Programme-approaches and the programme context
Baseline approaches establish a framework for module sites that lecturers can build upon and adapt to suit their module learning objectives and content. A baseline approach leads to consistent expectations, for example, that all sites will use the same terminology to describe the module outline. It is these consistencies in expectations that can reduce barriers to learning.
Expectations can be managed by identifying common practices across modules, and indicating where and why these differ for modules that are not using similar practices. For example, if the programme team decides lecture slides should be provided in advance, a statement is present to set this expectation with students. If one module does not do this, a statement to the contrary is provided in that module’s site with the pedagogic rationale.
Where a whole programme adopts the same baseline, students are able to use the different module sites more easily, by focusing on the module content rather than navigating the site. Furthermore, there are opportunities to create connections between modules by theming related Yorkshare spaces the same, using consistent approaches or similarly-styled images to connect concepts visually.
Departments can use the checklists in the Handbook to adopt a consistent approach to use of Yorkshare across a programme:
Baseline approaches are not prescriptive, but adaptable to different module needs. For example, a programme may contain modules which are taught through lectures and seminars, with other modules that are taught through workshops. Both modules will still have module outlines, reading lists and assessments. Similarly, both formats of the face-to-face sessions will be structured by weeks, or session numbers, with session topics and learning aims.
It is the presentation and provision of module material that provides consistency, rather than the structure and content itself.
The Equality Act 2010 outlines our responsibility to ensure no student is unfairly disadvantaged due to a disability in the way we provide education. Further, the 2018 digital accessibility regulations means that we have to meet certain standards for the accessibility of our websites, documents and mobile apps. However, beyond our legal obligation, there is a moral imperative and a practical benefit in that learning materials and activities developed with accessibility in mind tends to be better laid out, clearer to navigate and thus easier to use for all, not just disabled students. Far from being restrictive, accessibility through online resources can offer a more inclusive educational experience for face-to-face courses.
Accessibility advice is provided throughout this handbook and introduced with specific examples in the next page.
Department and programme approaches
Whether at a departmental level or programme level, having spaces on Yorkshare outside of module sites allows for communication channels and resource provision applicable to all students on a programme. Programme sites provide a space for department announcements, handbooks, module choices, careers information and, significantly, resources that support and explain progression between academic years and between academic modules. A recommended approach is detailed here:
Module site templates
A good starting point for Departments is to establish a template to use for module sites. This template is a basic framework which lecturers can adapt to suit their particular module, however consistent naming, order and structure of sites will improve usability. Department VLE Coordinators should contact the Programme Design and Learning Technology Team to create a module site template that can then be used whenever we receive new module site requests.