Using Zoomable Online Outliners in STEM education

Bailey, Naomi, Denholm-Price, James and Pfluegel, Eckhard (2019) Using Zoomable Online Outliners in STEM education. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference : Making Connections and Sharing Pedagogy; 03 - 04 Jul 2019, Kingston upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Zoomable Online Outliners (ZOOs) are emerging niche tools. Their main benefit is the provision of cloud-based access and storage of textual information in form of a hierarchical outline, combined with an intuitive user interface. Our work investigates the use of ZOOs for learning and teaching in higher education, a methodology about which very little appears to be known in the literature. This talk reports on our experience of using the ZOO tools WorkFlowy and Dynalist for improving student satisfaction at Kingston over the course of the last three academic years. We consider four use cases for learning and teaching: the use of ZOOs as learning management systems, as presentation tool for delivering lectures, as content management system for e-learning and for formative assessment. Our methodolgy has been used in one undergraduate and several postgraduate cyber security modules, as well as a postgraduate mathematics revision session. Data based on module evaluations and student surveys consistently give evidence of the positive impact on student learning and experience. In particular, a majority of students prefer hierarchical delivery of content using ZOOs to a linear delivery using PowerPoint. In the concluding part of this talk we also discuss the limitations of our approach, the lessons learnt so far and future directions.

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