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Next Year’s Scheme of Work.

As the end of an academic year approaches, one of the most important discussions to be had with colleagues (or yourself, if you are a ‘lone teacher’) is about next year’s Scheme of Work (SoW). As part of this discussion, I feel that there are a number of fundamental questions that need to be asked:

Do you deliver the course next year in the same way that you did this year?
Do you use the same ‘running order’ or do you change the orderof topic areas to be covered?
Do you cover coursework in a Stan Laurel way (‘long and thin’ -spread out over, say, a term) or an Oliver Hardy way (‘short and fat’ – done in a two-three week blitz)?
Do you need to revise or completely re-write any handouts used?
Do you need to update any weblinks you direct students towards?
And so on…….

Whatever the results of this discussion, the outcome should be a (fairly) comprehensive SoW. But, and this is what this article is really about, what format does that SoW take?

Yes, the students should have a paper copy to put in their folder, and, yes, there should be a copy of it available via your Bb Course Site so that late enrolments and those who lose it can download copies for themselves without chasing you to photocopy one for them…

BUT…it seems like a lost opportunity not to take advantage of the technology by simply posting a static copy of the SoW on your Bb Course Site.

After all, by simply inserting a few bookmarks and hyperlinks into a document, (and if you do not know how to insert bookmarks and hyperlinks into a Word document then this viewlet shows you how) you can make it interactive and so direct the students straight to the resources that you want them to use to tackle the work that you set them.

These resources can include files on their Blackboard Course site, or other Blackboard Course Sites if the students are enrolled on them, (to do this you need to get the ‘Absolute URL’ of the file you want to link to…ask your Bb Administrator how to get this), NLN materials located on your content server (if you have one), external websites and the online library catalogue for textbooks. All of this is shown in this example of an interactive SoW. (Note: the inserted links are dummy ones – but they give you an idea of how an interactive SoW functions).

This interactive SoW was produced using Word, but if you have the software and the skills, there’s no reason why yours couldn’t be a series of connected web-pages rather than an interactive Word document. You could also insert images as well as/instead of text into your Scheme of Work. This may be useful when working with students with reading difficulties.

One final comment….

using an interactive SoW is one way of embedding the use of ILT into your course, something which OFSTED and ALI Inspectors are increasingly looking for…so why not make a start this summer!!

Author: Merv Stapleton

06 July 2004

VLE: Blackboard



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