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Welcome. Let Me Demonstrate: Towards a Web-based Application to Encourage Critical Reflection amongst Computing Students

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome. Let Me Demonstrate: Towards a Web-based Application to Encourage Critical Reflection amongst Computing Students"— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome

2 Let Me Demonstrate: Towards a Web-based Application to Encourage Critical Reflection amongst Computing Students @graemecoleman Graeme Coleman, Chris Martin, Janet Hughes School of Computing, University of Dundee

3 The Context How can critical reflection be embedded into computing modules? How can we help students to evidence, document and communicate the results of their learning over time? One approach is through reflective videos

4 Our Research To what extent can reflective videos help develop an awareness amongst students of the importance of transferable skills, as well as subject specific technical skills, from an early stage of their degrees? To what extent do students themselves accept the medium of video as a means of critical reflection? Longer term – peer mentoring opportunities for reflective videos?

5 Today’s Talk Stage 1: Results of an online survey examining current reflective practice amongst Scottish computing students Stage 2: Results from a student workshop, and from embedding reflective videos within a specific module Stage 3: The design and development of the “Let Me Demonstrate” application

6 Stage 1: Online Survey Digital technologies can often be used for personal development planning (blogs, social networking tools, video sharing websites) Problem: Activities are often conducted in the student’s own time (so we might not know about it) To what extent do computing students across Scotland undertake such activities outside organized classes?

7 Data Collection Respondents’ background information The extent to which respondents currently consume and contribute to online and offline learning resources (and why) The extent to which respondents would be comfortable contributing to activities relating to their learning (e.g. keeping a blog)

8 Results – background information 284 responses (78.2% male, 21.8% female) 77.8% of respondents were 18-25 years old 81.3% of respondents were undergraduate students, more or less evenly split from year 1 to year 4

9 Results – current activities 110 respondents (38.7%) provided assistance through Q&A sites such as StackOverflow and Yahoo! Answers 44 respondents (15.5%) ran their own computing- related blog 28 respondents (9.86%) uploaded computing-related videos to video-sharing websites

10 Results – current activities Reasons for undertaking such activities (in order): – To improve future employability prospects – To develop their self confidence in a subject – To be able to reflect on what they have learnt … – Financial rewards – Because a classmate/friend does so

11 Results – preferred activities Most popular: – Responding to a query on a forum – Running a blog Least popular: – Running a podcast

12 Possible Barriers Perceived fragility of knowledge: – “I’m not skilled enough to contribute” – “I would not be comfortable presenting myself as an ‘expert’” Required effort: – “Many of the tasks would be quite time consuming, and that would be the constraining factor”

13 Stage 2: Use of Video We evaluated the potential for video-based reflection in two separate stages: – A three-hour workshop session (discussed elsewhere) – A semester-long evaluation Aims of this stage: – To investigate the extent to which students accept the medium of video as a means of critical reflection – To investigate the extent to which videos could possibly develop their transferable skills, as well as subject-specific technical skills, from an early stage of their degrees

14 Semester-long Evaluation Conducted as part of a 1 st Year, Physical Computing module In groups, students were encouraged to create blogs embedded with video demonstrations of their learning progress throughout the semester Preliminary lab sessions on video creation were provided This activity was not assessed – it was entirely voluntary

15 Results 57 videos were produced Production tailed off towards the end of the semester However, production “spiked” in the middle due to the pressure project (when students wanted to show off their achievements) Example videos can be found on the project website:

16 Student Feedback Positives: – Students enjoyed sharing their videos not only with their classmates, but also family and friends – Students also benefited from watching each others’ videos – Video production brought them together as a group – Videos became reference tools for revision Negatives: – Technical constraints – Hearing one’s own voice – Some students struggled to see the point of the exercise

17 “Let Me Demonstrate” An internal, student-driven, video-based proof of concept application running on a School of Computing server Allows students to share their reflective videos in a safe and secure environment Students contributed significantly to the design process Source code is available to other institutions on request

18 “Let Me Demonstrate” Allows students to upload, tag, and comment on videos Protected behind a firewall to prevent non-students from accessing the system Designed to be accessible to as wide a range of users as possible Designed using a “responsive” layout – the interface changes based on whether the user is on a laptop, a desktop or their smartphone

19 Screenshots

20 Technical Challenges We have yet to evaluate the app with our students due to numerous technical issues Most of the issues relate to video uploading and conversion Videos cannot be played back in certain browsers, including the Safari browser We are currently looking into potential solutions prior to deploying the application “in the wild”

21 Future Work An evaluation of the application with School of Computing students in 2013-14 Investigate the potential peer-mentoring effect of reflective videos in computing Compare and contrast video reflection with other methods of critical reflection, e.g. blogs, portfolios Applying the system outside the context of computing


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