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How to develop a Flexible module

NTU is committed to creating opportunity for all our students through weaving face-to-face and online learning seamlessly across all our courses. This five-stage process has been created to support Module Leaders to develop flexible learning that meets the Quality Matters standards and offer an engaging experience for students.

Before work on your module can start, please read NTU’s Learning and Teaching Planning Framework document to understand the requirements you will need to work within. You will also need to meet with your course team and get a clear idea of the face-to-face time and rooming that will be available for your module in October. When this has been done, you can engage with the Flex module development process:

  1. Submit a ‘Module development form
  2. Create a ‘Module map’ and ‘Persona documents’
  3. Attend a one-hour module development workshop
  4. Submit exemplar content
  5. Create/reformat your content

Once you have completed Steps 1-3 of the Design phase above, your Learning Room will be created and set up with NTU’s new 2020/21 NOW learning room layout and the module team will be enrolled for you to start Step 4, creating the exemplar content.

Step One: Submit a 'Module Development Form'

Submit a Module development form with all the key module information. The following will be useful:

  • Module Specification
  • Module Handbook (if available)
  • Module launch date
  • Schedule of on-campus delivery for blended module and delivery details (if applicable)
  • Module Team availability
  • Technology requirements for students
  • Assessment information and assessment briefs

You will also be asked to confirm the following:

  • You have read and agree to the Learning and Teaching Framework
  • You have read and agree to the Online learning principles (coming soon)
  • A course-level planning meetings has been held and you understand how this module fits into the wider course plan
When completing your module development form, you may want to write your answers to longer questions in a separate Word document. You can then copy and paste these answers into the form. This will ensure nothing gets lost if something happens to your internet connection.

We’ll aim to have a Learning Designer contact you within 72 hours.

Autumn term modules are our priority at present, so please delay submitting the form if your module begins later than this.

Step Two: Create a student persona and module map

After submitting the Module Development Form, a Microsoft Teams channel will be created for your module. This is your one-stop-shop for the module development process. Here you can communicate with your assigned Learning Designer in the channel and find all the key documentation you’ll need to complete this process.

This step requires you to create a student persona and a module map. Guidance on how to do this is available on the Module design guidance page.

Your Learning Designer will schedule a one-hour development workshop.

Once your Teams channel has been created and a Learning Designer has been in touch, you’ll need to Open the Module map (Excel document) template within the channel (click the document linked in the Teams channel conversation, or find it in the Files area).

Once you’ve created the student personas and completed your module map, post a message in the Teams channel to let your Learning Designer know. Ensure you’ve completed these in good time before the one-hour workshop, otherwise we may need to reschedule.

Step Three: Attend a one-hour development workshop

Attend a one-hour workshop with your Learning Designer to review your module map and the approaches you'll take in the development and setup of your module. Your assigned Learning Designer will make suggestions, answer questions, and point you to additional online guidance.

Step Four: Submit exemplar content

Before you start creating the bulk of your content, submit exemplar content most relevant to your module - see the guidance in the next step for content-creation instructions. Upload this to the Teams channel as soon as possible after the workshop and let your Learning Designer know when this is done. We’ll check it and provide feedback to help you in the next stage.

Step Five: Create/reformat your content

After your Learning Room has been set up, and you have received feedback on your exemplar content, it's time for you to begin creating your learning resources. You might consider the following:

1) Create narrated PowerPoint mini-lecture videos

Refer to our PowerPoint template to help ensure your slides are accessible. Keep text to a minimum and ensure you have permission to publish any images you use (unsplash.com is a great resource for free-to-use images). You can record videos in Panopto or PowerPoint - see links to detailed guidance below.

Upload videos to the Video (Panopto) folder (formerly Lecture Capture) and use the 'Share > embed link' option to add these to your web pages. Aim to keep videos to 6-10 minutes; split your presentations up into smaller parts to help with this.

2) Create activities and add text

Your Learning Room will include web pages with placeholder text. To add or edit text, go to the web page, click ‘Edit HTML’ in the bottom left, make any changes you’d like, and save.

3) Create quizzes/assessments

Microsoft Forms is recommended for adding formative quizzes to NOW. You can also use the Self-Assessment and Assessment tools.

4) Add additional instructions and scaffolding

After you’ve finished creating all your learning content, read through everything and put yourself in your students’ shoes. Are the requirements for engagement clear? Make sure students know how to use the Learning Room and what they’re expected to do next.

5) Add News items

Clear and consistent communication is essential for student engagement. Schedule News items in advance, so you don’t have to do it later. We recommend an intro post at the start of each week and a summary post at the end of the week. See the guide to Adding News items.

6) Offer online booking for tutorial appointments (see MS Bookings guide)

  • Set up a Bookings calendar, based on your own availability
  • Publish your calendar, enabling students to book online

7) Prepare to track student engagement

If you require any specific applications to be added to the Learning Room (e.g. PebblePad, Yammer or Twitter), let your Learning Designer know as soon as possible.

Detailed guidance on content creation

Creating videos

Quizzing and online assessment - formative

Summative assessment

Microsoft Teams

SCALE-UP online

Writing online content

Publishing lecture/seminar content online is different from sharing it in a live class. Make sure you’ve read the Library’s copyright guide for materials being added to NOW.

Key points to consider:

  • Source and permission: before using or sharing content, ask yourself “Source? Permission?” Where did the content come from? Do you have permission to use it?
  • Link to readings in the Library, don’t upload readings: even if NTU has a subscription to a database, this doesn’t mean staff have permission to publish content from it. Instead, provide a link to the resource through the Library’s website or a link to the database’s home page with instructions.
  • Images: avoid copying images unless you have confirmed that their copyright status permits this. Publishing images without authorisation is one of the easiest ways to get caught out so delete any images if you’re unsure about permission or source. Unsplash.com is a great source of free to use images; also look for images with Creative Commons licenses which permit reuse.
  • Attribution: for any third-party materials, ensure the source is attributed fully and clearly. But also remember that attribution doesn’t mean you can copy anything you’d like. Contact the Library if in doubt.
  • CLA licence: for print-based materials, a CLA-licenced digital copy may be possible. Contact the Library for further info on this.

Accessibility

It’s important that we strive to be as inclusive as possible. As well as being of ethical importance, UK laws have become stricter in recent years, so we need to ensure, for example, that:

  • Documents include alt-text for images and diagrams;
  • Document headings are used appropriately;
  • Text is not presented in an image format (e.g. scanned pages as images in pdf documents);
  • Link text reflects the link’s destination (avoiding ‘click here’ style links);
  • Videos should have captions - sharing pre-recorded videos should in most cases be done via the Video (Panopto) area of the Learning Room to add captions automatically.

The Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and PDF accessibility checking tools are useful when reviewing documents before sharing.

Further guidance on these can be found in Accessibility Considerations.

Quality Assurance

Following Step 5, the Flex Team will support you by conducting a Quality Assurance review to help you meet Quality Matters standards. To prepare for this, it’s important for you to read through everything, checking grammar, spelling, copyright, accessibility, clarity of instructions, working links and a logical order of topics and activities.

If anything is flagged during the Quality Assurance review, you will be asked to make changes and resubmit, before final approval.

Still need help?

Flexible Learning