Universiteit Leiden

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E-learning skills platform

Supported by the Faculty of Science and the Leiden Teachers’ Academy Wybrigje de Vries, Lisann Brincker and Marjo de Graauw have developed a modular e-learning skills platform. This platform is now up and running and can be used by the teachers and students of the Faculty of Science.

Aim and set-up

The skills platform is built in Brightspace. Students throughout the Faculty of Science can use it to master the skills they encounter during their study programme and to prepare themselves for a future career. The e-learning skills platform consists of a wide range of skill modules and chapters that are organised across different skill domains. How can you collaborate online effectively? How do you write a scientific paper? How do you provide peer feedback? How do you pitch your research? These and many other questions are answered here. Each chapter includes relevant background information, a step-by-step breakdown of how to develop a skill, and a skill assignment checklist.

With the advice and support from the skills team, teachers can link the relevant skill chapters to their existing course schedules and assignments. The corresponding learning goals can easily be incorporated in order to help put the training of skills on the map in any course.

Using the platform, students can prepare themselves for workgroups and lectures where they can then apply their newly gained knowledge immediately. The available templates can be used as interim checkpoints and give students some practical guidance as they are working on an assignment. In your feedback, you can easily refer students to the platform where they can use the information and step-wise plans in order to improve a skill they are still struggling with. More guidance and feedback mean less mails in the teacher inbox and higher quality end-products (see also Evaluation and research).

The skills team helps you during each step of the implementation process. Implementation here can mean simply making some links between the existing material and the content on the platform but also the support of entire skill education lines or courses. This depends on the wishes of each study programme and teacher. Feel free to contact the skills team if you are interested in getting to know the platform and discussing options for implementation.

On the platform, students receive practical support in their development of diverse skills that are immediately relevant to the courses they follow. Especially study programmes that do not (yet) have an explicit skill programme can lack sufficient explanation of the basic processes and products that students encounter. The platform is an accessible tool for students of all levels (BSc and MSc) and can be used to strengthen and expand that foundation.

Students learn e.g. how they can deliver a certain type of final product effectively and efficiently. The explanation, templates, examples and step-wise guides accompany the student through this process. Are they working in a team? Then then students also learn how to collaborate professionally and provide each other with regular feedback. Modules about dealing with stress and practicing study skills like reading academic texts or taking exams can contribute to a more comfortable student experience.
Students are also free to use the platform independently of their courses  in order to work on their skills and they keep their access throughout their entire study programme. Questions about the e-learning skills platform? Contact the skills team via skills@science.leidenuniv.nl.

 

The platform has been evaluated during several large pilot studies among bachelor students. During these pilots, the use of the skills platform was voluntary and not taken into account during grading. First year students and third year bachelor students of Bio Pharmaceutical Sciences as well as students from the Biology minor Molecular Biotechnology greatly appreciated the skills platform. In addition, students that actively used the skill modules, obtained higher grades for their final products.

Want to know more?

We are happy to give you and your colleagues a tour of the platform! Contact us via skills@science.leidenuniv.nl to schedule an appointment.

skills@science.leidenuniv.nl
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