Producing Teaching Content

Enhancing your teaching content


The landscape of Higher Education is ever changing, informing how we teach and adapt our resources. We strive to optimise our synchronous teaching time and to make our asynchronous materials concise and accessible. We have several iterations of student feedback to process and any subsequent adjustments to our teaching delivery to implement. The technology we use is being continually developed and updated. It is easy to see why considering enhancing teaching content can feel like one task too many.

But far from being just something else to keep abreast of, utilising technology effectively is a sound investment of our time. Creating digital resources can be an asset in this rhythm of adjustments, as it allows us to restructure, tweak and repurpose our material more easily. Taking some time to consider how technology can enhance teaching content will improve the learning experience for your students and help keep your content future proof.

Provide multiple representations

“Learners can construct deeper understanding when they abstract over multiple representations to achieve insight about the nature of the representations and the domain.” Ainsworth, S. (2014) The Multiple representational principle in multimedia learning. R. Mayer (Ed) The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning (2nd edition) Cambridge University Press.

Providing multiple representations of your content is an effective way to enhance and support student learning. We frequently provide students with diagrams and graphs alongside our textual and video content, but in a blended learning model we have many more options available to us for presenting content. We can add animation to our video, interactive photographs, interactive maps, interactive timelines, etc. Thus we can provide a rich, multimedia learning environment. Designing course units to include more and varied multimedia content provides multiple representations of information in different contexts to help students construct a deeper understanding of a topic.

Include problem solving activities

We know that we didn’t build an expertise in our subject area through reciting information alone; application of knowledge and problem solving are integral steps in the learning process. Technology offers us a unique opportunity to simulate these processes for our students. This can be as simple as producing an interactive graph to show students the nuanced relationship between a number of variables. Or as complicated as simulating full lab experiments, allowing students to ‘run’ a set of parameters and receive their results.

Look at this article to see some of the examples of interactive learning applications that have been created across the faculty as problem solving activities.

Manage content

A very simple way of enhancing our content is to structure our Blackboard course space carefully. Managing course content well not only helps with navigation but enables students to better structure their learning and understand what they know in the context of what is yet to be covered. Highlighting Intended Learning Objectives at the beginning of content is a straightforward way of helping students to structure their understanding.

Encourage multimedia creativity

Although a considerably complex task, students can themselves consider novel ways of demonstrating their learning. Changing the context of information and finding creative ways to demonstrate knowledge is a valuable skill to develop in and of itself. Why not use an online pinboard (such as padlet) to collate student multimedia entries; this can be embedded into Blackboard. Or you can enable ‘groups’ tools in Blackboard such as wikis and blogs which can be used for creative group projects.