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Student perceptions of online practical science Dr Victoria Nicholas Dr David Robinson Prof. Stephen Swithenby.

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Presentation on theme: "Student perceptions of online practical science Dr Victoria Nicholas Dr David Robinson Prof. Stephen Swithenby."— Presentation transcript:

1 Student perceptions of online practical science Dr Victoria Nicholas Dr David Robinson Prof. Stephen Swithenby

2 Outline Context Hypothesis Research Methods Findings Future work

3 Context Modules offered globally as part of a qualification must have a practical science component Anecdotal evidence suggests a negative perception of online practical science

4 Context Can we validate this anecdotal evidence? Does experience of the module alter perception? What lessons can we learn about our pedagogical design?

5 The modules Scientific investigations – 10 credits online only module Investigative and mathematical skills in science – 30 credits – blended Both globally available 95.2% of enrolled students completed and 84.2% of enrolled students passed

6 Investigative and mathematical skills in Science Some printed books Some online texts OU Live (synchronous online tutorial) Tutor-marked e-assessment Computer-marked e-assessment Tutor group forum

7 Scientific Investigations

8 Hypothesis There will be a shift in student perception about online practical science after study.

9 Research Methods invitation sent to 100 students 16 % response rate – all interviewed Telephone discussion for 15 minutes pre and post study Discussions recorded and transcribed

10 Analysis: Grounded theory analysis with stages: Open coding Axial coding Selective coding

11 Question areas Online study Practical science Practical science studied online

12 Responses I’m not sure if I will feel like a real scientist I would probably get more out of a face to face situation in a real laboratory There is a lack of really nice practical stuff, test tubes and a few chemicals

13 Responses If I could choose, I would do residential schools instead I wish we could have a hands-on laboratory session Oh I really don’t want to do this but I have to

14 Unexpected responses Timings and coordination Online discussions Reliability of other students in collaborative work Solitary nature of practical work

15 Post study responses

16 Criticisms of methodology Self selecting group Motivated by voucher Honesty of response Leading questions

17 Continuing research Scientific Investigations post-study interviews late April Investigative and mathematical skills in Science post- study interviews late May Broader questionnaire planned for next S141 presentation starting in October.

18 Quantitative approach Aim to use the interview responses to inform questionnaire design Larger sample of students Possibly higher response rate with questionnaire format

19 Broader perspective The Open University has an ongoing strategy to remain at the forefront of innovation in online distance learning. Research should highlight student misconceptions about practical online science and will inform the design of new modules.

20 Summary Address hypothesis Standard research methods Diversity of responses Key responses Continuing research


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