Building Learning Supports for Part-Time and Distance Learning Students: A case study of the use of a public blog to encourage course engagement and self-directed learning

Cooke, G. and Jennings, David and Phelan, Margaret (2014) Building Learning Supports for Part-Time and Distance Learning Students: A case study of the use of a public blog to encourage course engagement and self-directed learning. In: The 15th Educational Technology Conference of the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA). May 29th and 30th, UCD, Dublin, Ireland.

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Official URL: http://programme.exordo.com/edtech2014/delegates/p...

Abstract

Background /Introduction : Learning is challenging, particularly for mature students undertaking part time courses whether in a face to face or online distance learning situation. These individuals may be returning to tertiary education after a long break or even starting out for the first time. The challenges these students face are numerous. They can quite often have significantly more demands on their time then other types of students. Engagement, whether inside or outside the classroom, and critical thinking are essential components for any learning experience. Making them feel part of the course by engaging with them in different ways can offer these types of students a support structure which helps them with their learning. Wikis and blogs are now being used in both assessment and teaching to promote student engagement and critical thinking (1, 2). Technological Implementation: To support the students in their wider learning activities a public blog was created - entitled LectureHub. Within the blog, material and questions were posted as a supplemental resource to the teaching. The posts were a mixture of rich multi-media, including text, audio, video and images. Posts were made on a weekly basis soon after lectures and acted as a prod and reminder for the students to review their own learning. The blog is accessible by smartphone, tablet or personal computer. It has been set up as open access and requires no authentication ensuring learners may access it at any time of the day to facilitate their learning. Additional functionality enabled the learners to collectively comment on the posts that they found interesting or those they wished to query or raise questions about. Some of the students sent information directly to the lecturer to create further posts which they thought might be helpful for their peers. Review: The feedback for the blog has been primarily excellent, with students saying they found it not only very useful but they also felt they would like to use it again in their future studies. The blog also allowed the lecturer to act as curator of information from across the web that was deemed relevant to the subjects provided by learners and facilitator/s. The focus now for the blog is to try encourage active participation by students in the comments section of the posts to create a more interactive learning experience.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Depositing User: Colin Lowry
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2015 02:36
URI: http://eprints.teachingandlearning.ie/id/eprint/2054

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