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Tipping Towards Success: Using Technology to Engage and Ensure Enhanced Student Experiences

Mr Richard German,
Mrs Thelma Fisher, Mrs Trish Leishman, Ms Christy Ballard

University of Otago

Ensuring a seamless online student experience that engenders repeat engagement drives the innovative development and reframing of ResearchSmart modules for health science students at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Background: ResearchSmart is a modular, self- directed, self-paced, interactive online course originally designed by Health Sciences Library subject librarians for second year medical students, and developed to assist students attain the University’s Graduate Attributes for Information Literacy. Piloted in 2012, it has now replaced in-class information

skills tutorials in professional courses in the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, either as an assessed or required component.

Methods: The modular content comprises a series of topics, tasks and quizzes built in Adobe Captivate and delivered within the Learning Management System (Moodle or Blackboard). By 2018 it has evolved to meet changes in technology standards, platforms, devices, so ware, and academic convenors’ and students’ digital expectations and needs.

Findings: Proactive planning, reflection on academic and student needs and feedback, and attention to managing so ware interoperability, e.g. with Captivate, LibWizard,, HTML5, and SCORM, have formed the basis for progressive development of the ResearchSmart modules. Increasing from four to six modules (by adding reference management and e-professionalism) has kept pace with degree redesign, learning objectives and the expectations of professional workplace standards. Student engagement has expanded to include postgraduate courses, more non-professional disciplines and new degrees; reaching over 2500 students annually. Reframing the use of these modules for residential workshops, pre-course readiness, distance-taught courses and as refresher hub resources has been undertaken by incorporating the best use of technology to enhance student skills, knowledge and experience.

Discussion: How ResearchSmart can adapt and remain future-ready will require collaboration, training and a willingness to be responsive yet innovative between

academic staff , students, librarians and IT staff.