Flexible approaches to using technology for online interaction University of AberdeenTeaching and Learning Symposium January 11 2012 Sarah Cornelius and Yvonne Bain School of Education
Yvonne Sarah You
The Plan • A few words on flexibility and interaction • Your experiences and challenges • Our examples: • Towards a flexible model for interactive course delivery - the TQFE • Asynchronous interaction using discussion forums • Synchronous interaction with web conferencing • Your examples: • Issues and first thoughts on solutions • Where next?
Teacher as facilitator Learner-centred not teacher-centred Meeting diverse student needs and styles Giving learners choices about what to study Flexibility Developing independent Lifelong learners • 5 dimensions (Collis and Moonen, 2001) • Time • Content • Entry Requirements • Instructional approach and resources • Course delivery and logistics
Interaction is one of the most important components of any learning experience (Vrasidas and McIsaac, 1999) INTERACTION ‘the interaction level in a synchronous class is a significant factor in the effectiveness of the class’ (Skylar, 2009, p. 71). students’ satisfaction with their learning environment is affected by levels of interaction (Stephens and Mottet, 2008) Transactional distance (Moore) Conversational Framework (Laurillard) Purposeful, encouraged and managed
Learner-teacher Mediated by technology Adapted from Terry Anderson (2003) www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/149/230
Your examples How do you, or would you like to, encourage flexibility and interaction for your learners? • Something you are proud of? • A scenario you would like to improve? • An approach you would like to develop? • An aspiration?
Example 2 effective discussion Example 3 real-time interaction Example 1 flexible content Adapted from Terry Anderson (2003) www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/149/230
Example 1: Flexible learner-content interaction Teaching Qualification for Further Education
Why do we need flexibility? • Diversity of learners • College demands and practice • Flexibility of study modes • Flexible access for tutors • Ease of updating and reuse
Professional standards for lecturers in FE Guiding principles Reflective practice Collaborative inquiry Authentic problems Individual learning journey Online Activities for individual or collaborative study and/or workshops Working Together On-line Working Together On-campus
What have we learned? • No ‘typical’ response to flexibility - although mostly positive • Diversity of learners’ strategies • Universalists, butterflies and changelings • IT skills and technology issues impact experience • Importance of induction and setting expectations • Role of support and collaboration
Example 2: Flexible asynchronous interaction Towards a framework for learning through online discussion
Why? "CMC has the potential to provide a means for the weaving together of ideas and information from many people's minds, regardless of when and from where they contribute." Kaye (1989: 3) • Is the potential realised?
What have we learned? A framework for learning through online discussion – useful to support students’ learning?
Example 3: Flexible synchronous interaction Synchronous online workshops for the TQFE
Why? • To meet college and individual needs • To reduce staff release/travel time requirements • To integrate learners from distributed locations • To replicate face to face workshop experience • To enhance technology skills
Discussions Short Presentations Small group activities Ice-breakers
What have we learned? • Learners’ perspective • Convenient, flexible approach • Easy to learn • Facilitates interaction and collaboration • Teachers’ perspective • Facilitation is demanding • Encouraging interaction in absence of visual clues • Duality of experience • Importance of team approach
Group Activity In small groups • Share your ideas for improving flexibility and/or interaction using technology • Choose one ‘idea’ to discuss further • On flipchart paper • Outline the idea briefly • Raise any issues that need to be considered • Outline possible solutions or add comments • Revisit your idea Keep in mind flexibility and interaction
Discussion • Issues raised by case studies • Planning for action – what will you do next?
Further information Our research • Bain, Y (2011) Learning through online discussion: a framework evidenced in learners’ interactions. ALT-C 2011 Thriving in a colder and more challenging climate, conference proceedings, Leeds. Access http://repository.alt.ac.uk/2172/ • Cornelius S, Gordon C and Ackland A (2011) Towards flexible learning for adult learners in professional contexts: an activity-focused course design. Interactive Learning Environments 19(4) 381-394 • Cornelius S. (2011) Convenience and Community? An exploratory investigation into learners' experiences of web conferencing. In T. Bastiaens & M. Ebner (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2011 (pp. 2696-2704). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. References and other sources of information • Anderson T. (2003) Getting the mix right: an updated and theoretical rationale for interaction. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/149/230 • Collis B. and Moonen J. (2001) Flexible learning in a digital world: experiences and expectations. London: Kogan Page • Kaye, A (1989) Computer-mediated Communication and Distance Learning. In R. Mason and A. Kaye (eds) Mindweave: Computers, Communication and Distance Education. Oxford: Pergamon Press, pp 1 - 21 • Laurillard D. (2002) Rethinking university practice: a conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies. London: RoutledgeFalmer. • Moore M. G. (1997) Theory of transactional distance. In: Keegan, D. (ed.). Theoretical principles of distance education. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 22-38. • Skylar A. A. (2009) A comparison of asynchronous online text-based lectures and synchronous interactive web conferencing lectures. Issues in Teacher Education, 18(2), 69-84. • Stephens K. K. and Mottet T. P. (2008) Interactivity in a web conference training context: effects on trainers and trainees. Communication Education, 57(1), 88-104. • Vrasidas C., and McIsaac S. M. (1999) Factors influencing interaction in an online course. American Journal of Distance Education, 13(3), 22-36.