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SDUUP | Newsletter November 2020

THEME: itslearning - A Challenge to Get Started and Rethink Your Course

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.

Getting acquainted with an entirely new learning platform has not been without challenges for the teachers, who have pilot tested itslearning. Especially getting started on setting up your course and understanding all of the functions and possibilities of the platform has taken the teachers some time.

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). She tells us that the many new options in itslearning and its limitations compared to Blackboard mean that building courses in itslearning has to be rethought.

For me, the biggest challenge of itslearning has been to rethink how I wanted to organise my course. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how my structure could support learning – but there is clearly an advantage to gain if you do it right from the beginning. When you set up your course in itslearning, you can easily copy it into a new course and reuse it the next time you are teaching the course. Because of the way I set up my course all I have to do is change the dates and update the course material, when I am going to teach the course again.

Another teacher, who has encountered some challenges during the pilot test, is Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen, who teaches Information Gathering on Classical Studies. Just like Anne, he has found itslearning to be an intuitive system and has easily gotten started on using it. On the other hand, he encountered some challenges when he wanted to move his teaching material from Blackboard to itslearning.

A part of my teaching material could be transferred from Blackboard without problems. However, when it came to materials such as interactive exercises in Blackboard, I was forced to create them all over again. Although this was a setback, the function for creating them in itslearning was easy to use.

Tønnes, backed up by 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 that if you choose to use itslearning in Danish, you have to be careful. Many of the Danish terms used on the platform are not direct translations of the English terminology. Tønnes has experienced this as a problem when trying to guide people in using the platform, people who had chosen another language than himself. Therefore, Jan actually recommends that you use the English version of the platform.

Editing was completed: 13.11.2020