LCL eEducation

eroomThe School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics eEducation Committee aims to provide a showcase series of hands-on workshops, brainstorming sessions, and practical seminars, with the aim of identifying “good” practice and bringing together academic staff and postgraduate researchers working in this area.

Working parties within the group are also running projects that investigate how students utilise online learning management systems, and how virtual learning environments can be more effectively designed for language and linguistics students.

Seminar series

Dr Howie Manns

Rethinking Presentation Slides as Visual Communication – in the lecture and on the web

Abstract: In this three-part seminar, I outline the nuances of using presentation slides (e.g. PowerPoint, Keynote) as a form of visual communication.

Firstly, I focus on the notion of slides as a form of visual communication. In doing so, I illustrate how slides can either complement or detract from a lecture depending on how effectively they are used.

Secondly, I examine one of the more innovative uses of slides as visual communication – the Lessig Method. Pioneered by Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, this method emphasises simplicity and visual contrast. The Lessig Method includes, among other things, the use of rapid slide changes, fewer words per slide, visual pun and repetition. I review students’ reactions to the use of the Lessig Method in my own lecures.

Thirdly and lastly, I demonstrate how the Lessig Method lends itself well to the creation of short audio/visual presentations which enhance the experience of online students. I do so by reviewing online presentations used in my own units and students’ responses to these presentations.

In sum, this seminar does not propose radical changes to current lecturing styles but rather a rethink of the design of presentation slides, with a focus on their use as visual communication.

Dr Sarah Pasfield-Neofitou

Creative and Simple Images, Software, and Teaching Materials – free as in freedom, and free as in no cost!

Abstract: This hands-on seminar will give participants the opportunity to explore the use of free resources in an academic context – including how you can draw on existing images in an effective, legal fashion to create engaging learning materials, what easy to use software could simplify your teaching, and how to tweak resources you already have. Please bring a laptop if you have one! 

The first part of the seminar will build on last month’s presentation by Howard Manns, by introducing Creative Commons, the Monash Image Library, and other sites as sources of free images to contribute to “visual communication” in lecture slides, tutorial/seminar materials, and so on. Attendees will have the opportunity to search for images and materials for use in their own classes, and guidelines for their effective, easy, and legal use will be provided.

Secondly, the notion of “free resources” will be extended to cover “free software”. What “free” (as in freedom, and as in no cost) actually means, in both an ethical and a practical sense (Stallman, 2010), and how you can find simple to use tools that are appropriate for your needs will be explored.

Finally, some real-life examples of how we can draw on these free applications to edit, remix, and reappropriate the free resources that we find or create in order to make engaging presentations, an appealing online presence, or custom listening tests will be shared.

Mitch Hughes, Lead Educational Designer VLE Program

Moodle Interior Design

Abstract: In Moodle, there is a range of new possibilities for designing your online learning and teaching. Nevertheless, there are also occasional pitfalls that you should try to avoid. The practical tips in this presentation will help you create units with engaging and accessible content that steps around the potholes. You’re welcome to bring along a laptop and try things out as we go! 

The presentation will firstly address key design principles and how Moodle can easily be used to achieve these. The structure of content will be examined at the unit, topic and activity levels with demonstrations of features and functions that can be used to benefit building conceptual links with demonstrations of features and functions that can be used to benefit building conceptual links and assessing online navigation. In addition, this section will also address the appropriate use of visual and textual features.

Secondly, the presentation will demonstrate the simple but powerful features included in Moodle that can make units accessible for students with disabilities. The appropriate use of colour contrast combinations will be demonstrated, along with how to easily prepare your unit for students who use a screen reader.

The presentation will end by demonstrating some ways that lecturers can move away from the default structure of Moodle and be even more flexible with the structure of their online content. The possibilities and implications of these more flexible choices will also be discussed.