This paper reports on the evaluation of an ambitious attempt to embed academic literacy support within a core content course for first-year students at the University of the South Pacific. The course is offered in both blended and online modes, catering for on-campus and off-campus students, respectively, using Moodle as the virtual learning environment (VLE). We begin by explaining how we have made the most of Moodle as a learning platform, enabling us to supplement the core content resources with additional components that support students’ academic literacy development, rather than sacrificing content to create this space. Since the additional material is embedded into the main learning design of the course, students acquire academic literacy within the disciplinary context of their academic programme, rather than through standalone ‘study skills’ provision that is devoid of content. We then devote the majority of the paper to discussing the evaluation of this course design, again explaining how we have made the most of Moodle to do so. We have used learning analytics data from Moodle tracking and completion reports to calculate engagement scores for each student, focusing on a composite of their access to resources, their compliance with sequencing and timing, their investment in activities, and their overall achievement. We have then examined the extent to which the different elements of engagement appear to impact achievement in assignments, demonstrating that the students who achieved the highest grades were those who accessed more materials, kept up with the intended schedule, and invested more than they needed to in activities, despite no immediate rewards for doing so.
Recommended CitationWillans, Fiona; Fonolahi, Aluwesi; Buadromo, Ralph; Bryce, Tilisi; Prasad, Rajendra; and Kumari, Sandhya, Fostering and evaluating learner engagement with academic literacy support: Making the most of Moodle, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 16(4), 2019.