CHANGING HOW WE TEACH TO ENHANCE UNDERGRADUATE LEARNING AND ENGAGEMENT
The aim of this presentation is to outline the process involved in a module redesign for a first year undergraduate BSc nursing degree programme. As part of a module titled ‘Perspectives on Nursing’, students are required to engage with theoretical concepts which explore nursing ethics; professionalism; nursing theory and models of nursing. This module is taught over a short intensive period, sandwiched between two periods of time when students are on their first nursing clinical placement.
Concern arose amongst the module co-coordinators that the overall student learning experience in the module was being compromised, with difficult theoretical content required to be delivered primarily via frequent didactic lectures to a large group (210 students). Low levels of regular attendance suggested that students were struggling to engage with and integrate theoretical content. Consequently it was decided to undertake a redesign of the module which would focus on increasing engagement with core concepts through development of learning materials, resources and activities, to encourage and support active student engagement, and increase levels of student self-directed learning over the semester.
Learning resources were developed and made available in Blackboard; the University’s online learning management system. Required pre-lecture learning activities and resources were posted online in Blackboard as preparation for face to face lectures. At scheduled lecture times, less time was spent lecturing and more time spent on in-class group activities, which were subsequently required to be summarised and posted in an online student journal. Feedback on journal posts was posted by the module co-coordinators on a weekly basis. Completion of an online journal over the teaching period was also an integral element facilitating student preparation for assessment. A module overview detailing learning outcomes; teaching approaches; learning resources; learning activities; and module assessment, was made available to students in Blackboard whilst on clinical placement so that they could engage with content at their own time and pace. This document also made explicit the learning activities, expected engagement, and student responsibility for their own learning throughout the semester.
On completion of the first cycle of the redesigned module, a notable increase in attendance at face to face lectures was apparent which remained consistent throughout the semester, with none of the peaks and troughs of attendance previously experienced. An analysis of learning analytics data sourced from the University’s online learning management system indicates that the module redesign has had a positive impact on student learning with evidence of regular engagement with required pre and post lecture online learning activities and a high completion rate for student journals. While response rates for module evaluation were low, for questionnaires returned, evaluation was positive.