Facilitating students in coming to class better prepared
Subject: Grondslagen 2 Openbare Ruimte en het Publieke Gebouw (BK2GR2)
Academic year: 2019-2020
Period: 1st year Bachelor
Field of study: Bachelor Bouwkunde
Credits: 5 ECTS
Faculty: Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
For this course we wanted to help students getting to class better prepared, so that they would have more time during class to engage with the subject matter and so that they would be able to do a more extensive analysis at the end of the lecture.
In collaboration with a learning developer we exensively analysed the course design and changed it where needed. The new setup of te course and the contents have been worked out further by 2 coordinators and 2 supplementing course referants. After this, in a smaller team which included a student assistant, we started working on the assignments offered in this course.
We added a lot of structure for students. We scheduled the viewing of a video in the course roster for every Monday. In the first 2 weeks of the course we showed the video during the lecture, to get the students familiar with this way of working. We made the viewing of these videos a prerequisite for participating the class offered on Friday in that same week and we clearly added this to the study manual. And finally, we planned the self study moments in MyTimetable.
Because we started with the online tutorials for the weekly assignments on each Monday, we found that students came to class better prepared on Friday. Students had time to dive more deeply into the assignments and subject matter which resulted in more extensive anslyses at the end of the assignment. This helped students to get more time to work on their assignment while in class.
The new setup and the online tutorials led to the instructors having to spend less time explaining the contents of the tutorials in class, and left more time for more engaging support and guidance. The instructors liked the collaboration with fellow teachers and indicated that it resulted in better alignment on for example the use of definitions or terms. So in the end, the effort we put into this course resulted in a quality impulse for this course.
For us, the main advantage – apart from the fun we had doing it – was that we were able to redesign and redevelop the assignments anew, making them better, instead of reusing what we had always used before. Rethinking and recording the videos of the different projects took us a lot of time, also because along the way we had to improve the assignments. In student evaluations we see that it really helped students. And we do notice that it goes faster now that we are working on preparations for the follow up course.
However we did hear a lot that our students actually held on strongly to the approach described in the videos, where we would eventually rather see students adding more creativity in their approach.
We have been very well supported by the New Media Center in recording videos for 2 projects and 5 weekly assignments. These videos were embedded in Brightspace.
In new course runs we will only show the first part of each video about the weekly assignments, the part which they struggle with most. This is to prevent students from exactly copying the approach they saw in the video. In the next course run we might want to add some content explaining that students can find more explenations from their analyses.