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HELP! What do the students want? Engagement and the Online Classroom.

Dr. Cleo Cameron
The University of Northampton

Face to Face



2 hour seminar with presentation and interactive workshop

Weekly topics delivered online via Blackboard - using video presentation, media, news and article reading exercises.


CJS3012: Cybercrime Online Module


Online course runs for the first time


TERM 1 - 2018/19

Cleo Cameron takes over online Cybercrime module - completely redevelops module content

Cleo Cameron runs module for a second year, and this time redevelops assessment



The online course struggles in second year and loses online tutor end of February - declared failing

Module changes

Links to news stories and academic articles relevant to topic

Interactive Xertes slides with fill the missing blanks and quizzes

YouTube and Ted Talks media with embedded quizzes (Kaltura)

Bite-sized video lectures using Kaltura

LTI - Aspire Reading List Integration - linking directly through to relevant academic online materials each week

Academic Year 2017/18


Tell why did you decide to do this project? What was you purpose and why is it important?

Tell why did you decide to do this project? What was you purpose and why is it important?

Test Your Pedagogy:

How much do you know about Gilly Salmon's e-learning model?

Go to www.menti.com and put in the following code 206593

Gilly Salmon's e-learning stages.

How were these applied in CJS3012 2017/18?

Stage 1: Access and Motivation

Technical Support:

• First session was face-to-face. Showed the students how to navigate the Blackboard module site. How to access the course material, assessments and guidance and use LTI functionality

• Posted a course navigation video as further support

Actively encouraging learner:
• Initial face-to-face session to introduce myself and show that there is a real person offering support behind online experience; this was backed up with a navigation/presentation video

• First few weeks, held quite a few one-to-ones and fielded a significant amount of emails for those who were not confident with the format and needed extra guidance

Gilly Salmon's e-learning stages.

How were these applied in CJS3012 2017/18?

Stage 2: Online socialisation

The course involved a weekly Discussion Board discussion - for the first discussion, the students were asked to post a little about themselves and what they were studying as an icebreaker. Each post received a comment from the tutor (myself)

Gilly Salmon's e-learning stages.

How were these applied in CJS3012 2017/18?

Stage 3: Information exchange

Course material released adaptively so as not to overwhelm the learners with too much information:

• Topic material released week by week

• Discussion Board related to the weekly topic expected to be completed each week

• Continued facilitation and encouragement via e-mail, allied with weekly Bb announcements with instructions on how to approach the DB weekly topics and submission deadlines for the DB

Gilly Salmon's e-learning stages.

How were these applied in CJS3012 2017/18?

Stage 4: Knowledge construction

Weekly Discussion Board topics and questions involve learners having to conduct their own research in to topic areas (case examples, legislation) but also to formulate their own objectively argued perspectives in considering the social and ethical problems that areas of cybercrime raise.

Each weekly post receives tutor feedback in order to highlight what they have done well, what they may need to think about further, and examples of reading and cases that will illustrate this. The idea being that they will use the feedback to grow in confidence and develop effective knowledge acquisition.

Gilly Salmon's e-learning stages.

How were these applied in CJS3012 2017/18?

Stage 5: Development

Formative and summative assessment of a Reflective Journal was a facet of the module:

• As the course progressed, reflective entries became more evaluative and critically attuned.

• There were fewer e-mails from learners as they became more comfortable with the online format and with what was expected of them

So, the new CJS3012 2017/18 was a success?!




Module feedback comments 2015/16

Tell why did you decide to do this project? What was you purpose and why is it important?

Tell why did you decide to do this project? What was you purpose and why is it important?

"I found this module a total waste of time and added stress which is very unnecessary in my final year at university. Online lectures were boring and basic. The lack of face to face lectures left me confused and when help was offered lectures where defensive and unhelpful blaming misunderstanding on us. Assignments seemed totally irrelevant and confusing. Overall I was very disappointed with this module and the support given."

"There seemed to be no real structure to this module. The assessment criteria did not always make sense, was defiantly not clear and appeared to refer to aspects that were not taught or put into the assessments. I think this module has been a waste of my time at university as it has no relation to my current career path and was poorly managed. This module should only be an optional choice rather than compulsory, if give a chance i would have chosen a number of different modules over this one."

Module Feedback


Tell why did you decide to do this project? What was you purpose and why is it important?

Very poor organisation, changes are not communicated, activities are not published as expected, feedback on work is not helpful

  • Very poor content in this module and not organised
  • Assessments not relevant to policing and repetitive
  • Overall a poor module in value for money

Should be assessed on what we have learned in the online lectures more, we have spent most of the year writing irrelevant reflections about the module structure with no focus on subject material

More face-to-face, videos more interesting

Module Feedback


Changes to Assessments 2018/19

Academic Year 2018/19 – took over as module leader:

Changed weekly public discussion board to weekly private discussion journal
• Students have to work through weekly topic material and then write 300 words answering a question related to that topic material

• Feedback is provided for each journal entry

• There are 7 entries in total to complete although only 5 have to be submitted formally

• At the end of Term 1, the learners can edit 5 of their entries incorporating feedback I have provided – they then submit 5 entries formally through Turnitin to ensure originality and for second marking
• The process is repeated in Term 2 (a total of 3000 words are submitted)

Second part of Assessment

• Over Terms 1 and 2, 4 public discussion board posts have to be made on a selected topic – the first public post deals with the topic question (up to 350 words), the second post of the term provides a peer review critical evaluation of another learner’s post (150-200 words).

Module feedback Term 1 2018/19

Student retaking the year interviewed:

• 2017/18 Essay assessment not effective – seemed irrelevant to anyone other than policing students and not informed by most of the course content
• Meant that student did not participate online week to week, only participated on weeks relevant to formal assessment
Assessment and course 2018/19:
• Format 100% better
• 300 weekly writing exercise, have to be concise, builds skills
• Weekly formative assessment, with feedback, means engagement with topic material each week.

“Module structure is much better than last year, it is a lot clearer, more guidance each week. The week to week work is also helpful to keep on track with the module material. Feedback is informative and very helpful”

Module feedback Term 1 2018/19

Out of 21 forms filled in, only 3 were negative:

“I would prefer more face to face lectures - engagement”
“All online is demotivating”
“Although enjoy the way it works and weekly content it can be quite time consuming”

Mostly the feedback was very positive:

“Prefer the online learning”
“I have enjoyed the frequent setting of tasks to keep you reading up around the topic, makes staying on track a lot easier, feedback is useful and easy to make sense of”
“Diverse range of topics, makes sure that work isn’t rushed and is spread out across the year, constant feedback on work with clear improvements outlined”
“I really enjoy the videos of Cleo, she explains everything in great detail and provides lots of extra reading and resources." The assessment, “is great, really takes the pressure off (rather than doing a large essay at the end) it also makes sure I understand every sub-topic in detail rather than one topic in an essay. "Feedback: "Cleo always replies to questions promptly." Further comments: "One of my favourite topics and love the way it is taught”.



Hattersley, S. (2014). Transforming Pedagogy and Experience through e-Learning in Teacher Education. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, pp. 1-11. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.11120/elss.2014.00032 Accessed 04/01/19

Kuong, H. (2015). Enhancing Online Learning Experience: From Learners’ Perspective. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 191, pp. 1002-1005. Available at: https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.northampton.ac.uk/science/article/pii/S1877042815026634 Accessed 04/01/19

Salmon, G. (2005). Flying not flapping: A strategic framework for e-learning and pedagogical innovation in higher education institutions. Research in Learning Technology, 13(3), pp. 201-218. Available at: https://journal.alt.ac.uk/index.php/rlt/article/view/1030/1280 Accessed 04/01/19

Salmon, G. (n.d.). The Five Stage Model. Available at: https://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage-model.html Accessed 28/12/18

Symeonides, R. & Childs, C. (2015). The personal experience of online learning: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 51(PA), pp. 539-545. Available at: https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.northampton.ac.uk/science/article/pii/S0747563215003866 Accessed 04/01/19