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Novel learning platform developed at AU

Today, Wednesday 11 June 2014, a novel learning platform is launched at Aarhus University, curriculearn.dk. The platform has been developed by Associate Professor Ditlev Egeskov Brodersen at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG) and will be presented to the public on Thursday afternoon at a workshop at the conference "Frontiers in Science Education" held at the Lakeside Lecture Theatres, Aarhus University (AU).

The novel online learning platform has been developed to support the written exam skills of university students.
Associate Professor Ditlev Egeskov Brodersen from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics has developed the novel learning platform that will now be opened up to a wider audience at Aarhus University and other institutions in Denmark and abroad. Photo: Inger Marie Lindeman Olsen.

Supports the students' writing skills

The new learning platform is designed specifically with undergraduate courses in mind to support the students’ training of professional writing skills in connection with written exams. In Ditlev Brodersen's opinion, this is an area where relatively little training and competent feedback are offered today, which is unfortunate since most of the exams at that level are written exams.

Michael Etzerodt, Chairman of the Department's Education Committee, expects that curriculearn.dk will help enhancing the students' learning and academic writing skills in both theoretical and practical courses. Moreover, he believes that the system could be integrated right from the start of the study programme in connection with the upcoming service check of the undergraduate courses in molecular biology.

But the potential applications of the platform are much broader, both at AU and at other educational institutions, including in secondary and high schools, where focus on written skills are increasing in several areas in particular natural sciences.

Student peer review

On the curriculearn.dk platform, teachers can upload written exam questions as well as questions for theoretical exercises to the students, who must then answer these online within a given period. In contrast to many existing systems based on multiple-choice questions, curriculearn.dk supports open-ended questions and answers, which to a large extent reflects the Danish exam form.

After a response is received, it is sent for "peer review" among fellow students, who provide their feedback and comments to the answers after having answered the question themselves first and seen the teacher's response.

Teachers can follow the performance and progress of groups as well as individual student through the curriculum and can link questions into progression paths, so that advanced questions only are made available when more basic questions have been answered.

Presented at teaching conference
The teaching platform has been tested for some time by a number of teachers at MBG but is now open to a wider audience at AU and other institutions in Denmark and abroad.
Registration (and use) of the platform is currently free and takes place at www.curriculearn.dk. The system is available in both Danish and English.

Further information

Associate Professor Ditlev E. Brodersen
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Aarhus University, Denmark
deb@mb.au.dk - +45 21669001