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1 Denise Kirkpatrick Director, Learning & Teaching Learning together online: towards an understanding of online collaboration

2 2 Learning & Teaching Online Potential Innovation or adaptation? Collaboration examples Issues Strategies

3 3 The online role-play evolution Middle east politics simulation (Vincent) Pollutsim (1996-1999) [task & tool analysis] Technology assessment involvement in Middle east politics (1999 – 2000) Mekong e-Sim (2000 – 2004)

4 4 Mekong e-Sim motivated by: Create student experiences involving multiple perspectives, authentic learning & context, Address internationalisation, Develop generic skills (communication, collaboration, leadership, decision-making, IT) Develop discipline specific content knowledge Link geographically distributed students Create an interdisciplinary experience- understand other perspectives

5 5 Roleplay-simulations Participants adopt a functional role or persona within a simulated environment or scenario. They are problem-based units of learning set in motion by a particular task, issue, policy, incident or problem.

6 6 What happens in a roleplay-simulation? Adopt a role Interaction & debate Reflection & Learning Issues & problems occur

7 7 Mekong e-Sim Online roleplay- simulation Students collectively take on persona relevant to scenario Personae respond to key events and triggers as events unfold Persona groups comprise same discipline/institution and mixture

8 8 e-Sim Stages Briefing/Familiarisation (1 Week) Role Adoption (1 Week) Interaction (2.5 Weeks) Public Inquiry (0.5 Weeks) Debriefing/Reflection (2 Weeks)

9 9 Assessment Issue paper: group task, issues specific to persona, student drop box Participation: group task, email, public inquiry, news events, group and peer assessment Critical learning incident: individual task, observation, interpretation, knowledge outcomes Debriefing essay: policies, e-Sim dynamics, group dynamics, reflection

10 10 Features High level of student engagement with ideas (via learning activities) Structured interaction High level of interaction within and between personae Accountability Interdependence Flexibility

11 11 Mekong e-Sim supported collaboration between: Staff Students Disciplines ( Engineering, Geography, Economics, Media, Arts) Institutions (4 universities) Inside the e-Sim –

12 12 e-Sim Collaboration issues Institutional: managing LMS across multiple sites Academic Issues: Teaching & learning practices & philosophy Assessment practice & policy Distribution of workload & W/L policies

13 13 e-Sim: Academic issues Negotiation was required –Low level of funding allowed minimum changes to existing practices & resources –High level of student interdependence across institutions required standardisation of practices

14 14 e-Sim: Shared Assessment Practice –Assessment governance varied between subjects –Agreed assessment criteria/outcomes/frameworks –Needed agreement on process: level of feedback,marking time, grades or marks, turnaround time –Inter-marker variability & moderation

15 15 Cross Institutional Collaboration Genuine commitment to collaboration Mutual dependence between all parties Alignment of learning outcomes and assessment Shared responsibility Clear (& shared expectations) Flexibility & willingness to adapt

16 16 Encouraging Learner Collaboration High level of positive interdependence –Between students sharing persona; –Among personae within the RPS scenario (in relation to information & actions); –Independent and group work tasks

17 17 Encouraging Learner Collaboration Individual accountability –Online self and peer assessment of contribution –Statistics on participant access –Facilitator access to discussion groups

18 18

19 19 Masters/DPsych- Adult Mental Health Online case base approach (PBL principles) Extensive use of student collaborative work Seven increasingly complex cases

20 20 Cases 7 cases (patients) representing key psychological disorders Scientist-practitioner model Raise professional problems raised in & by the cases Exemplified range of possible approaches to treatment

21 21 Text based cases Provide original input – case (patient) Students respond to original information, preliminary diagnosis Student discussion of opinions and justifications Individual and group activities “Expert comment” On-going information provision – students revise diagnosis

22 22 Cases Formulate treatment plan Evaluation of treatment = complete treatment cycle

23 23 Cases Sequenced through year Scaffolded Trigger information relating to client & disorder released to progress case development & initiate learner activities Individual and group activities - structured

24 24 Issues Need for organisation – staff & student Structured activities and sequence Making the personal connections May be more time consuming Need to design meaningful tasks Students need a legitimate reason to collaborate- clear purpose for collaboration

25 25 Issues Flexibility vs structure and accountability Development time vs staff ongoing involvement Alignment of assessment & process Student training & familiarisation

26 26 Outcomes High level of student motivation & engagement Improved student learning outcomes Improved understanding of complexities of practice “Managed” staff workload and input High retention rate High levels of interaction

27 27 In Conclusion Not just the technology but the design However technology supported particular activities and interactions Technology made some things possible

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