Your unit's MyLO site is the primary tool and location for all communication (and resources) in your unit.
This page focuses on the use of MyLO for communication purposes. Information about using MyLO for teaching and learning purposes can be found throughout this site, with a focus on planning and designing activities and tasks for students.
If you are new to the use of MyLO, it is recommended that you engage with the interactive resource 'The Essentials', located within the Teaching Online In MyLO site. This provides an introduction to the form, function, and key tools within MyLO. If you are familiar with MyLO, and are looking for a step-by-step guide for showing you how to do something in MyLO, use key words related to what you are looking for in the University Repositories (LOR).
Introducing the Unit
Most students' first impression of you and your unit will be your unit's MyLO site. Therefore take time to consider what they will encounter upon first entry; a novice user should be able quickly to find key information about the unit and also what they are expected to do, when and to what standard.
To help you think about this, you may find it useful to refer to the Quality Matters General Standard 1 as it identifies key, evidence-based features of a MyLO site which help to welcome and orient students. These include:
- Instructions that make it clear to students what they should do first, and which introduce students to the design and function of your unit's MyLO site
- An introduction to the purpose and structure of your unit (as per the Unit Outline)
- A personal introduction to yourself and other teaching staff in the unit, including contact details, availability and communication preferences
- An opportunity (and instructions) for students to introduce themselves to the class within MyLO - this helps students to feel that they are part of a learning community
- Expectations regarding communication - both online and on-campus
- Links to and/or explanations of relevant policies
- Clear information identifying the technology(ies) students will need to use in your unit, including instructions for their use, access and installation
- Minimum technical skills that students require, including use of above technologies as well as general use of MyLO and other standard programs such as Office360 software.
You need to ensure that students are able to access your Unit Outline by clicking on the clicking on the Unit Outline link within the Unit Information section of your unit's homepage. Students expect this.
Administrative (& Assessment) Communication
The UTAS Blended Learning Model requires that communication is managed through MyLO because doing so provides clarity, timeliness and equity for all students. This is particularly important for communication about assessment.
How, where, and when information is provided to students is mostly up to you as the unit coordinator or lecturer (excluding the information mandated to be provided in the first week of semester). TILT does have some recommendations, however:
- Information about due dates, submission processes, and assessment and assignment requirements should be provided through the MyLO Content tool, either via the instructions in the associated tool (i.e., Dropbox, Quizzes, or Discussions) or within their own File that links to the relevant tool.
- Any due dates and important events for your unit that are not included in the centrally-managed Timetable should be communicated via the MyLO Calendar as well.
- Time sensitive communications, and information with a use-by date (i.e., only relevant for 1-3 weeks) are best managed through MyLO News.
- When there is a need for two-way communication (e.g., questions from students about unit or assessment requirements), this is best managed through Discussions (not via email). This way all students can see the answers to the questions of other students.
- An increasingly common practice at UTAS is to run a webconference (for both online and on-campus students) about assessment at about the time you would expect students to be working on their first draft. This approach means that students are able to ask questions and receive answers in real time, as well as providing a record for future reference (and for those students who chose not to attend).
- Assessment descriptions, criteria, rubrics, and resources are most effective when they are co-located within the tool students are required to use for completion or submission. The Dropbox Folder, Quiz or Discussion Forum/Topic should then be added to Content. This presents exactly the same information, accessible via two separate points/tools.
For more information and ideas about using MyLO and MyLO tools to manage communication in your unit, see the MyLO site Teaching Online in MyLO.
Using an Online Room enables you to provide equal opportunity for both on-campus and online students to discuss study issues and problems with you. This is an important consideration as being available for consultation with students is one of our responsibilities as identified in clause 10 of the Code of Conduct for Teaching and Learning. When communicating to students your availability for consultation through an Online Room, it is recommended that you include information about the process that students need to follow (e.g., how to make a booking, when bookings are possible, when drop-ins are possible).
When engaging with your students using online tools and technologies, take care that your choices are aligned with the learning outcomes of the activity, and not led by the capabilities of the technology. Having too many different tools within a single unit can detract from the learning that would otherwise occur, so take this into consideration when designing learning activities and selecting content.
Whenever you require students to engage with a tool or technology for the first time in your unit, provide instructions for use, or direct students to support resources and information. You might consider using Online Rooms to take students on a tour of new technologies prior to requiring its use for an activity or assessment.
Further information and considerations about learning activities for both online and on-campus students can be found on the Learning Activities pages.