Business School Topics
A pilot project in the Business School is trialling universal access to a flipped learning approach.
The big first year unit, Marketing Management, has been redesigned to address the needs of students with learning challenges associated with active in-class learning and attendance.
A flipped learning approach delivers knowledge disseminated to students in a lecture online, and uses face-to-face lecture time as a workshop, to consolidate and extend understanding and skill through a range of learner-oriented activities.
Assistant Professor Shannon Johnston said these activities promoted deeper learning, and thus attendance was critical. In this unit, during the workshop, students participate in group activities, with around 400 students.
A problem arises for students who have learning challenges who find it difficult or impossible to attend or participate in social and interactive settings. A/Professor Johnston, from the Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, has collaborated with Assistant Professor Wade Jarvis, from the Business School, to overcome the limitations of this sort of class for remote students and those with disabilities.
Alternative means to ensure students identified through UniAccess have equal opportunity to participate were explored, and the preferred alternative was the online workshop. The second option was to use lecture capture of the workshop sessions coupled with asynchronous participation via discussion forum contributions.
This semester, 30 students have volunteered to be in a pilot online workshop group. It uses synchronous text contributions via the LMS chat tool and a shared google document.
"I was concerned whether people could think and type quickly enough to take part in real time," A/Professor Johnston said. "But it does potentially meet the needs of students struggling to physically attend class, those who are challenged by face to face interactions in social, active, group learning contexts and also simply those that want to be more efficient with their time and who are very good at learning via an online environment."
Anecdotal evidence from A/Professor Jarvis notes that the online version is successful: "In a 45 minute setting, up to 10 pages of content is co-produced, and the standard is on par or better than the work done in the face-to-face setting," he said.
"The whole approach addresses different student needs: students with autism may be challenged by the social setting but will better engage via text online; students with dyslexia would benefit from actively engaging in learning through group talk rather than writing or listening; hearing-impaired students can read text and participate in writing; and students with cognitive processing challenges can participate, and then revisit workshop experiences and content through the captured session and workshop class notes," said A/Professor Johnston. "The approach also potentially benefits students with a non-English speaking background who could review class experiences and content through these same multiple resources."
A/Professor Johnston and A/Professor Jarvis created this new form of teaching and learning with the support of a 2013 UWA Teaching and Learning Fellowship.
This article originally appeared in the May 2014 edition of UWA News.
Wade Jarvis (UWA Business School) (+61 8) 6488 7154