In common with most higher education institutions Birmingham City University courses use elements of e-learning to support the face to face taught sessions. We use a system called Moodle, which is considered to be the most popular learning management system in the world being used in 199 countries by 25,477 people (As at 17.12.2008 see link for latest figures) . Students studying Mental Health Nursing at the Faculty of Health are no exception.
Individual course modules each have their own Moodle site, these are also grouped together into a single site called ‘The Mental Health Learning Community’. We have really tried to develop a good range of resources to support student learning such as filmed scenarios, quizzes and interactive resources. The intention was to try and make the online component of the course as accessible and interesting as possible. As part of this project an informal evaluation was carried out.
Over 200 students completed an evaluation survey which asked about their experience of using the online resources. The first sample of 142 students was taken between February and September 2007 and this was repeated with 60 students between October and November 2008. The survey suggests an interesting shift in the way students are using these resources.
Amongst the 2007 group, 12% stated that they rarely or never used the Moodle resources provided. There is quite a significant change over the course of a year as 100% of students surveyed accessed Moodle to some extent.
There are still some problems regarding ease of access. In response to the question ‘How easy did you find it to access the resources at University’ 30% found it ‘very easy’ in 2007 as compared with 32% a year later. Although no-one said they did not access it now (5% last year) there clearly remain some difficulties to look at.
Generally we were delighted with evidence suggesting that a large majority of students (98%) agreed that Moodle resources enhanced learning on the course to a ‘large extent’ or ‘some extent’. Again, this represents a positive shift towards acceptance of this resource.
These are just a few examples of the informal evaluation undertaken. This process is being used as part of a pilot study to be developed into a wider and more detailed research study to be completed over the course of 2009. Hopefully it should be possible to give information about this at a later date.