Don't overload students with a large number of small tasks
  • It is important to engage seminar tutors with both the design and ongoing management of tutorial tasks, and continue to monitor this throughout the module.