The journey from a traditional lecture-based module in Air Pollution to online delivery

Curran, Thomas, Murphy, Gerry and Northridge, James (2014) The journey from a traditional lecture-based module in Air Pollution to online delivery. In: The 15th Educational Technology Conference of the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA). May 29th and 30th, UCD, Dublin, Ireland.


This paper outlines the conversion of a traditional lecture-based module in Air Pollution to an online format. The module was offered as an elective for a number of programmes at University College Dublin including a new online masters. It was considered most appropriate to have a mix of strategies to enhance the learning experience. A great deal of effort was spent on deciding the best delivery mode (screencast technology) and assessment (multiple choice questions, group project and written exam) approach over a 12-week semester. The format was chosen after consulting the literature and colleagues who had recently delivered online content. The aim was to have engaging content and build an online community though a discussion forum (Yeh 2010). Articulate Replay was chosen as the main tool for delivery of screencasts because it facilitated presentation of PowerPoint slides and integrated video, although editing capability was limited. Echo360 Personal Capture and livescribe have also been used for content delivery. The learning materials were uploaded to the HEAnet Media Hosting service and made available to students from the Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment in a set learning sequence. Each topic was followed by a MCQ with a weekly deadline. A live web chat in the form of questions and answers (Q & A) was organised every two weeks using Blackboard Collaborate to deal with any student queries on content and the project. Two lecturers delivered the content and a teaching assistant provided technical support, particularly with organising the live Q & A sessions. The amount of time needed to prepare the learning materials was severely underestimated - with up to five times more time required than initially estimated. Over 50 people took the module including on-campus students in Semester 2 of the current academic year and some preliminary feedback has been received.

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