Using an evidence informed approach to create online learning resources


The Plant Sciences Pedagogy Project began in the autumn of 2005 sponsored by the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI). The project objectives within the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge were twofold: to conduct research into undergraduate teaching and learning within the Department; and to develop online resources to support student learning. The research focused on the second year ‘Part IB Plant & Microbial Sciences’ (IB PMS) Course. A combination of focus groups, dual-scale questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were used to gauge both student and staff opinions on, attitudes towards, and expectations of, teaching on the IB PMS course. This resulted in a solid evidence base, with several key themes emerging that were confirmed by multiple approaches. This evidence base was then used to inform and shape the construction of the students’ course site and the new resources to be housed within it. The site was developed in the Universities’ adaptation of the Sakai Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) platform, known as CamTools, for which technical support was provided by Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET). There can be a strong temptation to use all the options offered by available information technology for their own sake and CamTools is rich in pre-programmed software ‘tools’. Therefore the evidence informed approach was adopted to identify appropriate tools for implementation. The CamTools/Sakai online environment proved to be extremely versatile and allowed the development of bespoke online learning resources for students; this resulted in an online learning environment which best matched the needs of the course and its students

    Similar works