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Guest blog: Using Ketso Connect to design a new undergraduate course

Dr Katja Stuerzenhofecker is Lecturer in Gender Studies in Religion in the Department of Religions and Theology, at the University of Manchester.

In my discipline in the humanities, a typical teaching week starts with a two-hour lecture followed by a related one-hour seminar. This would be the pattern for most of the course, but there might also be the odd assignment workshop. I have used this pattern for two decades now and never queried whether this is the most effective and appropriate way to help students to learn. That is until Joanne gave me a Ketso Connect kit as a sample, potentially for future use with students on one of my courses.

Leaves on a Ketso Connect in the traditional pattern for teaching

Leaves on a Ketso Connect in the traditional pattern for teaching

I needed to design the weekly outline for a new year 3 undergraduate course, Contemporary Religion in the British Isles, and what better way to become familiar with Ketso Connect than to use it myself? I sat down with my Ketso Connect for this task: How might lectures, seminars, workshops and assignments fit together and into the structure of the second semester with its awkward timing of the break and students’ focus on their dissertation?

I started out with the rigid pattern of two-hour lecture followed by one-hour seminar but found that this pattern restricted what I could do. Several workshops to prepare students for small group work and assignments, and also several assignments just didn’t fit in at the points when they would be required.

Having experienced the transformative power of this visual tool myself, I am excited to find out what students can achieve with it.

Lectures and workshops rearranged to form a new pattern for teaching

Lectures and workshops rearranged to form a new pattern for teaching

Being determined to make the pattern fit the learning and not the other way round, I started to move ideas between the two columns on the Ketso planner. It is this visual and physical aspect of Ketso that freed up my thinking. My commitment to enquiry-based and student-led learning was allowed to come to the surface: why not swap the lectures with the seminars, and even abandon the weekly pattern altogether to front-load the course with a succession of student-led seminars and study skills workshops. Now, there is coherence of pedagogical design within the given constraints of contact hours and semester dates.

Each student on this new module will be given their own Ketso Connect to use on the module and in their further studies. I will introduce using the kit for individual and small group work to analyse popular media products and identify common themes. Having experienced the transformative power of this visual tool myself, I am excited to find out what students can achieve with it.

Experience the benefits of Ketso Connect – individual packs available for you to try yourself.

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