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Student team to maximise usability of their department’s online teaching materials

27 June 2019

Staff-student project in UCL Chemistry to align Moodle with E-Learning Baseline and digital accessibility legislation.

Staff and students at a computer

Two UCL Chemistry students are engaged in a summer project to revise their department’s programme-related teaching materials for maximum usability.

Final-year PhD students Catherine Higgins and Ceridwen Ash are working with Senior Teaching Fellow Dr Stephen Potts and Director of Studies Prof. Katherine Holt.

Meeting UCL's E-Learning baseline

They are tasked with reviewing online materials and Moodle courses and amending them to meet UCL’s E-Learning Baseline to ensure consistent usability, availability and quality. By meeting the Baseline, the Moodle courses will also comply with the UK’s new Digital Accessibility legislation

Embedding a standard template

The project builds on the work the department did two years ago, using the E-learning Baseline to create a standard template for chemistry Moodle pages. The template was designed by Dr Potts after surveying staff and students about what they would like to see on an ideal Moodle page. It includes a clear tab for file submission and tabs for each topic on the course and key staff contact details are shown in a right-hand block along with communication expectations, reading lists and timetables. Students, particularly those from other departments, have commented on the ease of navigation and consistency between the Moodle pages. This has led to fewer queries to staff from students trying to find information.

The new audit and accessibility project is anticipated to be complete by the end of August 2019, but the team will share their approach and initial findings in a case study next month.

View template 

Self-enrol to access the Chemistry template on Moodle.

Catherine Higgins said: 

Moodle is a vital link between staff and students. For students, it's an essential part of their university experience as it contains all their course materials and additional readings as well as being the place where they have to submit their work and where they can communicate with the entire class via the Forum. For lecturers, it is the best possible way to reach the entire class, whether it's to upload past paper questions for practice before the exam or to post an interesting article they found regarding the subject online. As such we feel it's important to make sure Moodle is accessible for all, which why we are eager to help out this summer. 

Top Tips to make your Moodle accessible 

  1. Make sure all your students can access your Moodle modules - use UCL's E-Learning Baseline 

  2. Drop-in and talk to Digital Education experts in face-to-face sessions throughout June and July
  3. Contact digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk if you have queries about your content