Contemporary module option sites

Title slide of video - TYMS module options - student information re-design by Chris Purdham

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Summary

Chris Purdham, Senior Administrator from The York Management School explains the evolution of the option module site that undergraduate students use to make decisions on which modules they will take.

Keywords: VLE, module options, mobile-friendly, TYMS

What was your driver for re-developing the module options sites?

Each programme had its own vle site where module information was uploaded in various formats: PowerPoint presentations, Prezis, videos, video links or documents. Using novel presentation methods allowed module information to be put across more creatively by tutors.

Although this was one step better than the technical module documentation used by academics, there were several down sides to this approach.

  • The format chosen depended on tutor skills, creating variation that made it harder for students to compare between modules.
  • The range of formats meant the site was less professional-looking than the department wanted, or the students expected.
  • Some of the formats chosen no longer worked or were not accessible on mobiles as technology moved on.
  • If the module leader moved on, the video or prezi could not be re-purposed. Small changes required a disproportionate amount of time to effect.
  • Large videos or other high-bandwidth content were less accessible for students on the go.Modules that appeared on several programmes had to be updated in the various vle sites.
  • The long list of module options could arguably mean that the modules at the bottom of the list were less likely to be reviewed by students.

What did you want to achieve with the new site?

TYMS wanted a professional and contemporary-looking site that reflected the department’s ethos. The site had to be mobile-friendly, easy to navigate and allow students to compare information between modules.

How was this achieved?

All the module options are listed with attractive image tiles on the access page.

All the programmes’ module options were pulled into one vle site, allowing easier maintenance.

Each programme now has a sub-page showing the module options as tiles and clearly indicating to students what they have to choose from each term.

Each module has a contemporary web page designed for mobile access with succinct information that can be compared between modules. We used a Google Spreadsheet to pull all the data together so we could easily keep information on point, like an elevator pitch.

An example site with clear sections for information and attractive images to project a professional look and feel.

What were the outcomes of the project?

The new site allowed us provide students with information about their choices in a professional and attractive way. We were able to add things that weren’t in the technical documents like Frequently Asked Questions and feedback from previous students and put things across to hook their interest.

Professional services staff have been involved in creating the sites, receiving some digital skills development in the process. Going forward, they are creating the PG module options pages in Google Sites and will then be able to update the UG sites too. The vle will continue to be the entry point for these pages.

Next steps

Case Study last updated: Nov 2018.