7 days in the life of a ‘net generation’ student – e-learning opportunities and social networking beyond the classroom Nuz Quadri, Peter Bullen, Amanda Jefferies, with Diana Kornbrot and Jon Alltree
The net-generation student? (Oblinger inter alia) • Has easy access to the internet 24/7 ? • Extends communication with their studies and lecturers beyond the traditional pattern of a 9-5 working week? How do students use the MLE now? What are their attitudes to the provision of online learning? What about their use of technologies for social networking? In a recent survey carried out at UH on flexible learning: • 66% of students found lectures ‘extremely valuable’ or ‘very valuable’ • 67% of students found independent study ‘extremely valuable’ or ‘very valuable’ What does this data really tell us about our students??
Objectives of the 7 days project To allow students to provide feedback using a medium where they could be ‘themselves’ To give staff at the university a detailed insight into students’ views and behaviours To explore what students really think about their learning experience, in their own words To provide powerful data that would support research already conducted with students at the university
Finding out about students’ learning experiences… • 7 days in February 2007 • 13 students - video-diaries and audio logs • 7 coloured envelopes • Text message sent everyday • Students recorded their personal reflections and how they used technologies to support their learning • Students commented on the use by academics of the e-learning environment and how changes to pedagogy might promote the student learning experience.
Analysis of data • Watched videos and transcribed relevant comments • Themes were identified by the team according to students’ comments • Themes from 2007 case study: • Learning enhancement by lecturers • StudyNet and university resources available • Communication methods used by lecturers • Study behaviours outside of class time
Some Results… • Students find lecturers’ support outside of class time very valuable • StudyNet features including discussion forum and podcasts provided immense support for students’ learning • Students spend a lot of time outside the classroom online • Most students reported their use of social networks such as Facebook or MySpace • Students indicate a balance of lifestyle but will often choose to study outside a Monday -Friday 9-5 window and at weekends
Limitations of the studies • Small sample so not generally representative of student body • Limited to number of students who will take part • Students are in control of the study • Can be difficult to follow up on individual students’ comments
Reporting the learners’ experiences – the STROLL project • STROLL (JISC Learners Experiences Phase 2, Learners Journeys project) building on the experiences gained in the video diaries projects for a longitudinal study • Structured questions • Short reflections • Themes decided in advance • Support (email/phone) from named contact is helpful
Conclusions and discussion • Rich and powerful data provided • Informed insight into students’ views and behaviours • Students feel valued at the university for providing feedback • Supports other research conducted with students • Influencing future strategies at university
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