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SDUUP | Newsletter November 2020

THEME: itslearning - A Great and More Pedagogical Tool for Students Once They Get to Know It

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, 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 teachers who have pilot tested itslearning explain that the students embraced the platform once they got to know it. The teachers’ experience is that the platform sets itself apart from Blackboard by being more pedagogical and holding the student’s hand more. They get a better overview of the course and what is expected of them – but the students need to be introduced to the system before they can take advantage of these benefits.

Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen, who teaches Information Gathering on Classical Studies, mentions an important difference between Blackboard and Itslearning when it comes to the relationship between the teacher and the students:

In itslearning, we take a further step into the students’ sphere. The platform is based on Plans and this makes the teachers responsible for structuring the students’ work. As teachers, we take over some of the students’ responsibility for structuring their own work process, and itslearning hold the student’s hand a bit more. This obviously means a little more work for the teachers – but on the other hand, it is also a huge help to the students.

During the pilot testing, Anne Mølgaard Nielsen, who has used the platform in a practice-based course on the second semester of Clinical Biomechanics (Chiropractor), has been getting feedback from her students on their experience with itslearning:

When testing itslearning, I chose to just let my students experience the platform for themselves, in order to find out if itslearning is actually intuitive for students. From the feedback I got, I can overall say that itslearning is more accessible for the students and it is a good tool when the students are preparing for class.

On the other hand, the students have experienced some difficulties in navigating the platform. Thus, I find it important to introduce the students to the platform in order for them to get used to it. When you get started, the platform tends to be intuitive – so if you show students how to use it and introduce them to the structure, I believe that the students can gain a lot from the switch to itslearning. A good piece of advice for teachers is to also give students a brief introduction to the structure of each individual course in itslearning.

Jens Peter Jensen, who has pilot tested itslearning in the course Latin 1A on the Religion programme, points especially to the overview, which itslearning provides for students, as an important advantage of the platform:

The good thing about itslearning is that as a student, you can easily follow the lectures week by week. When the students open the course, they immediately get a quick overview of the plan for the week but also of which topics, we are going to touch upon during the course, which texts they are to read, and which exercises and assignments they are to complete. In Resources, the students can find their entire curriculum. This overview makes it easier for the students to keep track of how the course develops during the semester.

Jo Hermann, who has tested itslearning in the courses Communication & Writing and The Cultural and Literary Institution has a different view than Jens Peter on the overview for the students in itslearning.

My experience is that the students have a hard time getting an overview of the entire course in itslearning, when they need to relocate material for use in the exam. For this purpose, I chose to use the classic course plan, which I believe is still necessary when you use itslearning. On the other hand, I find it very positive that itslearning is a more integrated for the students than Blackboard.

Editing was completed: 13.11.2020