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Are students ready to e-learn? - assessing students' IT Literacy skills Gabriel Hanganu Stuart Lee Learning Technologies Group University of Oxford.

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Presentation on theme: "Are students ready to e-learn? - assessing students' IT Literacy skills Gabriel Hanganu Stuart Lee Learning Technologies Group University of Oxford."— Presentation transcript:

1 Are students ready to e-learn? - assessing students' IT Literacy skills Gabriel Hanganu Stuart Lee Learning Technologies Group University of Oxford

2 E-learning at Oxford adds real value Revised Teaching and Learning Strategy 2002-05 the IT competence expected of students for a particular course (undergraduate and postgraduate), should wherever appropriate be defined … that tutors, with appropriate support, provide their students with guidance on how to acquire the necessary levels of IT competence needed for their course Report on IT in T&L (2002) Ozga and Sukhnandan (1997); Earwaker (1992) - outdated roles of tutors?

3 IT Literacy - 3 Methods 1) Online diagnostic tests of basic computer literacy (15 available) 2) IT Training (including ECDL) 3) Survey of IT Skills Survey aimed to assess IT skills and expectations about e-learning Aim to produce a series of recommendations re IT literacy Driven by the Institutional Audit

4 Preliminary Information Research into previous studies Constructed 4 questionnaires (paper and online) - 1st UG, final UG, 1st PG, finishing PG (max. 10,000 FTE) Targeted departments (one from each division and 2 colleges), plus open call Sponsorship > Apple iPod for UG; PDA for PG

5 Questionnaires MT03 Perception of students IT Literacy skills Previous involvement with e-learning Context of IT use Expectations about Univ/ College IT provision Perceptions of IT importance in future employment IT use in relation to tutorial teaching Focus groups/ individual interviews HT04 Follow-up points addressed in questionnaires 5 departments (1 in each division) + 1 college 2 f.g. for each unit (UG/PG) + phone interviews

6 Other projects CITSCAPES (survey of all UK HE institutions on C&IT induction) Big Blue (current practice in Information Skills Training for students in Higher & post-16 Ed) Durham U (audit of C&IT skills of staff and students + annual survey of first years) Edinburgh U (biennial undergraduate IT literacy survey) JUSTEIS (general survey of electronic information services and their end users)

7 Key points - student evaluation lifelong learning in the background importance of social context of T&L part of on-going research process feed back educational policymakers and teachers and learners themselves both quantitative and qualitative beyond perception

8 Oxford particularities collegiate structure > different sets of questionnaires for UGs and PGs tutorial system > in-depth interviews to qualify general assumption that IT obstructs inter- personal exchange between tutor and learner previous Oxford-based studies (e.g. IAULs UG students experience of learning at Oxford)

9 Questionnaires 1415 (932 UG, 483 PG) out of approx 10.000 students from all divisions (all bar 4 depts.) 44 out of 46 colleges and halls cant generalise for whole divisions, or all colleges; however student sample significant enough to draw some conclusions experience with this pilot will help planning future evaluation strategy


11 Checking students' perception IT self-tests (word processing) students who thought they could use Word without help scored over 35/40 future: check perception of all IT skills + real-life IT tasks adapted to OU learning context

12 IT skills - follow-up interviews Ways of improving students IT skills UGs: very little time left beyond exams concern > curriculum embedded? PGs: want to decide for themselves > IT skills tailored to their specific needs

13 Student quote 1 Developing IT skills has been stressful for me because IT skills dont seem to have as much value as other skills like thinking and struggling with the problems of my research. It does give me stressI dont have time to spend on these courses here, and I dont think of the long-term, where it might actually help. So having some kind of guide or statement from the authorities saying this is how you should spend you time as a student-- that would help to give IT that sort of equal value so you can invest the time in it as part of your professional path. And then you wont feel guilty about spending time on it! I think people want to develop their IT skills but they are under a lot of stress and deadlines and demandsinvesting for the long term is hard because IT is a gradual process with a long-term commitment.



16 IT use in tutorial teaching in preparation for tutorial/ during tutorial gap between expectations and actual experience: in preparation for tutorial: PGs used IT more than they expected during tutorial: both UGs and PGs used IT less than they expected

17 Student quote 2 There is a difference between the tutorial time itself and the preparation for the tutorial, and I think the basic assumption behind the tutorial is that you come prepared and your tutor comes prepared and you discuss what you have already seen and read and thought about compared to other things. And I think that looking at data or articles or anything during that time will take a lot of time and wont be efficient in terms of the discussion, and it will fragment it. On the other hand if you are preparing for a tutorial and the tutor says hey take a look at this website, I think it is really helpful. Maybe you can look at that website during the tutorial if its relevant to the discussion, but thats as much as I can think of.

18 Student quote 3 Tutorial? I just hand something in and discuss it with my supervisor. Occasionally hell have his laptop and look up something on a search online, which is quite useful. In my own teaching I think it would be quite useful to do the same but we tend to get stuck in these dingy little rooms with no access to a computer so I cant really. But it would be useful if I was demonstrating online databases, websites or search engines. You sort of tell the students about them, and they go hmmm, but you know they arent going to go look it up. But if you could do it in front of them, that would be very useful. If they have a query, they could practice researching how to look up a question and that would be really good for them.

19 IT in tutorials - interviews students want to preserve one to one interaction IT seen as potentially altering personal exchange between tutor and student only when discussed in general terms

20 Conclusions students' perception of their IT skills is good (yet curiosity about web authoring skills) students' expectations about IT provision Oxford are being met different UG and PG learning contexts affect students perception and use of e-learning students want to keep one to one interaction with tutors; when properly used IT is not seen as fundamentally opposed to tutorial teaching

21 Links LTG website Online survey IT Literacy self-tests Student evaluation projects

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