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LEaD Learner Experiences across the Disciplines Funded by JISC February 2007 – September 2008

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Presentation on theme: "LEaD Learner Experiences across the Disciplines Funded by JISC February 2007 – September 2008"— Presentation transcript:

1 LEaD Learner Experiences across the Disciplines Funded by JISC February 2007 – September 2008

2 2 The LEaD project team at the University of Edinburgh –Judy Hardy, Project Manager –Denise Haywood, Project Officer Across the Disciplines –Jessie Paterson, School of Divinity –Simon Bates, School of Physics & Astronomy –Susan Rhind, School of Veterinary Medicine Support Services –Jeff Haywood, Information Services –Hamish Macleod, Educational Development Unit

3 3 Your role 1. Expert practitioner lecturers, tutors 2. Intermediary learning technologist, e-learning champion, staff developer, educational developer 3. Researcher or manager course or institution level research to understand the learner experience 4. Student 5. Education or Funding Agency representative 6. Other…

4 4 GenerationNew technology Age range A Baby BoomerTelevision48-65 B Generation XWalkman, calculator32-47 C Generation Y (Google pioneers) Playstation, Mobile phone24-31 D Millennials (Google / Net generation) Instant messaging, Facebook computers are not technology 9-23 Your generation

5 5 The Net Generation Today's youth are different from any generation before them. They are exposed to digital technology in virtually all facets of their day-to-day existence, and it is not difficult to see that this is having a profound impact on their personalities, including their attitudes and approach to learning. (Tapscott, 1998) Agree? Select T or 1 Disagree? Select F or 2

6 6 Aims of the project Critical moments: Transition to university and progression through first year –through students own voices Expectations –regarding the availability and use of e-learning at university Adaptation and change –approaches to e-learning during their first year Non-institutional technologies –to support learning Choices – of e-learning strategies

7 7 Approaches One institution –The University of Edinburgh Three academic disciplines –Divinity –Physics –Veterinary Medicine Surveys –At start & end of year Reflective diaries (24 students) –At key points across the year –Freeform, guided by questions –Video, audio or text Focus group discussions Diary themes Semester 1Semester 2 Early First impressions & transition Return after first holiday Mid After first assessed assignment Nearing the end of the first year LateExam revision More exam revision, holidays

8 8 Student retention Critical for success of project Key factors for success included: Close involvement of academic teaching staff Being part of something Flexibility of approach Rewards and benefits

9 9 Prior experiences of e-learning Diverse student group –UK, EU, Overseas, mature (work / home), male, female, vocational training, fast track, visiting students, disabled, drop out –But mainly Net generation 97% said computers and internet were helpful in previous studies Wide variation in prior experiences of e-learning

10 10 Prior experiences We had extensive computer training at my school from when we were eleven, and we had our own school intranet which was very similar to WebCT…We were taught touch typing. We had touch typing lessons. The internet was not really introduced into our school until I was in 5th year. We didnt get a use of it and never really got taught it. We just kind of went on and got slapped if you went on chat rooms. How did you break down the fire wall ?!!! I dont know, I really dont know !! You know that sort of thing. Regarding the use of technology, most of my knowledge was gained as a computer enthusiast and thus I did not have much to learn from work.

11 11 Expectations 81% confident or looking forward to using technology at university 94% have PC (>90% laptop) Expectations limited by lack of experience and knowledge of what university could offer –No clear vision of technology-rich education –Views quite conservative and traditional –Dont set high expectations for innovative uses of technology

12 12 Expectations I never used computers much at school but I think computers will be used more at university as more resources are available online and its how we keep in contact with lecturers/tutors. At school you used computers to type up essays or find information occasionally, whereas at university your whole study depends on computers, so Its quite hard if you cant really use a computer. MyEd I also found really useful in seeing what my timetable was like and getting lots of other useful information before even getting to university, other friends not at Edinburgh University did not have anything like this and they thought it would have been great to have had.

13 13 Choices and adaptation Technologies used by their lecturers become the norm –Personal response system (Physics) –Virtual farm (Vets) –Blogs (Divinity) Find comfort zone and personal ways of working –Some students are more digital than others –Aim for balance between different activities/approaches to learning –Technology used where they offer added value Skills dont belong to a particular generation –Students learn from each other where they perceive a need

14 14 Choices: achieving a balance I think that there are sufficient learning aids through technology, plenty enough to busy yourself with. Electronic resources should aid and not replace paper but all the time the two should work in harmony and its brilliant that the WebCT service has been very useful Overuse of computers during revision will shut down creativity – I prefer to scribble down things, even if you are going to type them up neatly later… Encourage lecturers to be more adventuresome… Offer a mixed approach as students learn differently and want choice. Such as paper or book, computer or internet, hand out or WebCT. This would fit the comfort of the student learning style….

15 15 Use of personal technologies Technology is embedded seamlessly into peoples lives Nothing special anymore about e-learning –Just learning with strands of technology running through Technology is becoming mainstream –Blurring of the distinction between technology for education, administration, research and personal use Own mobile phone94% Own MP3 player81% Download music69% Use instant messaging80% Use social network site86%

16 16 Personal – and institutional - technologies I find using Facebook very useful for keeping in touch with friends…on Facebook you can keep threads, more than one person at once and upload photos which is good from a social point of view and also to ask people about work queries. [I] can't revise if I'm not in front of my computer. I use WebCT a lot, or msn for asking someone who knows about what I need to know. I will sometimes also check to see if there is anyone online on the social network FaceBook that I could send a quick question to... I use a lot of MSN and forums to communicate with fellow students and teacher, where I can ask questions and discuss with my colleague. Dont get caught up in too many things online. I have online pages I read, but Im still dodging Facebook. I know people who lose a lot of time to these things.

17 17 Collaborative learning facilitated by technology Face-to-face study groups I find it really helpful to go over material with other students, whether Im organising that through IT discussion boards or just ing a person I know on the course and asking their opinion on something. Direct collaboration online I use the forums more as exams become closer to develop an understanding by talking to other people, work with friends which is great if either of you is stuck. To teach someone else is just as good as working through papers.

18 18 Students voices

19 19 Advice from our students to new students Purchase a computer before you arrive and make sure you know how to use and maintain it Check compatibility with university networks and course requirements Take advantage of the IT courses and support on offer Practice your keyboard skills. This will save you time later –But there are many occasions when pen and paper are needed Exams are still mostly handwritten Log onto systems and check your daily –Much (important) communication takes place online University is about self-reliance –Make sure you have acquired skills to support yourself.

20 20 Advice from our students to the University Keep doing what you are doing –Provision generally good –Do more, and do it better Not everyone has a PC (or uses it on-campus) –Improve availability of access –Computer labs, student residences, wireless network coverage –Promote laptop loan service & laptop check-up workshops –Consider offering preferential laptop purchase schemes Good training and support available –Make sure students know how to get access to them –Information skills, IT skills More consistency in use of VLE across courses

21 21 Summary Diverse experiences Expect to use technology –Technology is integral part of peoples lives –The term e-learning does not mean much any more Personalisation –Find comfort zone & ways of working that are personal to them –Aim for balance between different activities/approaches to learning –Technology needs to offer added value –Blurring between personal and institutional technologies Social –Like to engage in social learning –Supportive of their peers –Often mediated through technology

22 22 Thanks to: Participating students –for diaries, questionnaires and focus groups EUSA & SFC –for ongoing advice and support JISC –for partial funding under the e-Learning pedagogy programme

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