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Sharp end research (Two Proceedings Papers 0126 and 0218)


10:50 - 11:50 on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 in 9.90
0126 Effectiveness of technology to support work based learning: the stakeholders’ perspective. Rebecca Strachan, Lalith Liyanage, Biddy Casselden, Roger Penlington
0218 Towards a personalised learning mesh: The implementation of a low overhead, multipath learning tool. Iain Stewart, William McKee, Kevin Porteous
0126 Effectiveness of technology to support work based learning: the stakeholders’ perspective. Rebecca Strachan, Lalith Liyanage, Biddy Casselden, Roger Penlington

Higher education provision typically requires learners to physically attend sessions on campus. The economic climate has changed significantly over the past few years in the UK and globally. Inevitably changes to student funding and the increased competitive nature of the job market have impacted on University teaching. The use of work based learning (WBL) is an alternative flexible form of learning that attempts to tackle these issues. It enables students to learn whilst they work, addressing the funding issues, and enhancing their employability through the acquisition of higher professional qualifications. Often such WBL programmes are designed, delivered and supported from the view of the student and academic staff with little consideration of other stakeholders such as employers, workplace mentors and professional bodies and the input they can bring to enrich the learning and teaching provision. This paper presents the findings from a survey conducted among stakeholders from all four pillars of WBL, namely the learner, the academic environment, the workplace and the external context. Online questionnaires and interviews were carried out with students, tutors, program leaders, employers and professional bodies from four postgraduate programmes at the university. The results show that while there is a reluctance to embrace technology among some academic staff, students are generally positive about using the technology. The survey also demonstrates that there is a lack of creativity and imagination in the use of technology, where often platforms such as virtual learning environments are used simply as repositories for presentation slides, handouts, etc. The results of the study conclude or rather remind all involving parties to pay more emphasis on quality of online program delivery by embracing technology and use it in novel and imaginative ways to provide a learning and teaching provision fit for the twenty first century.

0218 Towards a personalised learning mesh: The implementation of a low overhead, multipath learning tool. Iain Stewart, William McKee, Kevin Porteous

Many studies have shown that students today live in an environment of multiple, simultaneous, short-lived stimuli which they access from wherever they may be. However institutional teaching is still based on traditional, long, sequential, attended presentations. In order to bridge that gap, there have been a number of moves over the past few years to develop and integrate lecture capture into the learning environment. Many of these systems are large and require a major commitment from the institution in terms of licences and infrastructure. Given the constrained financial environment for many academic institutions, these systems are not a viable option for many.

The authors have extended their normal lecture capture activity in their teaching to form an integrated learning resource. The captured media is mounted into a content management system which allows the media to be repurposed along with other content to provide an integrated support tool for student enquiry and self study which better matches their unstructured social experience.

The paper describes the development of the pilot system based on a minimal hardware requirement and limited post processing. The evolution of the system pilot is described and the development of the specification which then led to the live prototype is discussed. Issues that impact on the effectiveness of the prototype are covered and the strategy (based on classroom feedback) for developing the prototype into a full system for deployment across a range of desktop and mobile platforms is introduced.