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SDUUP | Newsletter November 2020

THEME: itslearning - An Intuitive Platform for Teachers and Students Alike

We interviewed some of the teachers who have pilot tested itslearning throughout the fall semester of 2020 to get some insights into their experiences with the platform, along with some good advice for when the rest of SDU starts using the platform in the spring semester of 2021. In this month’s newsletter, you can read a series of articles, in which the teachers share their positive experiences with itslearning, the challenges of the platform, itslearning’s impact on the students – and last but not least, an array of tips and tricks for teachers, who are getting ready to set up their courses in itslearning.

In general, the pilot testing teachers have experienced itslearning as intuitive and easy to use. Furthermore, compared to Blackboard, the platform provides better ways to interact with the students along with faster and easier access to course materials and learning activities.

One of the pilot testers is Anne Mølgaard Nielsen, who has used the platform in a practice-based course on the second semester of Clinical Biomechanics (Chiropractor). Anne tells us that her experience with testing itslearning has been good.

Stepping into itslearning has been a fantastic journey for me – once I got started and understood the structure of the platform. Overall, I find itslearning very intuitive. Furthermore, it gives me better options for interacting with the students. If you have a lot of different learning elements in your course, it is easy to guide the students through itslearning – along with this, they do not have to use multiple different platforms to access the elements. In a practically-oriented course like the one in which I pilot tested, this is a great advantage, because links give the students easy access to all the necessary materials.

Whereas Blackboard in some courses has mostly been used for sharing files and announcements with the students, I hope to see far more pedagogical tools used in itslearning, because you can integrate all of the course’s content on the platform. In itslearning, the study guide is actually somewhat integrated in the system through Plans.

Another teacher, Jan Petersen, who has used itslearning in the semester project and the course Electronics and Circuit Technology on the MSc in Engineering (Robot Systems), mentions the great accessibility as an advantage of Itslearning, just like Anne.

The interface of itslearning is a bit more up-to-date than the one in Blackboard and does not seem as clunky. The platform itself is easily accessible, and it is simple to set up your course and upload material to the platform. When working in itslearning, you get results quickly as it provides you with a ready-made structure to build your course around. Furthermore, I find the integration with Microsoft’s programs to be a great tool for students.

Just like Jan Petersen, Jo Hermann views the integration with Microsoft’s programs as an advantage of itslearning. She has tested the platform in two different courses. Just like the other teachers, she mentions that itslearning sets itself apart from Blackboard as it is more intuitive and up-to-date.

In general, itslearning is a better integrated platform for the students. One of the functions I have been the most excited about, is the project room, where groups of students can work together in the same documents in their own room directly in itslearning. They work on the documents through Microsoft Word, which is integrated in itslearning. At the end of the lesson, all the groups can put their findings into a shared document, which I can then show on the board.

Jens Peter Jensen, who has pilot tested itslearning in the course Latin 1A on the Religion programme, shares the other teachers’ views on itslearning as an easy-to-use platform. Furthermore, he highlights the instant message function as an important function.

itslearning can easily support my courses and I am certainly able to see, what makes the platform pedagogical. My students tell me that one of the advantages of itslearning is that they always know what is expected of them, and what their next step is. The fact that the platform is more pedagogical than Blackboard has a significant impact on the teaching environment in my courses. Thus, itslearning is a help to both the students and to myself.

Furthermore, I like the instant message function, which has been heavily used in my course. With the current teaching conditions, it is a great advantage that the students can write to me and tell me, if they will show up physically for the class. This means that I know in advance whether we can fulfill the safety distance requirements of the room or not. I like very much that I am able to answer the students directly in itslearning instead of having to write to them by e-mail.

Editing was completed: 13.11.2020