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The journey and the reflections

Liz SearSara Simons
Anne Misselbrook

I was privileged to be invited to co-present with Liz Sear, Senior Lecturer, Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care, at the service user and carers forum on January 10th 2017 by Sara Simons, Senior Lecturer/Disability Co-ordinator Faculty of Health and Society.

Liz and I had previously developed an e-learning package following the story of ‘Fred’, a fictitious character.  ‘Fred’ is a homeless man whose journey to hopeful recovery exposed service provider and healthcare involvement.  This online case study supported students’ understanding of inter-professional and multi-agency working.

Satisfying the need to present complex information in a clear and understandable way to Health and Social Care students, we demonstrated how effective this online learning had been.

There is nothing better than a ‘real-life’ story for students to learn from, and with this in mind, we invited service users to get involved by sharing their story with us and give us their permission for their story to be told in online e-learning packages for students to access for their studies here at the University.

A service user put herself forward as a willing contributor and subsequent plans were put in place to audio record the service user telling her story.  Liz and Anne worked together on storyboarding and building the two e-learning packages using Xerte software.

Visual Quiz

Sara Simons

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)  is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease.  People with COPD have trouble breathing in and out, due to long-term damage to the lungs, usually because of smoking.  COPD (bronchitis and emphysema), affects an estimated 3 million people in the U.K. (NHS, 2015)

We were interested to learn about the physical and psychological implications upon an individual’s day to day life and levels of activity in living with a long term condition.  As co-production is key to developing quality the Health and Social Care (Care Act, 2014), as supported by NUSU 4Pi National Standards, Nothing about Us without Us (2015), involving the service user in all aspects of the production was fundamental to the project.

Jenny was happy to be involved, and following a thorough briefing of what this would entail, Jenny used prepared guidelines of questions to structure her answer.  Full written consent was provided by Jenny to record and use her story for student learning purposes. Using a structured interview format, audio recording took place and key props used by Jenny were photographed to support her narrative.

Once the recording was adapted into the story board format Sara acted as a critical friend to the layout, format and directed learning tasks.  Once recommendations were adopted, Jenny was asked for her views and opinions and further editing took place.  User testing was undertaken by a number of students who piloted the packages.

Liz Sear

In terms of my experience of working on this project I feel that it has left me with an enormous sense of admiration for the service user Jenny in terms of the challenges that she has had to face and overcome in her life, I think that she is very courageous person.  It has also been a timely reminder that alongside the theory about the health and social care topics that we teach our students there is always a person whose story is unique and which reminds us that people do not experience ill health in the same way.  As practitioners we need reminding of this so that we can strive to see things through the eyes of another person while not making assumptions about who people are, what they need from us and the reasons why they may behave in the way that they do.  I feel that to do this successfully we must be prepared to be humble, as practitioners we can never ‘know it all’ and service users will often present us with insights about their experiences that can challenge our beliefs and prompt us to reflect upon our practice on a much deeper level.

Further information

Upon reflection, this has been an effective learning opportunity for all the contributors and we look forward to developing further packages this year.

Special thanks go to Jenny, who commented upon the fact, that this had been a really positive and rewarding experience.

Anne Misselbrook, Liz Sear and Sara Simons

Student Feedback

“I found this package very engaging and informative”.

“Found the package very interesting and emotional to find out how much Jenny had been through in her life”.

 

George Dimmock talks about the ways in which Academic Librarians can support University of Northampton staff.

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In this video Anne Misselbrook (Content Developer) talks about the software Xerte and its uses for creating online e-tivities.

 

Kate Swinton from the Centre for Achievement and Performance gives top tips on providing really effective feedback to students.

 

In this video Hannah Rose explains how to set up a new Aspire reading list.

 

In this video Sylvie talks about how she has been changing the delivery of academic skills to develop the the level of integration between generic academic skills and subject specific skills. In addition, she explains the process of integrating blended approaches into CfAP’s (Centre for Achievement and Performance) delivery.

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[Posted on behalf of Elizabeth Palmer]

When starting to make online activities for blended learning there is a temptation to take content that is currently being delivered face-to-face in lectures (through software such as Powerpoint) and moving that content into an online format where the students are ‘digitally page turning’ through material: read or watch x, y and z before class.
The learning and teaching plan for blended learning is that we are creating interactive activities that support students towards developing their own knowledge, understanding and creating outputs that can then be used in class. In other words we are trying to flip the focus away from tutor created content that the student must passively absorb, to student-led interactive and created content.

Any content provided to students should be done in an interactive, discovery based way i.e. rather than telling them the answer we allow them to discover the answer through questioning, testing, trialling, problem solving etc. online and then reinforce and develop this face to face. If you are trying out e-tivities for the first time Xerte can be a useful package to start this process. Have a look at these two examples of using Xerte to make interactive activities on academic skills: here and here. Whilst they are not necessarily perfect, they demonstrate how you can use Xerte’s functionality to create knowledge checking, interactive exercises that you could then build on in class or use as a basis for students to undertake a more complex task.

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At the recent Sharing Higher Education Design (S.H.E.D.) roadshow week in Science and Technology, the Learning Design team were introduced to a number of examples of good practice, including the hugely successful open educational resources (OERs) that have been published by staff in the School. These resources – some of which have had hits in the thousands – are publicly available, benefiting not just our students but learners around the world who are looking to further their understanding.

To find about more about these resources, visit the Learning and Teaching blog from the School.

Watch this space for more case studies from the S.H.E.D!

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