To make working with the microscope even more user-friendly, one of Alexandra’s research assistants has taken photos of about 20 glass slides in JCU’s collection, and they are now available on JCU’s own virtual learning environment—Learn JCU—and via the JCU App.
Alexandra says that she, along with Associate Professor Monika Zimanyi, also put a lot of extra work into making the online resources interactive and fun to use, so that students are motivated to use them more than just once.
“We narrated over the top of them, we wrote the texts, and we did some practice questions that we aligned to the learning outcomes,” she says. “It’s to engage the students and to get them to continuously find use with the resource over and over again.
“We also wanted to make consistent, interactive virtual slides that the students could navigate themselves. This was so they could pick and choose what they engaged with,” Alexandra says.
Finding out what students want
Publishing the resources online doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody is going to use them. “We know that 80 per cent of our students did go in and used one of the slides,” Alexandra says. “Our biomed students were spending up to 30 minutes working with a particular slide, and around 90 per cent engaged with a resource more than once, which was positive to see.”
Alexandra says that everybody is a different learner, and that this can also be seen when looking at the statistics. “You do tend to find the really enthusiastic students go through and use every single slide. Other students might look only at one or two slides.”
Alexandra was keen to learn more about how students engaged with the online resources, and asked her students what she and her colleagues could do to improve the database. “They wanted more quizzes and questions,” she says, adding that she and her colleagues are currently updating the resources based on the feedback. “We will put more questions in and make them more diverse as well.”