‘There was a lot of learning going on’ Using a digital medium to support learning in a professional course for new HE lecturers

Chesney, Sarah and Marcangelo, Caroline (2010) ‘There was a lot of learning going on’ Using a digital medium to support learning in a professional course for new HE lecturers. Computers & Education, 54 (3). p. 701. Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2009.09.027

Abstract

This small scale action research study investigated the experiences of learners over two iterations as they completed a patchwork text assignment within the digital medium of a personal learning system (PLS). The aim was to investigate the extent to which using a PLS can facilitate formative and collaborative feedback to assist student learning. A secondary question, linked to the course being a Post Graduate Certificate for new H.E. teachers within a geographically dispersed university, was to examine if using a PLS in the programme would influence their interest in using it with their own students in the future. This question is of particular importance for the tutors of this programme, as the university attracts mainly part-time students who are studying at a distance from the university campus. The study was carried out as part of the JISC funded Flourish Project, whose overall aim was to examine the use of a PLS to support the development of academic staff.

A patchwork text assessment is a series of short independent pieces of writing, completed following formative peer feedback and then ‘stitched’ together by a reflexive commentary. A PLS provides a flexible digital online medium in which a learner is able to build a range of objects providing evidence from their professional practice or learning activities and to link these through reflective writing creating an e-portfolio for assessment. The digital medium allows the learner to share selected elements with others, including their peers and tutors, and to receive and give timely feedback electronically.

Over the two iterations, 21 learners participated in an online survey and 22 learners participated in focus groups. The findings identified that use of a patchwork text design was seen as beneficial by both participants and tutors in creating early and sustained engagement in the module, managing their assessment workload effectively, and making use of formative peer and tutor feedback to enhance their learning. Whilst the number of respondents in the second iteration was small, findings suggest that within this cohort, using the PLS stimulated ideas for future use as within the participants’ own pedagogic practice, however further research is needed to confirm whether this is a growing trend.

Challenges emerging from the study relate to social issues including anxieties and hesitancy concerning the use of an unfamiliar digital medium for writing and submitting an assignment, and peer to peer constructive formative feedback.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Computers & Education
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 03601315
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2009.09.027
Related URL(s):
Departments: Services > Academic Quality & Development > CDEPP
Depositing User: Caroline Marcangelo
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2010 11:11
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2016 16:08
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/189

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