Riding the COVID-19 wave: online learning activities for a field-based marine science unit

Year: 2021

Author: Francis, Prue

Type of paper: Symposium

Despite Learning Management Systems (LMS) being implemented in higher education since early 2000's, there is evidence to suggest LMS are being underutilised by instructors to deliver online content. A potential solution to encourage instructors' interaction with LMS is through creative online technology tools such as H5P software. This paper aims to inspire and provide support to other instructors by sharing my experiences and recommendations of using H5P software within a first-year marine science unit following the decision to shift this unit to emergency remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The marine science unit is a first-year compulsory unit for the Bachelor of Marine Science undergraduate course offered at Deakin University. The unit aims to engage first year students and allow foundations in building student's lifelong development through hands-on activities. Pivoting to online, required the LMS unit site to be the central interface for students to engage with the unit. Weekly HTML modules on the LMS site were developed where H5P software was integrated into these modules to create weekly activities for students. I developed 29 H5P activities that were integrated into the HTML weekly modules, where 3 of them are presented in detail here. The most commonly used H5P tools were the course presentation, image juxtaposition and memory game. The activities developed allowed students to test their understanding of the weekly content and gain immediate formative feedback through the H5P software.One of the benefits I found using H5P is the accessibility for both instructor and student as H5P activities can be accessed using either a computer or mobile device. Previous digital technology skills is not required to develop your own H5P activities as the H5P website provides examples and step-by-step instructions on how to create each tool.H5P activities developed for this unit show early signs of being a useful active learning tool for online learning where the next step is to quantify student engagement with the activities to evaluate whether H5P interactives are a useful tool to contribute to first year student engagement and motivation.