rSmart Sakai CLE in an Irish university: a users perspectiveAnglica RsquezCentre for Teaching and LearningUniversity of Limerick
BackgroundUniversity of Limerick: ~13,000 students; ~500 lecturersUL adopted Sakai as the common CLE in September 2005Constructive pilot phase Semester 2 - 2005/06Decision to use hosted solution rSmart Sakai CLELarger test group Semester 1 of the 2006/7 Academic year (over 30 modules and 600 students) Integration with Active Directory, single-password access for all campus members. Integration with the Student Information system. Full implementation during Semester 2 2006/7 (sites for every module)To date, more than 80 module sites published, more than 300 modules, project and practice sites published in total. ~2,600 studentsThe CLE is used to complement f-t-f teaching, online courses and to coordinate research and professional networks.
EvaluationsReadiness survey with faculty and students, May 2006Survey Question Bank, 5th Sakai Conference (Vancouver) http://bugs.sakaiproject.org/confluence/display/UDAT/ Survey+Question+BankSurvey of students using Sakai rSmart CLE, December 2006Faculty survey using Sakai rSmart CLE, May 2007
Student EvaluationFirst semester of implementation of Sulis (Sakai at UL)Approximately 30 active modules, 600 students enrolledOnline survey sent to 400 students approximately17% response rate61.5% female, 93.9% Irish
Student Evaluation (2)Access to the Internet
Student Evaluation (3)Use of Sulis in your course
Student Evaluation (4)Frequency of visits
Student Evaluation (5)Overall Experience (1 = Completely disagree; 5 = Completely agree)I think all lecturers should integrate Sulis into their modules
Student Evaluation (6)Sulis has helped (1 = Completely disagree; 5 = Completely agree)
Student Evaluation (7)%Tools used
%Not statistically representativeStudent Evaluation (8)I found it useful/very useful (from those that used it)
Student Evaluation (9)How did using Sulis impact on your learning experience (open ended)? (Feedback related to rSmart Sakai CLE interface, n=6)The interface is confusing and requires too much navigation to reach the desired location. I found it to be over-elaborate, simplification of the menu systems would greatly increase its potentialThe distinction between learn and inform is not at all clear. Most of the students in our course have missed something, an announcement or instructions When you become familiar with the structure and how it's used (different lecturers probably use it in different ways) it is convenient. The discussion forums need to tell the student either by email or by having a notice on 'My Workspace' page, that a new discussion topic or reply has been posted. I do realise that there is an option that can be checked at the end of posting a discussion, however from my experience it is forgotten 99% of the time. Indexing poor (if you want to find an article seen previously you have to remember way in) Very easy to useThe most important factor is that everything related to the module is in one place that is user friendly and student friendly.
Student Evaluation (10)How did using Sulis impact on your learning experience (open ended)? (Feedback related to its pedagogical use)Helps manage study loadIt allows me to keep track of coursework related to this module -the syllabus, reading lists, etc. It's handy to have these available online without opening or printing out Word documents.Reminders of deadlines for assignments and the like...keeps you on your toes as you see the deadline coming closer.Found it useful in keeping up to date on requirements for tutorials from week to week. Automatic update by email when resources have been posted is helpful.I find the month and semester overview option in the Calendar very helpful in getting a broader perspective on up coming deadlines. Also it could possible show the combined calendars of the other Sakai modules being taken, would just be ideal!! With announcements, I felt that I was always informed of what stage I was supposed to be at.
Student Evaluation (11)How did using Sulis impact on your learning experience (open ended)? (Feedback related to its pedagogical use)Enhances faculty-student-student communicationOverall I think it was effective, it is different from the usual way and it is good to communicate with people on the website.It ensures that all relevant information pertaining to the module is made available to every student. It doesn't discriminate against students who miss lectures (which can often be for valid reasons, e.g. illness). It is accessible from any computer, including off-campus, while Public Folders can be difficult to access. I know some students tend to erase their mail without opening it therefore, if it is from Sulis, you know it must be important.Better to communicate with class and clearly understand what we have to do in tutorialIts helpful because I can understand and ask questions that I find difficult and I can have access to all lectures instantly.I find the discussion board very helpful as you can view the questions others have asked which may be similar to your problem or may be something you had not thought of but learn because it was asked by another student
Student Evaluation (12)How did using Sulis impact on your learning experience (open ended)? (Feedback related to its pedagogical use)Facilitates collaboration between studentsFacilitates discussion with other students and provides a facility for students to bring attention to resources (articles, books and so on) that are relevant to the subject but which may not be listed in the normal course reading lists. Seems to be less intrusive way of communicating with lecturers, instead of the normal e-mail. Our project site provided a central location for storage of files pertaining to our project, that aren't relevant to other project teams in the same module. rather than emailing or handing out printouts of every document.
Student Evaluation (13)How did using Sulis impact on your learning experience (open ended)? (Feedback related to its pedagogical use)Facilitates assignment submission/feedback provisionHas made submission of assignments easier and provided prompt availability of assignment feedback. Announcements and information regarding modules can easily be accessed.The submission of assignments is very definite, and I prefer it to dropping pages in a box in the Dept office, reports can be viewed on screen and backed up electronically Its very helpful to be able to go online, and get EXACT instructions for your assignments. Also, its handy to upload your work-it gives you a bit of leeway with the deadlines!!!Let's face it most students leave their projects until the last minute. Therefore, every second counts and it makes it easier, being able to submit five minutes before the deadline. It takes the pressure off of the student. Lecturer posted feedback to an assignment I completed. It was better than hearing it from the tutor in front of a group of peopleThe online test was useful in that it allowed me to test my knowledge of the subject, and gave me feedback information afterwards so that I would understand where I had made an error.I prefer submitting assignments online to handing in printed reports, which is wasteful and can be susceptible to human error (loss). The late submission functionality is also useful.
Student Evaluation (14)How did using Sulis impact on your learning experience (open ended)? (Feedback related to its pedagogical use)But it depends on the lecturers input and supportIts good insofar as an assignment and the related journal articles and any additional info are all accessible in the one location. However, the degree to which this works depends on the lecturer in question.The discussion board has potential but I find it unlikely that students not experiencing difficulty, who may be able to offer help, will see the need to open it or check up on others. Very limited updates, no comments from lecturersI feel that lecturers should choose one method only, i.e. either Sulis or Public FoldersIt gave a clear indication as to what was required of students. This was most likely due to the fact that our lecturer was very thorough in what she posted on the siteI found the assignment tool very useful, but the lecturer really puts a lot of work in to our feedback and that's really probably what makes me like it so muchIt has been a useful tool for the passing on of relevant information, but I think that it could be expanded on
Student Evaluation (15)How did using Sulis impact on your learning experience (open ended)? (Feedback related to its pedagogical use)A bit of attention to design is required The more recent announcements stack up on earlier ones before they 'disappear'. Afterwards we discovered we could go into announcements. If you have to check in Announcements to ensure you haven't missed something, the only announcement you need is 'NB: Check announcements'.Stick to just one solution please. As well as checking the department notice board, my private email, my UL email and public folders - I had to keep checking the Sulis site!If the lecturer uses the web page link option, it would be better if the webpage opened in a separate window
Student Evaluation (16)How did using Sulis impact on your learning experience (open ended)? (Feedback related to its pedagogical use)And remain aware of students diversity and possible problems It is too advanced for the very mature students. I did not find the lecturer helpful at all. We were never showed how to work it properly. I think you need to know a lot about computers to following the instructions or better tutors to teach it.I resubmitted the