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Using blended learning to help motivate students

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  1. Using blended learning to help motivate students Diana Mackie Napier University, Edinburgh HELM conference, Sept 2005

  2. Content • The problem • Tackling the problem • The results

  3. The problem (student perspective!) • I just don’t like maths! • Maths is my weakest subject. • Algebra equations and vectors have little relevance to sport science

  4. This is what I would rather be doing!

  5. Lack of previous success in mathematics Lack of confidence Lack of understanding of relevance Poor attendance Insufficient study in own time Lack of engagement with material Failure to submit coursework Hence, poor results Poor Motivation Causes Result

  6. Tackling the problem • Make course more relevant • Provide additional support and lot of examples and exercises • Make assessment more transparent and achievable • More use of ICT

  7. Why use ICT? Research shows that online learning • can engage de-motivated students • Is more stimulating and student-centred than traditional teaching • Results in students staying longer on the task • Increases self-confidence • gives students more responsibility for their own learning

  8. Use of ICT in mathematics • Encourages students to practice and consolidate skills with immediate feedback • Can make connection between algebraic and geometric or graphical representations • Allows students to work with realistic data sets • Encourages students to access additional online resources

  9. Lectures Tutorial classes Continuous assessment Use of VLE as information source Additional resources Computer-based classes Blended learning approach

  10. Lectures • Increased use of relevant examples • Computer demonstrations e.g. • equation of a straight line • linear regression • Use of WebCT • Interactive and ‘Try this’ windows

  11. Tutorial classes • Organised as exercise classes with individual help available • Some group exercises tackling relevant applications • Tutorial exercise sheets available on WebCT

  12. Computer-based classes • One hour per week • Worksheets with internet links accessed from WebCT • Consolidation and practice using online interactive activities – algebra, trig, vectors • Use of SPSS for statistics • Assessed coursework using SPSS

  13. Continuous Assessment • Achievable ‘hurdles’– changes to timing and weighting. • Dates and details on WebCT • Specimen papers and solutions on WebCT • Statistics coursework submitted and feedback given on WebCT.

  14. Use of VLE (WebCT) • Information about module • Computer-based worksheets • Coursework details • Tutorial sheets and additional resources e.g. Mathcentre leaflets • Specimen papers, assessment dates

  15. For students One-stop access to module resources and information Anytime, anywhere access Links to internet resources Used for some other modules For staff Assessment tool automatically records and acknowledges submission of coursework Can track student use of WebCT Easy to provide additional material Advantages of VLE

  16. Results – performance and feedback • Student performance • slight improvement over previous year • 98% submitted coursework • Student Feedback -mixed • ‘What did you enjoy most about module?’ Computer-based classes was most frequently mentioned response • Statistics – equal numbers liked and disliked this; several considered it relevant • Some felt they needed more classes

  17. Results - Use of WebCT • 90% of students accessed module on WebCT • No. of hits on resource pages ranged from 3 to 142 • Algebra worksheets had highest number of hits • 19 different Mathcentre leaflets were accessed - average 8.6 hits per leaflet • Some accessed WebCT from home • Some used maths web-sites in their own time

  18. Conclusions • Use of ICT can increase motivation for some students • Students found coursework relevant to their course • Some students used WebCT to download material when they missed classes • Some students used WebCT to access additional resources