This week we spoke to Dr Gaurav Gupta, who teaches Introduction to Computer Programming (COMP115, WCOM115) and Fundamentals of Computer Science (COMP125, WCOM125). The units are introductory computer science units, providing a practical introduction to programming concepts, the this iLearn Open House is featuring COMP115.
Dr Gaurav Gupta makes use of short videos in iLearn, supplementary to lecture content and tutorials. His videos for these units are around 12 minutes long, however from other experiences he sees benefit in keeping videos 2-4 minutes long so that students can watch them on the go – on buses and trains. Longer videos are kept on his YouTube channel, which he provides links to in his unit. Different to lectures, the videos are an effective mechanism to enrich student experience in limited time. Using a combination of Camtasia Studio, Airserver and Notability, Dr Gupta has discovered a way that works well for him to annotate while taking screen captures of demonstrations for his students.
Dr Gupta finds the use of providing a screencast to demonstrate the outcome of an assignment as an efficient way to preemptively answer student questions and reduce the need to over-specify assignments.
Dr Gupta explained that every lecturer needs to experiment to find what works for them, keeping in mind that after 3 – 5 years all content should be discarded to start again – in his discipline anyway.
Most Underrated iLearn Tool?
Dialogue Utility is used by Dr Gupta almost like a ticketing system in his iLearn unit; a separate and unique communication channel. He strongly recommends using this feature, which he discovered in 2017 whilst experimenting with iLearn utilities. Rather than students contacting a lecturer directly by email, students can ask questions, including uploading files and the lecturer can respond. The dialogue can then be closed once it is complete with a record keep in iLearn.
How do you make the most of iLearn?
Student ownership of the platform and working as a community is what makes iLearn work well – especially in the discussion forums. You have to invest time into getting to know iLearn, if you want to maximise the benefits and value for your students.
Dr Gupta organises his iLearn unit into modules with short videos embedded in each module so that students do not need to exit the website to watch content. Each Module of the unit is broken down into subsections, with images next to the headings making Modules easy to navigate – an example of this below:
A handy unit schedule is provided at the top of the page to give a quick snapshot of assignment due dates, upcoming tests and lecture topics.
To access Dr Gupta’s units or any opened unit, in the right side of your iLearn home page, you’ll see a search block – enter a unit code or keyword.