Organisation

University of Derby

Sector

Further Education

Success

Improving Learning Sessions, Creating Comprehensive Essay Frameworks, Helping Students Develop Creative Thinking Skills

It's really useful for brainstorming ideas at the start of a project or piece of work. I use it with students to help them to make their planning as effective as possible

Emma Butler
Subject Librarian, Buxton Campus

Running Interactive Learning Sessions with Students

The University of Derby is a multi-site University with campuses in Derby and Buxton. Emma Butler is a Subject Librarian for the Buxton Campus, and has been running learning sessions with her students using MindGenius and mind mapping.

She captured a recent session she ran for her students for YouTube, so that students doing the module via distance or e-learning could also experience the session.  

Here she tells us the purpose of the session and how it helped her students.
“I was introduced to mind mapping by some of my colleagues who teach on the Further Education courses run by the University and I do use MindGenius myself for my own work purposes. It's really useful for brainstorming ideas at the start of a project or piece of work. I use it with students to help them to make their planning as effective as possible.

“The particular session we filmed for YouTube was a repeat of one that we did last year for students on the same module and the impetus for it came from the module leader for Marketing and Promotion, Sheila Mclaughlin, who believes that working with mind mapping and MindGenius helps recognize different people’s learning styles and encourages students to work with skeletal frameworks. Working with skeletal frameworks helps the students to think through their work more logically, coherently and creatively compared to just start writing a document.

“The purpose of the session was primarily to give the students an opportunity to start planning their module assignment, but also to use the tools and resources available via MindGenius to make this planning as effective as possible.

“We do want the students to develop creative thinking skills and MindGenius can certainly help with this but I think, more than that, the software actually enables the students to almost visualize their essay. They can see where the longer paragraphs are going to be, perhaps where they need more information, and which sections they have quotations, evidence and articles for etc. One of the key benefits of using MindGenius is that it allows the students to get all their ideas written down quickly and easily, and they can then rearrange and move sections as necessary.

“In this particular session, we demonstrated MindGenius while class members sat at a computer and worked along with us to build their own map.  We talked through their assignment on the “Analysis and Evaluation of Communication and the Promotional Mix at the University of Derby”, the requirements of their essay, and the elements they needed to include: for example Services Communication, to cover the characteristics of a service, a focus on marketing to students, an analysis section using the Pieters model, and their recommendations.  
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Fig. 1 Mind Map - Marketing Promo, Map created in session
Please click on image for full screen view
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Building a map in this way, allowed students to get to grips with using MindGenius too, including some of the functionality they might find particularly useful such as adding attachments to work out their search strategy and exports to MS Word, to be used when they were happy they had produced their essay framework.  We also covered the Gantt view. In this instance, I suggested they create a separate map for their recommendations and then turn this into a Gantt chart. This allowed them to visualize the amount of time required to implement their recommendations.

The students are generally very positive about MindGenius and what it can do, and several in particular commented on the facility to convert the map to a Gantt chart. This will be particularly useful when planning their dissertations in their final year.”
Emma believes: “MindGenius is very easy to use for both staff and students alike, but the analytical tools and other functions mean that it is very effective and useful for so many different work activities.”

The video is around 40 minutes long as it covers a teaching session.