Tag Archives: eResearch

Challenging mobile learning discourse through research: Student perceptions of Blackboard Mobile Learn and iPads

Student Perceptions of Blackboard Mobile Learn and iPads #edtech

From my previous post about designing Blackboard courses for a mobile-first delivery, and the discussion I’ve been having with Peter Reed and friends on his blog, this paper came at a good time to further the question “do we need this?” – AJET: “Student Perceptions of Blackboard Mobile Learn and iPads”

Well, do we? The paper concludes in saying that the students “did not demand mobile learning and were in fact mostly neutral about the experience” and that “they did not perceive a notable improvement to their learning” (Kinesh et al, 2012). While the students did not report an opposition to the inclusion of the mobile App, they also are not reported to have had any prior experience of it, a preference to mobile learning that was not limited to Blackboard Mobile Learn, nor they opinions (positive or negative) to mobile learning in general.  Continue reading

Global Mobile Learning

Free Book on Mobile Learning Research #mLearning

Thanks to Inge Ignatia de Waard for pointing this out, this free ebook (well, PDF edition that looks like a book) on global mobile learning has some interesting research.

Global Mobile LearningThe highlights for me include subjects and research like:

  • State of Mobile Learning Around the World
  • Mobile Learning in International Development 
  • Planning for Mobile Learning Implementation 
  • Blended Mobile Learning: Expanding Learning Spaces with Mobile Technologies 
  • Mobile and Digital: Perspectives on Teaching and Learning in a Networked World 
  • Using mLearning and MOOCs to Understand Chaos, Emergence, and Complexity in Education 
  • Changing the Way of Learning: Mobile Learning in China 
  • Challenges for Successful Adoption of Mobile Learning 
  • Mobile Microblogging: Using Twitter and Mobile Devices in an Online Course to Promote Learning in Authentic Contexts 

Read it online here: ‘Global Mobile Learning Implementations and Trends’

Anonymous Discusison Board Activity

Reading: Identified vs Anonymous Participation in Student Discussion Boards

Online discussion boards, and associated activities that use them, can get a bit of a bad name sometimes either through inacitivty or lack of quality posts to abusive or bullying. I admit these are extremes of activity, but none the less still valid concerns for academics who want to try something new or different.

I’ve always tried to advocate the approach of ‘design an activity and then see which tools fits’ rather than ‘an activity written around a discussion board’. The latter implies it’s the tool driving the activity, the former implies the activity or learning outcome is matched to the most appropriate tool.

When setting discussion boards up I’ve always favoured posts being attributed to and identifiable to the person posting it – this helps to build personal relationships based on content and opinions, it also helps to encourage ownership and a responsible online etiquette (netiquette). But what about the option of allowing posts to be anonymous? Does this stop the discussion taking shape or progressing?

The paper, by Roberts and Rajah-Kanagasabai (2013) looks at the anonymity of posts and the ‘comfort’ of students to participate in anonymous discussions over those where they are identified. Continue reading

Student use of recorded lectures: a report reviewing recent research into the use of lecture capture technology in higher education, and its impact on teaching methods and attendance

Reading: “Student use of recorded lectures”

Student use of recorded lectures: a report reviewing recent research into the use of lecture capture technology in higher education, and its impact on teaching methods and attendance I am always on the lookout for resources and research that supports (or not – never let it be say that I’m not open minded) the use of an appropriate and considered implementation of lecture capture. So I was very pleased when I saw a tweet highlighting this research from London School of Economics (LSE):

Karnad, Arun (2013) Student use of recorded lectures: a report reviewing recent research into the use of lecture capture technology in higher education, and its impact on teaching methods and attendance. London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. Available online: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/50929/ [Accessed 28 June, 2013]

What I have taken from this is highlighted in the conclusion – it is as much about the signposting and implementation of the technology as the way the individual(s) use it. Whist some will use it as an excuse to skip lectures (isn’t that their choice?) others will use it as a resource as we intended it … for learning, reflection, growth, the ‘student experience’, etc.:  Continue reading

Social Media in Academia

cup and tableAnnounced this week, the ETNA (Enhanced Training Needs Analysis) 2012 survey has found that “nearly three quarters of academics in further education agree that social media tools enhance the quality of the learning experience.”

The JISC news release – “Survey shows that social media has graduated to academia” – continues by saying that “YouTube is by far the most popular tool, while Facebook and particularly Twitter, lag well behind. However, the survey also identifies a strong need for staff training in the use of social media.”

Of those surveyed:

  • Academic staff seemed most in favour of social media: 70% agreed that its use enhances the quality of the learning experience and 69% agreed that students were at ease using it.
  • Some academic staff felt that social media is a distraction to learning.
  • Around half of all middle managers said their department uses social media tools for learning and teaching.
  • Fewer than 10% of staff, in any category, had received training in social media.
  • More than a third of staff identified a need for staff training.

Celeste McLaughlin, advis0r: staff development at JISC RSC Scotland said: “It’s clear from the survey that social media is now here to stay in colleges as learning tools. They offer a familiar environment for students and, at the same time, teaching staff clearly like them. In particular, the ability to share videos online has made YouTube a clear favourite. But training is patchy, so JISC RSC Scotland aims to help college staff improve their social media skills.”

Here is a link to the 2012 ETNA survey: “Growth and Development – an analysis of skills and attitudes to technology in Scottish further education”

What I’ve got from the report so far is, as always, a careful and appropriate use of social media (or technology) can enhance (not necessarily improve) the “learning experience”. So, read the report, absorb it, take from it what you will; some will matter, some won’t. But keep an open mind and see what can ‘enhance’ your learning materials or assessment strategy.

Image source: Kings Hedges by Kevin Steinhardt (CC BY-SA 2.0)


Academic Excellence in 140 Characters

This video, “Academic Excellence in 140 Characters”, follows the research of Ray Junco (@reyjunco) and his students on the effects of Twitter on student engagement and grades:

“Despite the widespread use of social media by students and its increased use by instructors, very little empirical evidence is available concerning the impact of social media use on student learning and engagement. This study provides experimental evidence that Twitter can be used as an educational tool to help engage students and to mobilize faculty into a more active and participatory role.”

YouTube: Academic Excellence in 140 Characters

Thanks to Edutopia for this and many more excellent Twitter / Video resources.

Research in Learning Technology

Reading: “Students and recorded lectures: survey on current use and demands for higher education”

Research in Learning TechnologyI’ve been interested for quite a while now in the use of recorded ‘lectures’ (for want of a better word) in learning materials for distance learners. Do these kinds of recording help students ‘learn’? This paper, from the Research in Learning Technology journal should be of interest to anyone who is also looking into lecture capture.

The research that accompanies this is paper based on student surveys in two Universities in the Netherlands whose goal was to investigate and understand how the students used the recorded material (downloadable versions of the recordings were not available for consumption offline).

There is good data here from the students that ought to be considered by anyone contemplating the introduction of any system that would enable recording of lecture materials and it’s provision and supply to students. If anything, look at the data about why students did not watch or use them (figures from one of the participating University’s: Eindhoven University of Technology – TU/e):

  • Did not know they were available: 7.2%
  • Went to class (didn’t need the recording): 57%
  • Technical difficulties: 6.3%
  • Didn’t miss anything important enough to consider reviewing the recording: 21.7%
  • Didn’t have time for it: 19.3%
  • Do not like watching recorded lectures: 5.1%
  • Recording quality (which meant they must have tried it to know they didn’t want to watch it?): 6.5%
The paper acknowledges that the majority of the technical issues encountered (which is always an important consideration) were due to students accessing the resources off-site (home, work etc.) which is a shame as, for distance learners, this is an essential consideration. Perhaps this is a limitation of the specific systems or their implementation at these institutions rather than the general technology of ‘lecture capture’?

I do not agree with one aspect of the study though, that the students were given full-length (40-45 minute) recordings. While this may be the “most frequent” type of recordings (and easiest to capture)  it is not the most effective or comfortable way to watch a lecture. I prefer smaller chunks, typically 10-15 minutes (according to the topic/subject structure), that are more easily digested either sat in front of a PC or on a mobile  device (MP3 or other audiobook format). This is how I produced recorded material for the distance learning students at Bournemouth University and, where we only had the longer, fuller, recording, we received negative comments that were solely down to length of recording. Perhaps if they had not had or known the advantages of the shorter versions they would not have responded this way?

The full reference for the paper is:

GORISSEN, P., VAN BRUGGEN, J., JOCHEMS, W.. Students and recorded lectures: survey on current use and demands for higher education. Research in Learning Technology, North America, 20, sep. 2012. Available at: http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/17299. Date accessed: 11 Nov. 2012.

eResearch: what’s the buzz?

From my previous post on eResearch “Reading: “The Role of LTs in supporting e-research (eResearch)” I have continued to read around the topic and find that the JISC’s strategic theme is one we all (Learning Technologists) could get involved in. Yes?

So, why aren’t we then? Is it that academic staff don’t know we could help, or that they don’t want our help or don’t think we have anything to offer? I think it is even more basic than this … I think it is all down to the time that is available.

I know that my working day is stuffed full of emails, training, workshops, fault-finding, meetings, reporting, design, liaising, etc. I also know that academics have a full diary that often does not have the ability, even in time dedicated to their research, to sit and explain what they are doing.

So, what can a Learning Technologist (LT) / Instructional Designer (ID) offer eResearch? from the JISC strategic page on what is eResearch (or e-Research as they use):

“It’s concerned with technologies that support all the processes involved in research including (but not limited to) creating and sustaining research collaborations and discovering, analysing, processing, publishing, storing and sharing research data and information. Typical technologies in this domain include: Virtual Research Environments, Grid computing, visualisation services, and text and data mining services.”

Great, just the kind of activities that us LTs can help with, in fact are already participating in but not necessarily under the name of ‘eResearch’. From my previous post I quoted that:

“It is suggested that many learning technologists could extend their roles, transferring their knowledge to include supporting e-research. A more inclusive model of the learning technologist’s role in academia could help address the potential polarisation of the profession into researchers and practitioners.”

If I could get involved in this kind of activity, this could go towards my work and evidence for CMALT membership.

Are there any LTs out there active in eResearch that are willing to talk about how they are doing it (not necessarily what they are doing if the subject is sensitive for publications, PhDs, etc)? Please get in contact, it would be good to get the conversation going.