This is an archive of the original site and you may encounter broken links and/or functionality

Pecha Kuchas [+ ePosters] 1 (Two Five PKs 0024, 0058 and Three ePosters 0225, 0058, 0236)


11:40 - 12:20 on Tuesday, 6 September 2011 in A2
0024 The value of ‘soft skills’ for blended learning Liz Bennett, Jane Wormald, Ian Findlay
0058 A model of blended teaching which encourages collaborative learning Sarah Honeychurch, Niall Barr
0225 A web based shared space to support student transition from FE to HE Iain Stewart, Colin Dodds, Fiona Fairlie, Diane Joyce, Jim Devon
0236 Supporting Learning in Immersive Virtual Worlds with VLEs Daniel Livingstone, Anna Peachey, Michael Callaghan, Maria Toro-Troconis, Ashish Hemani, Peter Bloomfield, Kerri McCusker
0024 The value of ‘soft skills’ for blended learning Liz Bennett, Jane Wormald, Ian Findlay

When a traditionally face to face course was redesigned for limited day school contact supported with online methods, the teaching team wanted to ensure that the ‘soft skills’ of group work and critical friendships were not lost in the new model. This presentation reports on how the team planned and implemented activities that supported the formation and development of critical friendship groups. Rogerian principles of empathy, openness, transparency, equality, respect, communication, honesty, integrity, maturity and commitment underpinned setting up and nurturing the groups (1965). The groups’ tasks included reviewing a draft version of an assignment. They also were asked to share resources with other members of the group and to explore the value that other students’ skills and knowledge bring to the learning process. Online tools including email and wiki were used alongside the institutional VLE. The paper describes and analyses the activities for the blended learning model. Careful planning was required to avoid becoming focused on delivery of material and losing the social and informal aspects of learning. Critically face to face time was allocated to discussing the value of the friendship groups using Tuckman’s model of group processes to inform this process (1965). The paper is particularly relevant to other practitioners moving to ‘blended model’ of learning where there is limited face to face contact and increased use of technological tools to support the learning process.

0058 A model of blended teaching which encourages collaborative learning Sarah Honeychurch, Niall Barr

This ePoster will discuss a model of collaborative learning which enhances traditional tutorials. During the first semester of the academic year 2010-2011 a project was funded by a grant from the Higher Education Academy to develop and implement a method of collaborative learning for first year philosophy tutorials by using a Moodle Forum and Moodle Wikis in addition to face-to-face tutorials. This project was inspired by Aronson's “jigsaw classroom” technique, which is a way of turning groups into small groups, allowing all students to become subject experts and to teach and be taught by their peers. Students in tutorial groups of fifteen were split into three sub-groups of five students, with each sub-group being given a particular question about the tutorial topic to focus on each week, and each sub-group having a dedicated wiki, viewable only by that group. Tutorial materials were delivered via a Moodle Forum and the three Moodle Wikis prior to the tutorial and students were encouraged to post answers to the tutorial questions before attending a tutorial (Moodle is the VLE used at the university). During the tutorial, each sub-group had ten minutes to discuss their answers and nominate a spokesperson. Each sub-group of five then presented to whole of the tutorial group and taught them what they had learned. By the end of each tutorial, each individual student had built a model answer to whole of the tutorial topic, covering more ground than would have otherwise been possible. This poster will discuss the project findings. It will display detailed feedback from students in the form of written comments. Students said that they felt comfortable discussing new ideas, that they felt this model of learning was enjoyable and that it facilitated productive learning. The tutor found that students engaged with the academic subject from an early stage and were more confident in their academic abilities than in previous years. The combination of using wikis with face-to-face meetings facilitated a scaffolded approach to learning and teaching, with the tutor intervening less as the course progressed, suggesting that this model is worth adopting for other courses.

0225 A web based shared space to support student transition from FE to HE Iain Stewart, Colin Dodds, Fiona Fairlie, Diane Joyce, Jim Devon

This presentation describes the development, evaluation and enhancement of an online “shared space” designed to provide support to students making the transition from FE colleges to study Creative Technology courses at university. This project is part of, and builds on, the work of the Greater Glasgow Articulation Partnership (part of a national network developing a framework for articulation).

Staff on these courses identified issues relating to student retention. Articulation was considered strong with students transitioning from FE into years 2 or 3 of the degree programs, but completion and final destination required improvement.

A problem faced by students in the early stages of their transition is that until they have enrolled they cannot access many of the online student support resources provided by the university. These include the university’s virtual learning environment and course management system, which proves an effective way of delivering course specific information to those already enrolled. This creates challenges in terms of making the students aware of important information relating to their transition, and additionally an opportunity to instil a sense of belonging at this early stage is lost.

To combat this problem an open-source web environment which provided an externally accessible resource for applicants was developed. This enabled staff to provide prospective and new students with information relevant to their transition. It also allowed staff to maintain control over access to this information as only applicants and current students were able to login to the site.

The web environment was piloted on the 2010 intake of students. A survey was conducted which revealed that the website had good uptake and that all of the students found it useful. The most useful areas were identified as course specific information – 70% and the help resources – 86%. Further information extracted and combined with a WAMMI analysis allowed the website’s content to be modified to improve its usefulness and relevance. The activity is now focused on enhancing and extending the content of the website to provide improved support to the next intake.

0236 Supporting Learning in Immersive Virtual Worlds with VLEs Daniel Livingstone, Anna Peachey, Michael Callaghan, Maria Toro-Troconis, Ashish Hemani, Peter Bloomfield, Kerri McCusker

Virtual worlds have been the focus of increasing attention in education in recent years, with a number of dedicated conferences and special issues in leading journals. One area that has received only limited attention is how educators use web-based systems to scaffold and support learning in virtual worlds and the potential benefits of the blended use of these technologies. A supplementary issue is the need to be able to share and reuse virtual world eLearning materials and content – including the supporting web-based materials. Improved understanding of the effective blended use of web and virtual world content may result in economical benefits alongside the pedagogical.

The 3D and web worlds may be blended in a number of ways. Carefully structured web-content can prepare students for and guide them through a range of exercises and activities in the virtual world. Web-content may be accessed directly within the virtual world, providing a more direct connection between in-world activities and online guidance. Or a system such as SLOODLE might be used to explicitly blend eLearning across 3D and web-based platforms.

SLOODLE provides a range of tools for integrating the open source Moodle VLE and Second Life or OpenSim virtual worlds making it possible, for example, to build immersive settings around existing VLE content, and to use the VLE to provide greater accessibility to immersive content (Livingstone, Kemp & Edgar 2008).

This ePoster will draw on case studies from a recent JISC funded multi-institutional collaboration exploring these issues in the contexts of engineering, computing and medical subjects using Second Life variously for simulation, discussion and role-play activities. A separate demonstration session will provide more guidance on how to exploit the lessons learned.