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Dr Marcus Leaning University of Winchester Paper given at Higher Education Academy: Art Design and Media Learning and Teaching Day, 29 November 2011 –

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Marcus Leaning University of Winchester Paper given at Higher Education Academy: Art Design and Media Learning and Teaching Day, 29 November 2011 –"— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Marcus Leaning University of Winchester Paper given at Higher Education Academy: Art Design and Media Learning and Teaching Day, 29 November 2011 – Ravensbourne.

2  Report on a new module run last year for the first time in the Media Studies programme at Winchester.  Winchester students typical ‘good’ post-92 cohort: ◦ 300 UCAS points, ◦ Very few mature students, ◦ 15-20% International – 10% English not first language.

3  Course taught on the BA Media Studies degree at Winchester.  Part of the new(ish) Media Studies degree that was validated in  Degree focuses upon: 1.New media / MS 2.0; 2.Employability - strategic use of media; 3.Research; 4.Doing ‘public good’.

4  Students starting university face (at least) two big problems in their studies: 1.Expected problem of the new substantive field to learn that may be very different from what they have studied before. 2.Unexpected problem of new set of practices and skills.  higher standards of argument;  critical analysis and engagement;  writing and presenting;  research and academic practices of referencing.  Also information literacy - skilled use of new media and information considered important (Walton & Pope, 2009).  Obtaining these skills is understood as acquiring academic literacy (Lillis, 2006).

5  Traditionally the onus lay with the student to gain such skills. ◦ Just by being at university we acquired them through a process of ‘osmosis’ – the hidden curricula of HE.  90s expansion and professionalization. ◦ Recognition of problem faced by non-trads. ◦ Study skills units appear.  Mid-2000s Approach criticised ◦ Study skills divorced from academic practice ◦ Sense of ‘additionality’ or ‘penalty’ for non-trad students seen as unfair. ◦ Gradual shift to re-integrate academic literacy into academic study = courses on writing and academic skills.

6  Phenomenon of the ‘writing module’, Composition 101 in US terms.  Winchester had a course called “Writing for Media Studies”, other places have similar courses.  Personal experience is that such courses are not universally popular, ◦ very low levels of student satisfaction; ◦ lack of internalisation of LOs; ◦ superficial or surface learning; ◦ Perception of disconnection between the module LOs and those of the programme;  Hated not just by the students.

7  When the programme was being rewritten Manipulating Media was developed to address the need to: 1.Provide Media Studies students with a module that developed academic literacy; 2.Provide a meaningful experience for students; 3.Link to the wider aims of the programme.

8 1. Explicit emphasis placed upon encouraging students to work collaboratively:  when well executed, collaborative work enables students to learn much from each other (Gokhale, 1995), problems engineered out through assessment design Brooks & Ammons, (2003). 2. Extensive use of social media by students required.  useful means of building skills in students (Buzzetto-More, 2009), part of media environment and critical use of them an important aspect of media education (Jenkins, 2009). 3. Constructivist / constructionist approach is heavily drawn upon.  the emphasis is upon the student engaging in the production of actual texts and materials instead of a more ‘traditional’ learn by observation approach.

9  Module is 2 semesters.  A compulsory course and constitutes ¼ of the first year (30 CATS credits).  Divided into 2 stages.

10  First six weeks of semester one - workshops 1.Introduction  greeting and orientation; planning and managing a project; work flow; using simple management tools such as a Gantt chart; managing communication and team working 2.Project management  planning and managing a project; 3.Research  identifying information need; search strategies; finding and evaluating information; importance and mechanics of referencing. 4.Content creation  recognising and writing for different audiences; genres and formats; structuring an argument; rhetorical strategies. 5.Production and dissemination  presentation of visual and textual content; drafting and checking; dissemination strategies for different audiences; selection and management of media channels. 6.Reflective practice  analysing one’s own performance; identifying strong and weak practice; learning from feedback; strategic self development.

11  Final week of stage one students put in groups of four and allocated roles: ◦ Project manager; ◦ Researcher; ◦ Content creation; ◦ Production and dissemination;

12  At the start of week 7 they are given the 1 st project in the form of a brief. ◦ 3 week turn around. ◦ Will require skills of all team members. ◦ Tutor used as an expert consultant – meeting 1-2 time per week – ‘feed forward’ help in producing better work. ◦ One of the first tasks is for the Proj. Manager to plan a programme of work, arrange meetings etc.  In week 10 the class meets again and the projects are presented to the whole group.

13  New teams are formed - students can’t work in same team.  For each project students do a different role; project manager, research, content creation, production and dissemination.  Each project is 3 weeks with a presentation week.  Students work on four separate projects and perform each role once.

14  In addition to their work on the projects students keep a blog concerning their experience of the different roles and the work on the projects.  Used to encourage writing, to help them think about their work and other perspectives on the project and sometimes to resolve differences.

15  For each project, students are given a separate mark related to the performance of the role.  Thus in a piece of work with a strong research element the student performing the research role will receive a good mark.  Over the course of the four projects students will earn four separate marks, each being worth 20%.  The blog is marked at the end of the course and this constitutes the last 20% of the student’s grade.

16  Students received only a numerical score for their work.  All ‘how to improve’ commentary was given on drafts and ideas the students produced at tutorials.  This ideas was emerged from a L and T unit study on assessment.  The idea of ‘feedfoward’ rather than feedback.

17  The key element of the module are the briefs and ensuring that the ‘deliverables’ require that students use the skills the course aims to develop and that the performance of the roles is obvious.

18 1. Because Uni’s worth it! ◦ Produce and upload to Youtube a short video (or series of) that would persuade failed applicants to reapply the following year and that it is still worth going to university – highlight the economic, social and intellectual benefits of attending university. ◦ Communicate the message in an appropriate manner to the target audience. 2. Save the Essay! ◦ Correct a badly written essay – students were given an essay retrieved from an online essay site that was full of errors. ◦ Students had to check all aspects of the essay, redraft it, reformat it to stringent guidelines and upload it to Slideshare.net

19 3. The spoken essay... ◦ Students were given a choice of 10 essay questions related to contemporary media topics and had to research and craft a 5- minute presentation consisting of a narrated PowerPoint presentation which was uploaded to Slideshare.net. 4. Educate and inform the University of Winchester electorate. ◦ Students had to mount a campaign to raise awareness of the electoral reform referendum held in May 2011 for students, staff and visitors to the university. ◦ The students had to identify suitable channels of communication and produce content that would engage and inform staff, students and visitors to the university of the importance of voting in the referendum. ◦ Students detailed evidence of their campaign in a short video uploaded to Youtube.com.

20  We expected students to like the more practical projects but they were split; and even a slight majority liking the detail of the analytic projects more.  We are using similar projects in the current year.

21  At the end of the module students were asked to fill in a module evaluation form and 98% of the students still on the course completed the form.  There were two main positive points: 1. The course proved to be popular with the vast majority of students (vastly more so than with the previous “Writing for Media Studies” course); 2. Students reported feeling they had gained specifically in skills of project management, referencing, organising ideas and handling of information.

22  There were four main negative points: 1.The system of feedback was disliked by virtually all students – this was a ‘feed-forward’ approach that provided constructive assistance to students prior to the submission of work and then only a numerical grade as actual feedback. This approach was developed from research by the Learning and Teaching Unit at the university as they found that students often did not engage with the traditional feedback. 2.The length of the projects (some desiring longer projects, some shorter). 3.The length of the workshops. 4.Having to write blogs.

23  In future years the feedback system will be altered to one where we continue to offer feed-forward but additionally provide some more substantive feedback.

24  Too early for any serious longitudinal analysis, BUT initial semester 1 results for the cohort do show certain things: ◦ Group work is far better – they are using the group methodology of allocating roles, also adapting it to different situations. ◦ Presentations are of a completely different league; seeing them as a piece of work that is collaboratively produced rather than 3 bits of work stuck together - this is also shown in contrast to other degrees that share modules but did not do Manipulating Media.

25  Students like the course.  Almost universally positive, they also seemed to understand how the skills gained are useful.  They use the skills in other areas – not just academic, a bit of metacognition going on.  Staff vastly prefer it, took a bit of time to win some over but now a very popular course to teach.

26  Brooks, C. M., & Ammons, J. M. (2003) 'Free Riding in Group Projects and the Effects of Timing, Frequency, and Specificity of Criteria in Peer Assessments'. The Journal of Education for Business, 78(5), pp  Buzzetto-More, N. (2009) Using Web based project learning to build information literacy. In M. Leaning (Ed.), Issues in Information and Media Literacy: Education, Practice and Pedagogy (Vol. II). San Jose, Informing Science Press.  Gokhale, A. A. (1995) 'Collaborative Learning Enhances Critical Thinking'. Journal of Technology Education, 7(1), pp  Jenkins, H. (2009) Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. Massachusetts, MIT Press.  Lillis, T. (2006) Moving towards an 'Academic Literacies' pedagogy: Dialogues of participation. In L. Ganobcsik-Williams (Ed.) Teaching Academic Writing in UK Higher Education: Theories, Practices and Models. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.  Walton, G., & Pope, A. (2009) Information literacy for the 21st century. In M. Leaning (Ed.), Issues in Information and Media Literacy: Education, Practice and Pedagogy (Vol. II). San Jose, Informing Science Press.


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