Xerte in Health Psychology 3 – Progress Report

Progress report on our Digital Literacies in the Disciplines project, Using Xerte in Health Psychology.

Students using Xerte
I realised the other day that this project doesn’t have an official name.  This is because it isn’t a standalone project with its own identity.  We applied for funding from the HEA to embed the use of Xerte Online Toolkits into a Health Science module and although for the staff involved we are working on a ‘project’ (with all that involves, recording, reporting etc. etc.) as far as the students are concerned they are simply learning and doing another new thing. However, I think for ease of reference I’ll start calling it Using Xerte in Health Psychology. Not very imaginative I know.
The students are now in their sixth week . Their scheduled sessions are on a Tuesday mornings with a lecture from 9 to 10.20 followed by a workshop till 11.30 and tutorials from 12 – 1.
On the academic side, Anatolia Karypidou, who has been involved since week one, has taken over as module leader from Dr Lorna Dodd, who has gone on maternity leave.  On the technical/pedagogical side Nazryn Mohammed, from our e-learning dept., is supporting the students in the workshops and is available too while they have tutorials and offers online and drop-in support all week.
I asked Nazryn to provide some feedback for this blog about how she saw the project progressing after the session on 15 October.  This is what she said…

Xerte Session 15/10/13

Overall the students seemed very enthusiastic about their Xerte projects; three groups in particular were already creating a lot of content within Xerte after collecting images and other various media beforehand. The students are clearly putting a lot of effort into this module with some of them spending their weekends doing research and gathering open content. Some students have gone a step further than what was taught and what I expected by creating audio using text-to-speech software called Balabolka and creating screen captures using Screencast-o-matic.
I’m constantly moving around the room talking to students and have gathered the following impressions :

Positives.

1. Students feel they’ve improved their technical skills through the sessions that they’ve received so far.
2. They feel more confident using technology.
3. They believe they will now use Xerte in other areas of their studies, and even in preparation for job interviews if the situation calls for it.
4. They now find it easy to use Xerte, in comparison to the start of the module where many felt overwhelmed and confused by the technology and what was expected from them. Many of them have proven this with how they’ve worked on their projects in the past week; some members of the groups have nearly completed their part.
5. The students seem really happy with how the module is going, and also feel they have good support.

Negatives

1. Students are frustrated with the error issue with uploading images (solution is to close the project, reopen it, and then try uploading the image again).
2. They don’t like how Xerte wouldn’t allow them to change the colour scheme on their project. (I did explain the reason was because it would affect accessibility).
I dropped into the session and shot the following little videos to give a flavour of things:
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