Creating a learning experience that never stops. Saint Stephen s College in Australia finds early success with blended learning

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1 Creating a learning experience that never stops Saint Stephen s College in Australia finds early success with blended learning

2 Overview Saint Stephen s College is a co-educational, Preparatory-to-Year 12 independent school on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Leveraging the power of the Brightspace platform and the course materials that have been built, the College has become a forerunner in various blended learning models that encourage rich engagement and collaboration. AT A GLANCE Client Saint Stephen s College Students 1,350 Level Preparatory to Year 12 Solutions Brightspace Blended Learning Solution and Brightspace Campus Life TM CHALLENGE facilitate student success across all disciplines introduce innovative learning models to create a more robust experience engage the broader learning community SOLUTION deliver self-paced online learning content, and other types of Blended Learning empower students to take more control of their own learning journey RESULT courses offered in the online learning environment Average student satisfaction scores of 1.7 out of 5 in trial courses (with 1 defined as Very easy to use and 5 as Difficult ) 85% of students, on average, preferred the model of self-paced online learning to traditional learning in trial courses Integration with Office 365, Microsoft Lync, VoiceThread, Read Speaker, Atomic Learning, and more 2 1 Results and figures provided by Saint Stephen s College

3 Challenge Solution MOVING FROM AN AGEING LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM TO A SCHOOL-WIDE ONLINE PRESENCE Saint Stephen s College, while advanced in many areas of technology, had experienced a history of challenges with various learning management systems and online learning strategies. Their previously-used LMS was ageing and not viewed favourably by staff. Consequently, online content was inconsistent, sparse, or even absent across the majority of courses offered. When the decision was made to move from the school s LMS to the Brightspace integrated learning platform, the e-learning team at Saint Stephen s had a mandate of creating a rich, online, whole-school presence in a specified time frame two years. This would mean the creation of approximately 160 individual courses by about 50 staff in that timeframe. This was no small task, and one that would need to be done with a measured, well-defined, and flexible programme of delivery. All of this was to be achieved with less than two full-time staff members responsible for the rollout of the Brightspace platform and online learning throughout the school. The College was also keen to introduce innovative learning models that would drive increased levels of self-paced and self-directed learning. This in turn would lead to higher student success rates. A WELL-DEFINED PROCESS AND GOALS TO HELP ENSURE A SUCCESSFUL ROLLOUT The setup and implementation of the Brightspace platform has been a great success because of the combined efforts of the College IT Staff and D2L staff. We see this close working relationship as really more of an ongoing and trusted partnership, said Peter West, Director of E-Learning at Saint Stephen s College. A key element of this process was setting goals that all staff felt could be achieved rather than feeling under siege from new technology. Throughout the entire implementation, regular Professional Development time was set aside for staff training and the development of online courses and resources. A select subset of features from the platform was established as the base components that were required to be used, while other more advanced features were considered optional. This allowed the development of rich and varied content across all departments and courses while also providing a consistency for the users, teachers and students. Greater levels of personalisation using the capabilties of built-in features in the Brightspace platform such as conditional release and intelligent agents have been trialed in courses and will be implemented more widely in the future. 3

4 Solution continued CHOICE AND CONTROL ARE KEY INGREDIENTS IN A PERSONALISED, PERVASIVE EXPERIENCE Random samplings of usage data have shown consistent student use and access activity taking place across a wide range of times throughout the day, even including Sunday evenings. For example, during the analysis of use period, five students were online on a Saturday morning at 6.40am. INTEGRATIONS AND EXTENSIONS FOR SEAMLESS USAGE The open nature of the Brightspace platform has enabled the College to create a seamless user experience through the integration and extension of third-party applications such as Office 365, Microsoft Lync, Voice Thread, ReadSpeaker, Atomic Learning and more. These results show that the College is truly enabling learning at a time that suits the student. Learning is not restricted to school hours while on campus, or the times when teachers think students want to learn students have the choice. The school has introduced a series of self-paced classes as part of its blended learning strategy, allowing students to work through much of the material (such as video and PDF-based tutorials with associated exercises and activities) at their own pace. Time in the classroom is focused on interactive discussion and obtaining support from teachers and peers. We now have some students in selected trial courses who regularly finish their semester s work in a term, and the Brightspace platform has played an instrumental role in enabling that due to its ease of use. Peter West, Director of E-Learning, Saint Stephens College This flexibility in the core Brightspace Learning Environment is a powerful enabler of an effective blended learning strategy. Many of these integrated products have already been built into the College s implementation of the platform, and even more integrations are currently planned. Brightspace Campus Life is seen as an integral part of the College s future communications strategy. The College is working with students as part of the design and implementation team in order to create and provide a truly student-centric service. The app builder is easy to use, and requires no programming knowledge on the part of students. 4

5 Result STRONG ADOPTION OF SELF-PACED BLENDED LEARNING Students embraced the wealth of online resources and the ease of use of the Brightspace platform. The system now hosts over 160 courses and new modules are being added. Feedback shows that the new approach has been very effective with some students in trial courses successfully completing a semester of learning in a term (16 weeks of study in 8 weeks). The majority of students in these courses prefer this self-paced online learning approach as they are active participants and teachers can spend less class time on delivering new material and focus more on providing guidance and support. Students are able to choose when and at what rate they interact with the learning content. As they master one topic at a time, they cultivate a sense of control over their learning journey which also motivates them to explore the material more deeply. TUTORIAL COMPLETION RATE (AT TUTORIAL 6 TIMELINE) Mean 6.92 The graph on the right shows the pace of learning for individuals in one of the blended learning trial courses that is powered by Brightspace technology. The students who are comfortable with the concepts have been able to work ahead. The students who need more time to assimilate the material have time to do so and can review material to reinforce concepts. Everybody wins. One of the reasons that students are comfortable in the online learning environment is because they find the system easy to use. 2 0 Number of tutorials completed Student This graph shows the completion of learning of students as they worked through a trial self-paced course on the Brightspace platform. The green line indicates the position that the average student was expected to be at if the course was taught in a traditional environment. On average, the class was ahead of this point. 5

6 Results continued Staff have been very happy with the platform that has changed their attitude towards moving into other types of non-traditional learning, says West. STUDENT FEEDBACK Brightspace is an exceptional learning environment, I have never seen anything like it. It is so helpful, so easy to use and access, and full of the required information. STUDENT PROGRESS OVER FIVE WEEKS Since SSC has implemented the new changes to the Brightspace platform, I have noticed an improvement in the content written by the teachers. I use the calendar tool to remind me of due dates for prelims and final copies of assignments. I have heard nothing but praise from the rest of the student body. A great program. For example, in Accounting when I forget to bring my textbook home or I don t understand something, everything I need is on Brightspace which I can get to anytime, anywhere. Brightspace also helps with Spanish as there are many listening exercises on the page that help me improve my listening skills for not only exams, but also for the language itself. TEACHING STAFF FEEDBACK I have found that D2L staff have always gone the extra mile to assist. The initial setup was smooth and glitch-free, as have been upgrades over the past two years. Things happen smoothly when they are supposed to happen. I could even get support staff on the phone when I rang with a question late of a Friday night and the non-critical issue was solved within thirty minutes A B C D E F G H I J K Students WEEK 4 WEEK 5 WEEK 6 WEEK 7 WEEK 8 The same typical class, showing the spread of completion of work over a five week period. Note that the pace of work varies for each student. 6

7 Results continued EVOLVING ROLE OF THE TEACHER The teacher is not replaced or redundant in blended learning courses. Instead, the role is evolving from predominantly sage on the stage to a facilitator, motivator and advisor. They also gather, centralize, individualise and sequence learning materials from other sources. Thus, the teacher can personalise assistance, working with individuals or small groups when further explanation or guidance is required. Surveys conducted have shown that students still value individual help from the teacher and/or from peers when difficulties arise or extra clarification is needed. ANALYTICS HOLDS THE KEY TO FUTURE GROWTH I really want to get into analytics, says West. We had to build a rich and diverse online learning environment first, one that students interact with a lot. This now produces a lot of data on how the students interact with the system. We also have a lot of data available from national and other standardised testing on literacy, numeracy, comprehension and so on. We want to pull that all together so we can fine-tune and further personalise the learning process for each individual student Results provided by Saint Stephen s College

8 About D2L D2L is the software leader that makes the learning experience better. The company s cloud-based platform Brightspace is not a common one-size-fits-all learning management system (LMS). It s easier to use, more flexible, and smart. With Brightspace, you can personalize the experience for every learner to deliver real results. The company is also a world leader in learning analytics: its platform predicts learner performance so that you can take action in real time to keep them on track. Brightspace is used by learners in higher education, K 12, and the enterprise sector, including the Fortune D2L has operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil, and Singapore. CONTACT US Phone: (Worldwide) Toll Free: (North America) (United Kingdom and Europe) (New Zealand) (Australia) (Brazil) Fax: Web: D2L Corporation. The D2L family of companies includes D2L Corporation, D2L Ltd, D2L Australia Pty Ltd, D2L Europe Ltd, D2L Asia Pte Ltd, and D2L Brasil Soluções de Tecnologia para Educação Ltda. All D2L marks are trademarks of D2L Corporation. Please visit D2L.com/trademarks for a list of D2L marks. 8

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