Friday, September 12, 2008

ECER 2008 - Identification of barriers to Participation in a Practice-based Virtual learning

Live blog from a session at ECER 2008.

Presented by Anthony Michael Coles from Birmingham City University, United Kingdom.

Some of his university's modules have limited face-to-face contact so they rely on Moodle for continuity. Logs imply reasonable level of access but student behaviour suggests engagement is low.

Again, similar advantages and disadvantages as rehearsed in other seminars. (Referenced Joiner 2004.) However Joiner (2004), Kreijin et al (2004) and Frier (1983) suggest the "Nobody knows you are a dog" ideas are not strictly true.

Reasons given for non-participation were not always accurate. For example, students blamed technical difficulties and password problems but usage logs suggest this is not true. Of student's who did not use it, 50% thought they didn't need it. Despite induction training, 25% said they didn't know about it!

Participants who used it were fairly positive about its use for learning but less sure of its value for teaching.

The comment "I may try Facebook as that's how my friends communicate" was interpreted as a confidentiality issue. [Is that right? Is it just that they are doing it elsewhere already? - DM]

Again picking up previous comment, the students wanted to practise social interaction before doing "work". Have to see it as a social space not just a learning space - see Hall, R. (2006). Battery farming or free ranging: towards citizen participation in elearning environments. E Learning 3505-518.

Questions: The university did in fact discover that discussion was taking place between students ... But on their own Facebook sites. [See Creepy Treehouse! - DM] Could it also be the difference between formal and informal learning spaces?

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