I haven’t actually blogged for a while, unfortunately, which is largely because I’ve been busy developing a new distance learning course entitled “How to Pass Exams” on Udemy.com.
The Reasons for this Course
I decided to develop this course for my students because we spend a lot of time concentrating on language, but not so much actually on developing study strategies or revision strategies. One of the key problems for those about to do an exam is motivation during study time. We start off feeling motivated but keeping that motivation going over a period of time is another matter, so this course also looks at ways of maintaining your level of motivation. The other killer is fear, which is our companion all the way through the course “Am I good enough?” “What will the examiner be like?” etc. etc. This reaches its peak generally in the days just before an exam so there are some tips and anecdotes here as to how to deal with these feelings.
How is the Course Organised?
The course is a type of experiment. If you know me and my work you will know that I have taught in many blended learning contexts such as WizIQ or in my university courses but this is my first experience of creating a complete distance learning course. I wanted to have something that my students could access freely and work through as and when they wanted to. The course is organised in short screen cast videos made to highlight the main points of a topic and these are followed by worksheets in the form of PDFs that learners can download to their computers, tablets, smartphones etc. and work through at their own pace. The PDFs include a series of activities and links to useful sites and references so that those who are interested in a particular topic can go into it more thoroughly. If you are interested in working on memory techniques, for instance, in the section on memory you will find useful links to further reading and study as well as some simple exercises to do straight away.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Udemy
Udemy is an excellent platform and those developing courses can upload both videos and other files easily as well as linking to material you develop on other sites such as YouTube or Vimeo. The PDFs are displayed in a reader which is highquality and allows students to scroll down the document easily as well as dowloading a copy for their own use.
The site also has a “notepad” feature where students can pause the video they are watching, for instance, and take notes. They can then download these dotes directly onto their computers too, which is a very useful feature. There is also a space for asking questions. Instructors can access the course once a week, for instance to answer questions and students can ask whatever they want to.
You can also schedule and run live classes on this site, which I have yet to do… that will be the next adventure.
There are, however, a few disadvantages as well. The main one is that it is sometimes difficult to navigate the site. If you look for a course in the “discover courses” section using tags such as “exams” or “passiing exams” or “education”, all of which I had added as tags for my course, you do not find it, and you find a whole selection of courses that are not necessarily connected to what you want to do. This is a prblem that I hope will soon be worked out as it has been mentioned to Udemy several times and they promise that they are working on it.
If you want to find my courses, the best way is simply to follow the link above (at the beginning of this article) or to search for me as a person in the Udemy search box. If you search for “Sharon Hartle” you will find my page and you can access the course from there.
Anyway, the course is up and running so now I hope that it will be useful to whole generations of students so, if you are a student, or is you are about to start preparing for an exam, or if you have students who would be interested, please join the course. It is absolutely free of charge, but I would appreciate hearing people’s comments.