Presentation on theme: "Student Opinion of Learning Activities on Computing Undergraduate Degrees John Colvin and Alan Phelan University of Worcester February 2006."— Presentation transcript:
Student Opinion of Learning Activities on Computing Undergraduate Degrees John Colvin and Alan Phelan University of Worcester February 2006
Project Origins Catalyst – Constructive Alignment – Belief in student-centred learning Admiration of the teaching of some of my colleagues Positive anecdotal evidence from students Project – Student opinion of student-centred learning activities? – Why did academics incorporate these learning activities?
Context University of Worcester – University Title 2005 Computing Students – Modular Scheme – Entry 160 UCAS points Non-traditional entries – Likely to come from a less academic background than a decade ago – Project staff recognise traditional approach is inappropriate
Learning Activities 9 modules Year 2/3 students 4-7 weeks Followed an introductory session.. – Group Discussion & Presentational Activities – On-line discussions – Computer simulations – Graded programming exercises – Investigations using propriety software
On-line discussions Encourages deep learning Discussions are not spontaneous Staff monitored / encouraged in-depth discussion.
Discussion and Presentations Topics - encourage higher level cognitive skills e.g. Compare and contrast the pressures that the DPA and the F of IA place on companies Potential of cooperative learning
Programming Exercises and Examples Structured series of both examples and also exercises of increasing difficulty Examples and straightforward exercises may only encourage surface learning more complex exercises require higher levels of problem solving, which involves deep learning Challenge is to encourage surface learners to move onto the more challenging exercises. possible by a structured levels of complexity of successive exercises + appropriate support mechanisms. MCQ tests as formative assessment, might encourage surface learning
Proprietary Software (Individually) Open-ended questions or analyse / reflect Formative activity will encourage deep learning Students focus on summative assessment Exploit the assessment focus
Learning Activities Generally – All project modules > 50% of timetabled sessions was scheduled for student-centred learning activities Academics have addressed the problem of devoting too much time to teaching content Project staff are student-focused
Student Opinion of Learning Activity Challenging? Interest? Enable the achievement of the ILOs? Appropriate for the stage of the course? Frequency? Encourage attendance? Purpose of the activity?
Achievement of ILOs Student-centred - higher quality learning outcomes. Disappointing - students exaggerate their abilities. Other learning opportunities. Expect better?
Appropriate for Stage of Course 87% -Appropriate / very appropriate Encouraging Consistent with student views on purpose
How Often? Staff favour particular activity Students favour palette of activities?
Encourage Attendance? Little effect on attendance Strategies for non-attendees?
Why were Learning Activities included? InfluenceRanking AcademicsStudents So that the lecturer does not need to talk for 3 hours 5th To encourage students to reflect on what they are learning 2nd1st To prevent students from being bored4th To exploit the view that students learn better when doing 1st2nd To fill time6th To encourage students to work autonomously 3rd
Academic Awareness of Constructive Alignment Theory not fully appreciated by these academics Local phenomenon?
Conclusions – Student Opinion Positive & uniform across different activities Learning activities are interesting, challenging, supportive and appropriate for the stage of their course Preference for a palette of differing learning activities throughout a module Only a few students believed that individual activities might encourage attendance – Academics Correspondence between academics and students on the why academics incorporate their learning activity. Constructive Alignment theory was not yet fully appreciated by academics
Further Research To determine the effectiveness of including a palette of differing learning activities throughout a module to better student achievement. To investigate adopting other strategies with students that have a poor attendance record To determine whether the lack of awareness of Constructive Alignment theory amongst academics is a general or a local phenomenon To correlate students preference for the type of learning activities with their level of learning.