Authored by altLAB

The Challenge

When Adrienne designed her first online paper in Health Promotion Evaluation, she was fairly confident she had got it right.  

The paper learning outcomes required students to design and carry out an evaluation of a small-scale Health Promotion such as a university-wide no-smoking campaign.  

The Blackboard course template she had inherited had a consistent and easy-to-follow structure. There was a range of engaging resources, embedded self-study activities, and a series of mini-lectures that Adrienne had developed to supplement weekly ‘virtual classes’ in Blackboard Collaborate.   Adrienne was disappointed when student evaluations and a focus group revealed that students had not engaged with much of the online content over the semester. Instead, they relied on the weekly virtual classes for direct guidance from Adrienne and went straight to the assessment and resource list online. She understood that time was a barrier for her students, most of whom were also working full time. 

Solutions and Advice

The assessments had worked fine, but for the next delivery, Adrienne wanted to revise the paper’s teaching and learning content to increase engagement.  

She had the idea of using a scenario featuring two characters, Hemi and Jo-ann, who were working through the process of designing and carrying out their own health promotion evaluation.  

Week by week, the scenario moved through scaffolded content, introducing relevant concepts and design methods that students could apply to their own work. When Adrienne storyboarded the scenario, she made sure her characters stayed a step ahead of where students would need to be. 

Adrienne sought help from altLAB for best practice in designing scenario-based learning and for training in how to build the scenario in Blackboard. She found that many of the resources she had included in the first iteration could be recycled, sequenced at an appropriate place in the scenario. The actual content had not changed much at all – only the way it was presented to students. 

The next semester, feedback from students was much more positive, and engagement significantly higher, both in live discussions during Adrienne’s virtual classes, and in terms of completion of online activities. Overall, students in the second cohort also achieved higher in the final assignment.