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Online and on-campus: Proximity and Empowerment for Learning ELI Annual Meeting 2006 Advancing Learning: Insights and Innovations Louise Thorpe and Paul.

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Presentation on theme: "Online and on-campus: Proximity and Empowerment for Learning ELI Annual Meeting 2006 Advancing Learning: Insights and Innovations Louise Thorpe and Paul."— Presentation transcript:

1 Online and on-campus: Proximity and Empowerment for Learning ELI Annual Meeting 2006 Advancing Learning: Insights and Innovations Louise Thorpe and Paul Helm Sheffield Hallam University, UK Copyright Sheffield Hallam University [2006]. This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the author.

2 Sheffield – a very quick tour

3 Online and on-campus: Proximity and Empowerment for Learning Proximity and supportive distance Empowerment – students controlling own learning Outside in

4 Where did we start at SHU Approx 30,000 students (85% on-campus) Easy to dismiss power of communication tools  “Blackboard is great, we don’t need to use the communication tools because we see our students regularly” Staff comment 2001  “I realise now I need to know more about communication tools – they add a new dynamic to learning” Same member of staff 2005

5 Online and on-campus: Proximity and Empowerment for Learning Over the past six years we have seen students making stronger connections between the virtual environment and the physical environment and how they intertwine, collide, augment, disrupt In a blended environment, do we want to use the technology draw students and staff closer together? We can use the technology to enable distance between tutors and students – but in a supportive environment

6 Proximity activity

7 Proximity - Online and On-campus Means of supporting/extending face to face Flexibility - participants do not have to be physically co-present to interact with one another Increased time for reflection leads to a higher quality of discussion More democratic in terms of participation Improved communication skills (as a core skill) Allows for more student-led learning

8 Empowerment: Online and On-campus “Good practice encourages student-faculty interaction” When can minimising such interaction be a good thing? How might it change student learning experience? control, empowerment, growth

9 Empowerment: Online and On-campus purposeful present preside convene orchestrate direct counsel guide monitor facilitate moderate mediate Role of tutor (e-moderator) control, empowerment, growth

10 Role of the tutor Creating Distance between the tutor and students can break the dependency culture reinforce the notion that everyone has something to add allow for student-student support not just student-faculty encourage greater inquiry - there is always a bigger answer supportive distance means never being far away clearly defined activities shared groundrules welcoming the unexpected

11 Empowerment – practical elements Setting the tone (fighting the urge) Why online Considering the context Appropriate activities Raising the bar

12 Let’s have a go at online discussion Tutor – “We used it on the PG Cert I’ve just done, it was great! I’m going to try to do the same thing with my students” Later – “I don’t understand it, it just didn’t take off”

13 Considering the context Distance learning literature: - the first stage of online communication is social – getting to know each other. So give students a social area

14 Students comment: “but hang on… …we’ve got a social area ….and it works fine!”

15 From distance learning literature: Using social ice-breakers to get things started  Reveal something interesting about yourself  If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why  If you had £50, what could you buy over the internet Using serious ice-breakers to get things started  Recommend a good website related to this module and say why you think it is good  Why are you doing this course, what do you expect to learn from this module

16 On-campus reality You don’t want to appear too keen … …to your peers You don’t want to appear too dumb… …to your tutor You only want to write something that you are happy for someone to remember every time they see you … …which is probably every day!

17 Appropriate activities Information gathering/knowledge sharing Critique, evaluation, synthesis Peer review, feedback, development Role play

18 Empowerment – what the students said Knowledge exchange “It was demanding, like non-stop homework, but I learned a lot about the topic” It requires more than superficial understanding “essays are fairer, everyone can make the same point and get a mark for it” – yes, probably the point the tutor made in the lecture! The students raise the bar “You do your research, go to the discussion to make your point and someone else has beat you to it” “If someone had said what you wanted to say you had to go away and do more research”

19 Online, on-campus – of course We’ve quickly moved from either/or to of course we use both New applications (blogs, wikis, simulations) add more scope to develop Achieve goals by focusing on purpose, context, confidence To find out more: Louise Thorpe - Paul Helm -


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