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Creating a dynamic and enriched learning environment for all students

In July 2016, Solent Online Learning was born, bringing with it a standardised unit template to provide greater consistency in how SOL is used and the way in which material is presented.

Rather than seeing SOL as a place to store files and resources, the SOL Baseline opens up the capacity for a dynamic and enriched teaching and learning experience for all students, regardless of the course studied. 

It is a teaching and learning philosophy that goes far beyond the template, focussing instead on extending the classroom into SOL – making the online learning space just as involving and rewarding as the classroom.

In a world of information overload, it’s a way of helping students discover what’s essential for their course. And best of all, it doesn’t involve anything you would think twice about doing in the classroom.

The most important thing is to put learning into context. You’re the subject expert; rather than collect resources, think of yourself as a curator, and ensure you point out what is most useful (what makes it useful or central or significant?), give direction and guidance (what should they be looking for? Thinking about? Doing?) and explain the rationale as you go. 

You could add a summary of the lecture along with the slides and think about how everything links together, how one week builds on the next. What is the story of the unit?

You could make short Panopto films yourself, at your desk, explaining a difficult concept or talking through the assessment brief. If you use lecture capture, consider embedding the videos into the tab, rather than leaving them off to one side where they can easily be missed. 

The important thing about these ideas is that they put you at the heart of the unit. Online learning without a tutor presence simply doesn’t work, and reading slides could never replace a class.  

If you’ve done all that and something’s still missing, maybe it’s the students. Set tasks or quizzes. Give them a platform. Revisit at each seminar. Students will follow where you lead and ultimately, community and collaboration are at the heart of the SOL baseline.  

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The SOL baseline is about turning SOL into a teaching and learning environment, even when you’re not there. It has the potential to reduce the distinction between learning online and learning in the classroom to where your students are, not what they are doing, and it makes it achievable for everyone.  

If you need help doing any of these things, you can visit the help site in SOL, email ltu@solent.ac.uk or call x5100, or contact the Learning Technologies helpdesk on the second floor of the library.

If you would like to discuss your unit pages and find out what’s possible, you can email instructional.design@solent.ac.uk and one of the team will get back to you.