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The Walled Garden . Integrating the online learning experience. Key themes. Academic assumptions about student digital literacy. To often there is confusion between awareness and understanding. The VLE experience; academic ease or student usage.

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The Walled Garden

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    1. The Walled Garden Integrating the online learning experience

    2. Key themes • Academic assumptions about student digital literacy. To often there is confusion between awareness and understanding. • The VLE experience; academic ease or student usage. • Student perceptions of the virtual learning environment.

    3. Key questions • What elements of the virtual learning environment do learners recognize as helpful in the learning process? • How does the virtual learning environment support the learners offline experience? • How do learners react when asked to engage with tools and technologies located outside of the virtual learning environment?

    4. Student experience • 68% of students use their VLE at least once a day • 73% of students found the VLE easy or extremely easy to use • 69% of students feel that their VLE experience has improved since they enrolled • “Its really easy to use and I can access it easily wherever I am....even while I am socialising.”

    5. Student tasks • Why do you use your learning environment: • 71% use it for accessing “My Grades” • 89% use it for reviewing lectures • 98% use it for submitting assignments • 76% use it to access the reading list • 44% use it for online tests • “Online feedback on assignments is a great, it saves me time and I get my feedback quickly”

    6. What students think • “Whilst I have been at university there have been many improvements in the Unilearn experience, mainly due to my lecturers getting better at using and uploading to this, although some of them still appear to have no idea how to use it.” • “In the majority, things were nicely laid out, info was clear, but this all depends on the lecturer who is posting it.” • “Things are getting better, but depends on the lecturer, some lecturers uploaded the documents or grades on time, some lecturers do not.” • “The system is much better ... previously my lecturers didn't use Unilearn so if hand-outs were given out and you didn't attend the lesson then you couldn't get them...ever...unless they one day decide to put it online which was hardly ever.”

    7. Clear structure & layout. Lectures and tutorials are easy to locate. The reading list is extensive and there are plenty of support materials available. Due to the large amounts of time sifting through online journals and articles Unilearn makes it easier to access university work. Lectures My Grades Online Tests Submission Reading List This was my best module as there was easy access to the Unilearn wiki and the discussion boards.

    8. loss of opportunities • Lack of use in social media in H.E. • Lack of openness • Lack of inventiveness and creativity • Is the experience to controlled and constraining?

    9. Meet me outside the VLE • Student perceptions on engaging outside of the VLE for academic purposes: • 62% of students did not want Facebook contact • 58% of students did not want twitter contact • 60% of students did want mobile phone contact

    10. Key findings • Online design and offline design should be integrated. Openness and sharing needs to be structured and integrated, with good design. Digital Literacy is a key driver here. • Students are hesitant to engage with their studies through their own social networks • Students perceive the online and offline experience as one and do not differentiate. • The role of the academic is shifting to more moderation, monitoring and signposting. • Students are hesitant to leave the VLE as they can find it confusing, preferring to stay in the walled garden of the VLE.