TECHNICAL CASE STUDY FOR THE NLN MATERIALS Type of resource Title Author Author Organisation Case Study

Implementing the NLN materials at South Cheshire College Peter Harding On-Line Learning Co-ordinator Suzanne Dale Staffordshire University – One Year Work Placement South Cheshire College

Description To describe the implementation of the NLN materials into the Learnwise environment within South Cheshire College and the subsequent testing and use made of these materials by both staff and students. Target Audience Keywords Delivery method/s Any colleges especially those with the Learnwise (MLE) NLN Materials, Learnwise, LRN Includes small groups, classroom, one-to-one, on-line

College background: South Cheshire College is a large Tertiary college with a diverse curriculum. Within its tertiary remit it is the sole provider of post-16 education in Crewe. In addition, the college complements school provision with a wide portfolio of ‘A’ level and vocational courses throughout South and East Cheshire areas. The college has some 3000 full-time students, with a further 7,000-8,000 part-time students based on the main site and its various centres in the community. Students range from 16 to 80 years in age. For much of its history Crewe was a town supported by two major employers, British Rail and Rolls Royce Motor Cars. This has changed significantly however over the last 10 years. Crewe has experienced a growth in inward investment in recent years, particularly in office and service industries. The area has also attracted high technology research related activities while retaining its engineering focus. In February 1999 South Cheshire College was inspected in the second round of FEFC inspections. The formal report, published in late spring 1999, placed the college at the highest level of those inspected in the second round, and it was subsequently awarded Accredited College and Beacon College status. Content: The college undertook a pilot study using the Learnwise MLE in June 2001 using an initiative offered by Granada Learning to have a 500-user licence on a trial basis. This enabled training to be established for all staff and limited use by students. The production and possible purchase of suitable materials was recognised as one of the major tasks. The college was involved with a number of JISC training and development days with the NW Regional Support Centre and monitored the project initiated to produce materials, which was to be overseen by Becta/Ferl. The college took the view that it would initially install as much material as possible into a staff area allowing them to view and use the materials, including testing them with students, to see if it should be retained or removed. To this end the materials from the NLN website were installed using the bulk download facility and
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a tutor might wish to use all the materials on one topic and they will be a list of items that the learner will need to subscribe to and use. this ability to use the individual parts of each module will increase. for example. Other areas are currently assessing the materials to see if and how they can be used. some staff have reported that higher level students who could use the subjects and gain from the content are reluctant to do so saying that they. One negative feedback has been that because the materials have a designated level. within this system we have added all of the NLN materials that fit into that area. As the MLE has developed the importing of NLN materials has both simplified and improved. followed a simple theme of being selfcontained units that would run independently if required. However staff and students have used some of the round 1 materials finding them both supportive and informative. For the areas that have used the materials they have proved a catalyst to the production of in-house materials and the upgrading of current resources. The materials. The round 2 and round 3 units are now following the LRN format much more closely and should fit within a managed environment seamlessly. Currently the college has two areas actively using materials. For example. This can be addressed in a couple of ways: a) if in the future materials follow the LRN standard then staff would be able to pick and choose parts of a module and they would also be able to merge resources. which were produced in the first round. Staff could then look at these resources to establish if they were at the correct level for their students and to see if they could be tailored to fit into their teaching plans. with version 2 of Learnwise building correct menus structures for the NLN materials during the import phase. eg Creative and Applied Arts. With the current round being self contained units and their main pages etc all having the same name it is very difficult to amalgamate a number of them into one resource. On the plus side the sheer amount of materials has given the college and its MLE the necessary kick-start that was necessary to provide staff and students with resources that were available and both easy and interesting to use. are not level 1 or possibly level 2 students. As centres become more aware of the LRN standards and how their environment implements them. Applied Technology. these topics would be Art and Design and Hairdressing and the Beauty Therapy materials. Mathematics and Science (ATMS) where both Health Studies and Biology students are using materials together with the English as an Acquired Language (EAL) using some of the basic skills materials. Again this can be addressed quite easily if the materials were to follow the LRN guidelines as then a single picture might be used as a learning resource and individual pages linked as appropriate and the user need not know the intended level. In Learnwise we have set up an organisation system to mirror the programme areas in college. which is prominent on the first page. However an inability to drill down to actual pages within the materials has removed some of the flexibility for staff who might only wish to use parts of them.then uploaded on to the current version of Learnwise. Recently we have been able to view some of the materials that are currently under development and the college has offered to test materials with groups of students and staff are waiting to try these new products. 09/05/11 2 . b) for current materials in Learnwise they have to be loaded as separate resources but a further module can be created that can group these together and hence appear as one learning resource (albeit with a number of subsections) to the learner.

Outcomes: The main outcome is the fact that the materials have allowed the college to populate its MLE and show staff what can be achieved and offered to students.uk s-dale@s-cheshire.ac. The materials and their designs have prompted staff to request help in designing or utilising different packages and media options to make their own materials more effective. I think it is important to keep each package small (as they are) as this allows more flexibility to lecturers in putting them together and reduces the problem of some parts of a package not being relevant to particular courses. It has also driven the staff involved to produce new materials or to enhance existing materials and move them to the MLE. However most of my teaching is at advanced level – AVCE or AS/A level and I look forward to more Biology material appropriate to these courses.” Here you have the opportunity to reflect upon the case study and suggest ways (if any) in which you would have done things differently . EAL staff have moved many of their own materials onto the MLE after seeing how the NLN materials engaged their students.ac.mentioning weaknesses and strengths.s-cheshire. The Science areas within college actively campaigned to have all their relevant materials added and have approximately six groups actively using the resources.uk www.ac. Evaluation: It is worth considering the responses that we have had from staff – in particular with the Science area: “Generally the standard and style of presentation is very good” “More test questions would be an improvement. go away and do some other work that needs doing because if you are using the Bulk downloads then you have probably got time for your lunch break in the time it takes to download all of materials in one course type!! Contact Details: Contact name Contact organisation Contact address Contact telephone Contact email Web site/s Peter Harding (On-line Learning Co-ordinator) Suzanne Dale South Cheshire College Dane Bank Ave. but those that are included are good – and quality is more important than quantity. Although some areas have quickly taken off the college realise that it will be a slow process especially if it wishes to have a quality learning resource. Recommendations for good practice Leave one computer logged on and start to download the materials.uk 09/05/11 3 . Cheshire CW2 8AB 01270 654659 p-harding@s-cheshire. Crewe.

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