Building an iLearn unit to support your compressed curriculum for Session 3 (S3) is challenging, whether you are redesigning an existing Session 1 or 2 unit or building it from scratch. Your S3 iLearn unit must suit the shorter five-week study period whilst still maintaining identical learning outcomes, equivalent assessment and student workload as S1 and S2. 

This guide provides strategies that you can apply when setting up your iLearn unit for Session 3.


Getting set up

During Oct/Nov or as early as possible you should start getting your iLearn unit ready:

    • Set up your unit guide and activate your iLearn unit in iTeach.
    • You can choose to copy your S3 unit from an existing unit or build from scratch.

More iTeach information


iLearn unit structure

When designing your iLearn unit to reflect a compressed curriculum, remember to apply the following principles:

  • Careful and thoughtful course design is critically important. If you have on-campus sessions, consider how your iLearn unit will complement these face-to-face sessions.
  • The learning outcomes must remain the same as Session 1 and 2 units.
  • Assessments must be equivalent.
  • Teaching and learning activities must provide the same opportunities for student learning.
  • Student workloads must be comparable in terms of hours spent.

What you can do in iLearn:

  • Decide how to structure your iLearn unit to best suit the course schedule and delivery mode.
  • If you have copied your unit from S1 or S2, you may need to change the unit structure, especially if the topics are divided up into 13 weeks.
  • Examine the content of your unit and consider which topics could be combined to for 5 weekly modules.
  • Consider alternative structures. For example:
    • Order content by Modules or Topics rather than Weeks.
    • Group content by function such as Course content, Reading material, Assessment, Useful weblinks, Practice quizzes, Forums etc.
  • If you use these alternative structures, make sure you provide clear instructions or guidelines to assist students to pace their learning appropriately so that they complete all the modules within the 5-week study period.
  • Clarify the role of the iLearn space in the unit. If you have moved more online, students must rely more on the iLearn unit to guide their approach to the whole course.
  • Label and order content and activities so there is a logical flow of what to do.
  • Highlight the current topic as you go.
  • Add Completion tracking checkboxes for students to track what they have done.

Setting expectations

You need to think carefully about what you can do to manage student expectations and your workload. What you can do in iLearn: 

  •  Make sure your Unit Guide is clear and informative in iTeach. 
  • Make as much content available as possible from the beginning. Provide clear guidelines on how students should pace their learning in order to cover all the required materials for each assessment task. 
  • Students need to know when and how teaching staff can be accessed. Consider creating a Block in your unit with staff contact details and availability. Add an HTML block and customise with your details. 
  • Establish a clear method for communication with students. E.g. Dialogue, forums, email, face-to-face. Decide which method to use and how often you will check and respond etc. 
  • Send regular Announcements to students advising upcoming events. 
  • More information on setting student expectations  (log in with OneID to access shared doc). 

Engaging students

It is important to engage and motivate students and to build a community within your unit, especially if you have moved more online. What you can do in iLearn: 

  • Prepare a welcome video to introduce yourself to your students and let them know what is expected from them during Session 3. You can record a video through Echo Personal Capture or other screen capture software you have available. 
  • Create a forum for frequently asked questions and encourage students to answer each other’s questions. 
  • Include online activities that enable students to contribute their ideas, interact with the content and communicate with their peers. Eg. Forums, blogs, wikis. 
  • Consider providing lecture content online so that face-to-face time can be used for interactive engagement with peers.  
  • Add a podcast of a short introduction to a lecture which is useful to highlight key elements of a pre-recorded semester lecture. 
  • Short video clips to highlight key elements. 

Online Assessment

You may need to adapt assessment tasks for the shorter timeframe of Session 3. You need to ensure students are up to speed quickly and have an understanding of the content of your course to complete tasks. Consider how the timing of assessment tasks impact on how students pace their learning. It may be appropriate to have regular assessments tasks that assist students in working consistently throughout the 5-week study period. What you can do in iLearn: 

  • Have an early diagnostic assessment such as a Quiz which will give the students immediate feedback. Refer to the various Quiz scenarios in the iLearn Quick Guides. If you have late student enrolments, you can use a Quiz overrides so they can still attempt it. 
  • Use online assignment submission tools in iLearn such as Turnitin or the Assignment activity so students do not have to come on campus to hand in assignments. The advantages for each activity are: 
    • Turnitin – Contains text-matching and Feedback Studio online feedback functions. Students login to iLearn and submit their assignment directly into a Turnitin assignment. You are then able to access submissions, originality reports and provide feedback all within iLearn. 
    • Assignment – Students submit their assignment in iLearn, but does not contain the text-matching function. 
    • Use online feedback tools to streamline marking such as Feedback Studio and Assignment: 
      • Feedback Studio – Is a product within Turnitin that facilitates online marking and feedback. You can provide feedback by adding QuickMark comments, writing comments directly onto the assignment page, general comments and rubrics. 
      • Assignments – You can return a grade, comments and upload a feedback file for students online. 

Flipped classroom

In a flipped classroom, students first study the topic online. The online environment provides more varied means to present lecture content to students. Short videos or ebooks can be followed by online activities such as a quiz or forum discussion that consolidate students understanding of the content. The online work prepares students for the on-campus session where they apply their knowledge by solving problems, doing practical work and engaging in more informed discussions with peers. In the classroom the teacher offers the students more personalised guidance and interaction, instead of lecturing. What you can do in iLearn:   

  • Pre-recorded video lectures. These could be recorded lectures from previous study periods that have been edited to fit your session 3 content. 
  • Create E-books of key concepts using the iLearn Book. 
  • Short quizzes or forum discussion questions based on the online content. 
  • Links to web pages with required readings. 
  • Embed videos and other digital resources. 
  • Links to files in your iLearn unit. 
  • Add a podcast of a short introduction to a lecture which is useful to highlight key elements of a pre-recorded semester lecture. 
  • Short video clips to highlight key elements.

Supporting students

Students have no time to waste with getting used to iLearn in Session 3. What you can do in iLearn: 

  • Include links to relevant iLearn Student Guides in the description of any activities you set up. 
  • Give students access to your iLearn unit before the start of session (where possible) so they have more time to familiarise themselves with the unit. 
  • Provide practice activities in iLearn so students can learn how they work. E.g. Practice quiz or assignment. 
  • Provide your students with information on where to get iLearn help. Students iLearn Help. 
  • Look out for students that are falling behind given the intensity of the session. You could use iLearn Insights reports to identify students who fail to complete early assessments. This could be followed by an email of encouragement to those on track or an email offering assistance for those falling behind. 

Technical issues and Help during Session 3

  • Log a ticket with OneHelp or email ilearn.help@mq.edu.au for all iLearn issues. 
  • The iLearn Staff Support channel will be monitored during the Christmas period on concessional days. During this time you should expect your query to have a first response within 24 hours. 
  • Avoid setting online assessment due dates (e.g. Turnitin) during the shutdown period if you can. In particular, avoid national public holidays such as Christmas Day as immediate help will not be available. 
  • Consider having backup plans and contingencies available if you do experience technical difficulties. For example, can you extend a due date or collect essays in another way in an emergency. Some examples are: 
    • Submit a Turnitin assignment on behalf of the student 
    • Deleting a Turnitin assignment 
    • Override due dates 
    • Deleting/resetting a quiz attempt 
    • Hiding or changing the due date 
    • Allow late submissions 

To avoid problems arising from your unit setup your faculty Learning Designer is available to check your unit once you have created it. Email ilearn.help@mq.edu.au or contact the Help desk to request a unit check-up. 

Posted by Jeremy Hind

Jeremy is the Learning Technologies Systems and Support Coordinator in the Learning Innovation Hub.

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