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Boost comprehension with curated module content

The articles in this category are all about how you can create (or adapt) interesting and varied learning objects such as video, audio, graphics and more to help your students understand and benefit from your teaching to the best of their ability.

What do we mean by ‘content’?

Essentially every lecture, reading list, PowerPoint, video, PDF, podcast, infographic and more is a piece of content. You can’t really avoid creating content in teaching, but great educators understand the importance of putting the right content in front of their learners at the right time. When learning outcomes are attached, these pieces of content become learning objects which can be reused and repurposed in different contexts.

As an educator in the Coventry University Group, you have access to a number of digital teaching and learning tools which are especially helpful for creating, storing and sharing content with students.

Types of content

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the kinds of content you might build into your module:

  • Written content – Books, e-books, Word docs, PDFs, emails, web pages, Aula Feed posts
  • Video – Narrated PowerPoints, lectures recorded with MS Stream, Echo 365, Planet eStream, YouTube, Screencast-O-Matic, Zoom
  • Audio – Lectures, podcasts, music, radio broadcasts
  • Visuals – Photography, charts, graphics, infographics, illustrations
  • Interactive – Quizzes, polls, challenges, virtual whiteboards

Higher quality content leads to a better student experience and often to a class of students who are more motivated and engaged with your subject matter. Knowing the right tool for the job of creating this content is key, but so is knowing where to look for resources and learning objects that already exist.

Finding the right tool for content creation

Educators at the Coventry University Group have a wealth of tools available to them in the EdTech Ecosystem and your school or faculty will possibly have access to other not mentioned here.

Let’s look at those types of content again and list some of the tools that might help you in each one.

Written Content

Here’s how you might use the EdTech ecosystem for written content:

  • Use BibliU to create reading lists and annotate ebooks
  • Embed reading lists directly from Aula using Talis Aspire
  • Start a portfolio, blog or class website on Coventry.Domains to host long-form or periodical content which you can link back to in Aula
  • Make the reading load more manageable by drip-feeding links to your materials section week-by-week in the Aula feed
  • Text content in PowerPoint is also useful, but take care to break up long sections of text with appropriate videos, images, graphics and other visuals (more on those below)

One example of implementing written content might be to direct learners to a blog you’ve set up on Coventry.Domains and including it in your materials page in Aula:

Example of a link in an Aula post

Video

We have a dedicated article on engaging your learners with video, but here are a few ideas for the moment

  • Embed content dircetly from Aula using Planet eStream
  • Capture and share live lectures with Echo 360
  • Record yourself and your screen simultaneously with tools like Screencast-O-Matic or Planet eStream, both of which offer editing and annotation features for educators
  • Microsoft Stream can be used by staff or students, so it’s a great, secure way to host video assessment submissions for your module (as well as autogenerate captions)
  • It’s also possible to use most of your preferred video conferencing tools like Zoom or Teams to record a “meeting” with yourself sharing your screen

With each one of these platforms, you can download your video and then upload it once more into Aula. Planet eStream does have the advantage of being able to directly embed your video in your Aula materials, so that one’s a particularly good tool to be familiar with.

Regardless of the tool you choose, it is important to consider the wider cultural context of the material and actively think about decolonisation.

Because Aula supports embedding content directly from Planet eStream, it’s one of the more attractive ways to insert it into your Aula Feed or Materials section:

Aula  embed of a video

Audio

Audio content is an unsung hero in many courses as it offers the unique advantage of being consumable when the learner is doing other things like travelling, cleaning or working on projects which don’t require much concentration. It might also be the right format for those times when visuals might distract instead of explain the topic.

We’re still writing the guide on creating audio content but for many teachers, recording audio to share with learners is as easy as finding a quiet room and using a voice memo app on their smartphone. You can then upload the file to the materials section in Aula for that week.

Planet eStream also has a lot of great audio content on the platform already, which you might embed into your Aula feed or materials just by clicking the + and looking for Planet eStream content when you’re in the Aula editor:

Planet eStream audio in Aula

Visuals

While you can use of the tools in our EdTech Ecosystem to create visual elements like charts and graphs (via Excel for example), visuals are one area where it’s probably easier and more beneficial to find openly licensed content than to create your own.

The next section deals with finding content to include in your module, but once you have, say, an image, it will show automatically in your Aula pages and posts and makes for a great conversation starter:

Images in the Aula feed

Interactive

You have a lot of great options for making your teaching material more interactive and engaging for your students. Most of the information on this will be in the Engage Students category of the knowledge base, but here are some quick ideas:

  • Use Padlet to create a live question bank to gather student questions and feedback as you lecture – this is a wonderful way to bring in person and remote learners together
  • Start your session with a word cloud on your students’ perceptions of the day’s topic with Answer Garden
  • Guage student comprehension with quizzes and other activities on active learning platforms like Top Hat or Socrative
  • Add quizzes and annotations to your video content with Planet eStream

A popular choice is to embed a Padlet directly into your Aula materials page to make a more active learning experience for your students:

Finding and curating learning objects

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There’s a huge wealth of premium and openly licensed material already out there just waiting for you to share and adapt to fit your students’ needs. The trick is to know where to look.

It’s a big topic, so there are a few articles on the knowledge base which can help:

That’s it! Enjoy all the rest of the articles in this category on creating content, and if you have your own pro tips, you can always contribute to the knowledge base.

Authors

  • Noah Mitchell

    I work at Coventry University's Disruptive Media Learning Lab where I focus on digital projects such as Coventry.Domains. I'm passionate about digital fluency, design and user experience.

  • Oliver Atkins-Wood

    Oliver is an Academic Developer supporting curriculum design and development across Coventry University Group. He works for the Academic Enhancement and Professional Development Unit in the Office of Teaching and Learning.

Updated on December 10, 2020

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