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Student perceptions of online practical science. Dr Victoria Nicholas Dr David Robinson Prof. Stephen Swithenby. Outline. Context Hypothesis Research Methods Findings Future work. Context. Modules offered globally as part of a qualification must have a practical science component

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student perceptions of online practical science

Student perceptions of online practical science

Dr Victoria NicholasDr David RobinsonProf. Stephen Swithenby

outline
Outline
  • Context
  • Hypothesis
  • Research Methods
  • Findings
  • Future work
context
Context
  • Modules offered globally as part of a qualification must have a practical science component
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests a negative perception of online practical science
context1
Context
  • Can we validate this anecdotal evidence?
  • Does experience of the module alter perception?
  • What lessons can we learn about our pedagogical design?
the modules
The modules
  • Scientific investigations – 10 credits online only module
  • Investigative and mathematical skills in science – 30 credits – blended
  • Both globally available
  • 95.2% of enrolled students completed and 84.2% of enrolled students passed
investigative and mathematical skills in science
Investigative and mathematical skills in Science
  • Some printed books
  • Some online texts
  • OU Live (synchronous online tutorial)
  • Tutor-marked e-assessment
  • Computer-marked e-assessment
  • Tutor group forum
hypothesis
Hypothesis
  • There will be a shift in student perception about online practical science after study.
research methods
Research Methods
  • Email invitation sent to 100 students
  • 16 % response rate – all interviewed
  • Telephone discussion for 15 minutes pre and post study
  • Discussions recorded and transcribed
analysis
Analysis:

Grounded theory analysis with stages:

  • Open coding
  • Axial coding
  • Selective coding
question areas
Question areas
  • Online study
  • Practical science
  • Practical science studied online
responses
Responses

I’m not sure if I will feel like a real scientist

There is a lack of really nice practical stuff, test tubes and a few chemicals

I would probably get more out of a face to face situation in a real laboratory

responses1
Responses

I wish we could have a hands-on laboratory session

Oh I really don’t want to do this but I have to

If I could choose, I would do residential schools instead

unexpected responses
Unexpected responses
  • Timings and coordination
  • Online discussions
  • Reliability of other students in collaborative work
  • Solitary nature of practical work
criticisms of methodology
Criticisms of methodology
  • Self selecting group
  • Motivated by voucher
  • Honesty of response
  • Leading questions
continuing research
Continuing research
  • Scientific Investigations post-study interviews late April
  • Investigative and mathematical skills in Science post-study interviews late May
  • Broader questionnaire planned for next S141 presentation starting in October.
quantitative approach
Quantitative approach
  • Aim to use the interview responses to inform questionnaire design
  • Larger sample of students
  • Possibly higher response rate with questionnaire format
broader perspective
Broader perspective
  • The Open University has an ongoing strategy to remain at the forefront of innovation in online distance learning.
  • Research should highlight student misconceptions about practical online science and will inform the design of new modules.
summary
Summary
  • Address hypothesis
  • Standard research methods
  • Diversity of responses
  • Key responses
  • Continuing research