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Project Results (Three Short Papers 0189, 0154, 0146)


09:00 - 10:00 on Thursday, 8 September 2011 in 7.73
0189 Supporting digital literacy skills with HE students: what we have learnt Lyn Greaves, Claire Bradley
0154 Embracing a new approach to delivery in the digital age. Cheryl Middleton, Steve Brierley
0146 One Year On: Nottingham Trent University’s SHARE Project reflects on the challenge of engendering a digital sharing culture Vicki McGarvey, Anna Armstrong
0189 Supporting digital literacy skills with HE students: what we have learnt Lyn Greaves, Claire Bradley

The JISC-funded Anytime Literacies Learning Environment (ALLE) project (http://alle.tvu.ac.uk) has created a bespoke online environment to support HE students’ learning and literacy skills acquisition. The design of the environment has been informed by the LLiDA ‘Framework of Frameworks’ (www.academy.gcal.ac.uk/llida/) and it is a flexible learning resource in the form of a structured online digital learner journey. It comprises a series of learning objects on discreet topics, brought together in a cohesive ‘wrap around shell’ which enables learners to embark on their own interactive journey, and helps them develop their learning and literacy skills (http://hermes.tvu.ac.uk/learnerjourney/index.html). It has been designed as an Open Educational Resource (OER), and authored using the GLO Maker learning object authoring tool, which will facilitate easy reuse and adaptation of the journey and its components by other tutors and institutions. The learner journey is in 3 parts, the digital tools journey, the library journey and academic journey. It has been used by students at two Universities, each using a contrasting approach to scaffold learners’ digital literacy skills acquisition. The University of West London (UWL) has scaffolded the learner journey within the curriculum, whilst at London Metropolitan University students are being encouraged to use the journey according to their needs.

The use of the learner journey at both Universities has been thoroughly evaluated using a mixed method approach, combining quantitative and qualitative data. A pre-test questionnaire asked students to provide baseline information, about their background, their ownership and use of digital technologies, and to rate their perceived skill levels in the areas covered by the learner journey. A post-test questionnaire asked students to re-rate their skills again afterwards, and student Focus Groups followed up issues arising and provided more in-depth feedback. The tutors have been interviewed to obtain their views on the intervention.

Evaluation data gathered from the pre- and post-test questionnaires reveals that students at both Universities had increased skill levels in the topics covered by the learner journeys by the end of the Semester, but that the scaffolded approach at TVU has produced more striking results. Our findings will be useful for anyone embarking on developing student digital literacy skills.

In the presentation we will briefly demonstrate the learner journey, and report on the findings and outcomes of the project focusing on key messages emerging from the rich evaluation data gathered.

0154 Embracing a new approach to delivery in the digital age. Cheryl Middleton, Steve Brierley

This paper documents a project at Sheffield Hallam University in the Faculty of ACES, Information Systems group during the academic year 2010/11. The project aimed to investigate an alternative approach to the traditional lecture model. The module ‘Business Analysis in the Workplace’ was used as the vehicle for the project. It is a level 4 undergraduate module delivered on a range of computing degrees designed to introduce students to business processes, analysis skills, communication skills and data modelling techniques. Traditionally, the module has always been organised each week with one lecture timetabled for over 100 students followed by smaller workshop groups on average with group sizes from 15 to 25 students in each. Influenced by Donald Clarks keynote speech ‘Don’t lecture me!’ at Alt-C (2010) and several academic journals, books on the use of the lecture this paper documents a case study of an alternative delivery approach. The traditional delivery approach of one lecture with one workshop was changed to one workshop with e-learning support, adoption of key principles from the enquiry based learning approach and use of audio/visual learning technology to deliver key subject content. The paper outlines the approach, the benefits that the approach provided and discusses the issues/challenges that it raises from a practitioners perspective. A short summary of results is given taking into account staff feedback, student end of module reviews and grades achieved. Reflecting on the case study experience and interpretation of outcomes; the paper suggests a number of opportunities for further research and development.

0146 One Year On: Nottingham Trent University’s SHARE Project reflects on the challenge of engendering a digital sharing culture Vicki McGarvey, Anna Armstrong

At ALT-C last year, the JISC funded SHARE (Supporting Harnessing and Advancing Repository Enhancement) Project, presented a paper on the policies and processes it was developing to encourage staff at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) to share their learning resources via learning repositories implemented within its Virtual Learning Environment.  This project has now ended and this paper reflects on the challenges and successes with respect to the interventions outlined last year.

In these economically challenging times, higher education institutions are beginning to consider processes that can help to develop learning that is more efficient specifically in the area of Open Education Resources (OER) (OECD 2007).  Recently, the Online Learning Task Force's (OLTF) report to HEFCE highlighted in its recommendations the importance of OER,

  • Investment is needed for the development and exploitation of open educational resources to enhance efficiency and quality (OLTF 2011, 7)
  • However, university engagement in learning resource sharing varies. For example, some institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Open University, have developed a high profile in this area where as other institutions may appear to have a lower profile but have tried to engender a culture of sharing via institutional strategic interventions (Connole 2007) for embedding e-learning, as exemplified at NTU.

This paper reflects on how training and support over the last year has influenced staff engagement in a culture of sharing, by developing illustrations of best practice, raising awareness of OER, particularly JorumOpen and Merlot (integrated within NTU's VLE) and developing knowledge of copyright issues, specifically Creative Commons licenses. It contemplates on how the project's link with JISC's OER programme has affected technology enhanced learning at NTU in the area of open course design. Examples of how schools within the university have strategically addressed the issue of resource sharing, encouraged by an incentive project set-up by SHARE are provided. The paper concludes by reviewing evaluative data on attitudes to sharing resources inside and outside of NTU and the use of learning repositories, collated from a questionnaire and a focus group of learning repository users.