Making learning materials available to students II

See also the first edition of this post, Making learning materials available to students

At the  Second METAL workshop (tomorrow!) there will be a group discussion at the end. Here are some suggestions for questions to think about which could feed into this discussion. In these questions I am typically thinking of my own use of videos (screencasts) of lectures along with the PDF files I produced during classes by annotating my PDF slides. However the same questions apply to some extent to almost any materials we make available (but possibly with different answers!).

For several of these questions I am aware of pros and cons for each possible answer.

  • What do we think are  some of the “best” ways to use supporting materials when teaching?
  • What are the best uses, if any, for previous years’ materials?
  • Generally students claim to be happier when more materials are made available to them. But how can we measure how “successful” this provision of materials is?
  • Are we satisfied as long as at least some of the students appear to benefit from the materials we provide?
  • Which students do we hope will benefit from the provision of additional resources: All students? The best students? The weakest students? The mid-range students? The hard-working students? The not-so-hard-working students?
  • Does (or can) the provision of materials contribute directly to engagement with the module?
  • When a comprehensive set of module materials is available, some students may put off working until it is too late to catch up. How can we and should we address this issue?
    For example, if suitable, one could consider using frequent multiple-choice, machine-marked, class tests in order to keep people on their toes.
  • Should materials be made available immediately after classes, or is slow/delayed release better?
  • What do we care about most: good student evaluations, good exam results, or an improvement in the level of understanding some or most of our students attain? How closely linked are these things?
  • Are standard lectures necessary or desirable when a complete set of video lectures and notes for the module is already available? Or is it more efficient/effective to incorporate existing materials into some alternative teaching style/methodology?



One response to “Making learning materials available to students II

  1. Hi Joel
    Have you heard about Stanford’s online AI course, taught by director of research at Google, and also freely available to anyone in the world to participate?
    The course makes interesting use of video with quizzes and assignments (The online element is primarily delivered via video). Seb Schmoller, chief executive of the Association for Learning Technology, is enrolled on the course and gives feedback in his blog:


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