About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 713-720
Publication year: 2019
ISBN: 978-84-09-14755-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2019.0223

Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain

FIRST EXPERIENCES OF IMPLEMENTING BLOCK MODE TEACHING IN AN UNDERGRADUATE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEGREE

G. Tan, S. Pradhan, A. Venables

Victoria University (AUSTRALIA)
Recently, [our University] mandated that all undergraduate programs, regardless of discipline, deliver their first year units as small-class, intensive one-unit-at-a-time block teaching. This declaration was made as a response to pressures including digital transformation, national regulation, and changes in student expectations of delivery. Within [our University], the focus continued to be on improving provision standards, student success and retention rates.

This change in teaching approach required a fundamental rethink of teaching pedagogies, curriculum design, assessment and learning strategies. The approach is cognizant of students’ difficulties in transition, their differing backgrounds and needs for learning support. Essentially, the teaching program changed from traditional semester delivery of several units simultaneously to a one-unit-at-a-time block mode and a semester comprised of four units taught sequentially. Each unit content was designed by a targeted team of professional staffs decided by the key specialist academics, librarians, Technology Enhanced Learning Instructor, and Coordinator for Connected Learning. The design was achieved through several iterations and at the end of this process, each unit’s contents and assessments were peer-reviewed by academics and industry stakeholders.

This paper describes the impact of this institutional wide approach on the delivery of the Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) by reporting on the first iteration of the block delivery model in the first year units. An empirical comparison is made of performances of students under previous traditional semester versus block modes by looking at cohort academic performances within our undergraduate program. In particular, the results of three units of study deemed to be more technical and challenging in nature to first year students.

Across the BIT program, a positive shift in academic performances across all first year units was seen. The final results of cohorts are higher for student taught under block mode compared to the results of students who undertook the same units in the traditional model. This improvement varied from unit to unit within the program, from 1% increase to 21%. Closer examination in each case, showed there to be a noticeable shift to the higher grades for each block cohort. The intentional redesign of units to employ strategies to remediate student difficulties may be one reason for these successes. With some evidence, we hypothesize this is due to students being more actively engaged under the new delivery with increased levels of attendances, more intimate class sizes, improved student engagement fostered by regular formative assessments and higher overall course satisfaction scores, resulting in a decrease in failure rates and an overall shift to better grades within the cohort.
@InProceedings{TAN2019FIR,
author = {Tan, G. and Pradhan, S. and Venables, A.},
title = {FIRST EXPERIENCES OF IMPLEMENTING BLOCK MODE TEACHING IN AN UNDERGRADUATE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEGREE},
series = {12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2019 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-14755-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2019.0223},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2019.0223},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {11-13 November, 2019},
year = {2019},
pages = {713-720}}
TY - CONF
AU - G. Tan AU - S. Pradhan AU - A. Venables
TI - FIRST EXPERIENCES OF IMPLEMENTING BLOCK MODE TEACHING IN AN UNDERGRADUATE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEGREE
SN - 978-84-09-14755-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2019.0223
PY - 2019
Y1 - 11-13 November, 2019
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2019 Proceedings
SP - 713
EP - 720
ER -
G. Tan, S. Pradhan, A. Venables (2019) FIRST EXPERIENCES OF IMPLEMENTING BLOCK MODE TEACHING IN AN UNDERGRADUATE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEGREE, ICERI2019 Proceedings, pp. 713-720.
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