Resources for learning
When using learning technologies you can provide different forms of learning content as appropriate to the intended learning objectives and cater for a wider range of learning approaches. For example, text alone may not provide the emotional or aesthetic elements that you may want to convey if you are assessing students affective capabilities. Similarly, graphs, visualisations, video and audio allow for the interpretation of content in different ways, supporting the development of different analytical skills.
There may also be accessibility, copyright or device-compatibility considerations which may mean you need to adapt certain learning content to cater for different students’ needs. These are introduced at the end of this page.
Linking to face-to-face
The resources that you provide online should complement the face-to-face teaching. At a fundamental level this will be provision of materials used in the teaching session online in advance to enable students to familiarise themselves with the content. Likewise, directing students to online resources during and after the session creates a stronger link, implies value and motivates students to utilise additional resources as they are explicitly connected to the module’s learning activities.
As an introduction to choosing resources, watch the Replay Lecture Capture below from our PGCAP TEL Workshop.
Resource types in Yorkshare
Yorkshare (the VLE) is a content creation tool in its own right. Items, folders and learning-modules have been discussed in Section 2.3 already. The item tool is particularly powerful as a way to link to, structure and embed content and is explored further in Section 3.2.
From the Build Content menu within a content area (see screenshot below), you can quickly add different forms of media and embed publicly available resources from Flickr (images), SlideShare (presentations) or YouTube (video). See Blackboard Help for explanations of each of the content types.
Resource types outside Yorkshare
You may wish to create your own resources or link to open educational resources created by academics from other institutions available through repositories such as JISC Resources (formerly JORUM) or OER Commons. As you do so, you will be making decisions about the format, quality and accessibility of content.
Resources are commonly created as Word Docs, PowerPoints or PDFs. However, there is a vast range of different online tools that you could use to create engaging resources, for example mindmaps using MindMups on Google Drive, data visualisations with Fusion Tables via Google Drive, virtual pinboards using Padlet, Pintrest or Lino, presentations using Prezi or PowToon. A selection is discussed in this document:
Further examples are listed in the Prezi linked below and discussed throughout this Section of the Handbook:
Each resource type will have different accessibility considerations for different forms of impairment. These are explored in this Handbook. Often, small changes to practice will improve the accessibility of the resources you create. A summary of common adjustments is provided here:
You should be mindful of copyright when incorporating other people’s material into your resources. English law allows “fair dealing” with copyright content for “criticism and review” or “instruction”. These provisions cover images and multimedia as well as text, but do not cover – for instance – using someone else’s graphics simply to make your resource more visually appealing, or uploading files you have accessed behind a paywall. Material you have copied must be fully attributed, and “no more than is required by the specific purpose for which it is used”.
- University of York Practical Guide to Copyright
- University of York Copyright Licenses (for course reading, newspapers and recorded broadcasts)
- About Creative Commons
With mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, becoming more common and offering instant access to learning resources, the resources you provide to students should be mobile friendly. Resources which require old technologies such as ‘Flash’ are not likely to work on mobile device web browsers, for example Prezi (although Prezi has a mobile app that can be used to view presentations). The physical interactions on mobile devices are also different. Drag-n-drop interactions are difficult to achieve if not correctly implemented or if the device has a small screen size. Right clicking interactions are pretty much impossible.
If you are providing resources that are not device independent, for example a resource that requires a specific app or program, you will need to make this clear to your students. Do not assume that all students have a PC (or a Mac) that they can install software onto. For many, their access to PCs will be those provided on campus.
Conducting an ‘entry survey’ to establish device ownership within your module will help you tailor your resource provision.