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Inspiring and Enquiring

Inspiring and Enquiring

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Inspiring and Enquiring

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  1. Inspiring and Enquiring Elisabeth Skinner Martin Jenkins University of Gloucestershire

  2. Some students prefer scribing (McAlpine 2004) • EBL threatens low confidence …. poor independent learning • EBL builds confidence …. strengthens independent learning

  3. Capacity building or personal development does not occur before participation but through participation (Warburton 1998:33) • Build confidence before EBL? X • Build confidence through EBL? 

  4. The Focus of this Paper • Persuading students to take part despite low confidence • Providing support to maintain motivation • Because the rewards (growing confidence) are great

  5. The Case Study • Level One: Town and country planning • 64 students = 23 campus + 41 distance • EBL activity in groups: investigating a chosen planning application found online • Vehicle for both learning and assessment over nine weeks

  6. Inspiring • ‘Engagement’ is to “gain the full attention of students” (McAlpine 2004:126) • Ensure relevance • Create excitement • Design an activity that is “so enticing, so intriguing, and so marvelous (sic) that [students] really do not want to miss out on it” (Bender 2003:47) • Choices: groups, application, assessment

  7. Support: Information and Practice “Instructional responsibility in relation to practice is to provide a learning environment in which there is both structure and formative feedback since the two are supportive of a deep approach to learning” (McAlpine 2004:129) • Course materials (print and online) • Clear instructions with assignment checklist • F2F classes • Learning activities

  8. Support: Practice and Feedback • WebCT discussion group with teacher presence and feedback • Campus class groupwork with teacher help and feedback • Group as learning community with mutual support

  9. Evaluation • Observing attendance online and in class • Mid-point survey of campus class only • Standard end-of-module evaluation • Assessed 300 word individual reflection

  10. Support for independence • Inspired to work independently • 7/10 distance groups • 3/6 campus groups • Slow starters • 3/6 campus groups (absent students, waiting for deadline) • 3/10 distance groups (absent students, online decisions difficult)

  11. Five mid point drop outs • Pressures for all students • Groupwork • 25% de-motivating • 75% motivating

  12. Inspiring independent learning • Mid-point survey • 70% inspired, engaged • 50% fun • End-of-module evaluation 4 out of 5 median score for developing new skills, extending learning, opportunities for independent learning, enjoyment

  13. Marks • 2008 59 students • average mark 64% • 25% 70+ • 2006 48 students • Average mark 57% • 15% 70+

  14. Assessed reflection • One student critical of the EBL activity • Problems with groupwork • Sense of excitement and inspiration “I found this project both exciting and challenging. We picked a complex application …. and I learned a great deal. I enjoyed the challenge immensely and my motivation stayed high during the task.” (Distance learner)

  15. Assessed reflection “This assignment was a good way to see exactly how the planning system works; it is hard to understand when you’re just being told about it, so it was easier to understand when looking at it in terms of a specific application in a more practical set-up.” (Campus student) • Extensive learning • Explicit comments on growth of confidence through knowledge and skills

  16. “I am naturally a nosy, inquisitive person and love being given the chance to find out about anything, particularly something as important as housing and associated laws. I enjoyed the task and think that it was a successful method of getting students to do their own research into what a planning application involves.” (Campus student) • Students went the extra mile – investigations online and on the ground

  17. Tentative conclusions • Provided stimulating, relevant activity with choices • Provided support online and in class to maintain motivation • Consider role of groupwork and individuals in groups • Inspired the majority of students to engage to help students grow in confidence

  18. References • Bender, T. (2003) Discussion-based Online Teaching to Enhance Student Learning (Virginia, Stylus Publishing) • McAlpine L (2004) Designing learning as well as teaching: A research-based model for instruction that emphasizes learner practice, in Active Learning in Higher Education Vol 5, Issue 2 July 2004 pp119-134 • Salmon, G. (2000) E-moderating: the key to teaching and learning online (London, Kogan Page.)