A rich and valid learning experience will likely need to enable students to critically engage with a wide variety of sources found outside of the University. Material available externally can also provide useful support for core learning, meaning that you can spend your time on creating content that does not exist elsewhere to deepen students’ learning.
External sources refer to materials used in teaching that are not produced by the University, such as:
This guide discusses key issues you should consider when using external sources. It also provides a list of common sources for external materials.
You will have no control over external resources, so should be cautious in how you use them to ensure you continue to provide an accessible experience to your students.
Things to consider when using an external source:
Answering these questions should help you to evaluate whether and how you should use a resource.
Develop a clear narrative which links the different materials. When considering what (and how) to present to your students, align your content to the learning journey your students are taking. For example, you might:
While this might sound like common sense, it is important to design your materials so that students are guided through them at each stage. Often, just by making the sequence of materials clear in the text you choose to accompany them, students have a clearer sense of the progress they’re making. It also enables them to understand how different resources are connected.
You can use signposting and instructional text to guide students through your teaching materials and connect different resources together. These techniques help you to link your resources. You can do this by:
To support you in this stage, you can review the following selection of examples of digital content for a learning activity from different disciplines within the University.
You may be able to find online courses that you can use to support your content. The University of Leeds has access to several sources:
LinkedIn Learning provides short courses which can be combined with longer development paths. The site focuses on skills in the workplace and professional development, as well as practical training in software. Students can add badges and certificates to their LinkedIn pages as proof of course completion. The courses are provided in videos and quizzes, with interactive transcripts available.
FutureLearn provides short online courses (MOOCs), online degrees as well as microcredentials and programs. The content is developed by world-leading universities and organisations. The courses are web pages which can contain video, audio and interactive elements. Students learn in a community, with the site focusing on social learning. There is a wide selection of academic content as well courses focusing on practical technological skills.
The courses provided on Coursera are developed by leading universities and companies. Most of the content on the site are videos and quizzes with transcripts available. Students can earn industry-recognised credentials and course certificates.