Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ECER 2008 - VLE Use in Higher Education

Live blog from a session at ECER 2008.

Presentation by Monica Johannesen from Faculty of Education, Oslo University College, Norway.

Actor Network Theory - As inspiration for research questions. This is a theoretical lens that aims to preserve the "hybrid" character of reality - between the technology and the person. It looks at the technology ans societal domains as tightly intertwined. It considers both human and non-human actors and defines an actant as an entity that does things and that works in a network of entities doing the same things. Three key concepts. Inscription: the intended use of an artifact. Translation: when an artifact is put to a new use (e.g. mobile phone used as a torch). Users enrol artefacts for their own interest. Blackboxing - proces where truth is taken for granted and never questioned (but perhaps should be!).

Examined teachers attitudes to multiple choice assessment tools. Looked at the Enthusiast, the Sceptic and the Unorthodox. Looked at uses, attitudes and pedagogical discourses. Perspective on learning - Assumes a behaviourist, cognative and sociocultural perpectives.

Findings. Faculty of Engineering use multiple choice and know when it is not appropriate. The lecturers are clear about what it can do an dwhen to use it. However, the Faculty of Education is very reluctant to use it. Resistant to the idea and do not see it as "fitting" their teaching. See it as the teacher writing the answer for the students instead of making them think for temselves. However, in the Faculty of Nursing, the students are writing multiple choice questions for each uther and distributing them on the VLE. [Brilliant! Looks to me like they are subverting a minimally useful tool and making it extrodinarily useful. - DM] The written comments on each others questions are also included in an assessment portfolio. Students therefore have to know their subject to make good questions.

Engineering as using the multiple choice tool as inscribed and think they know the cntent of the blackbox. The education faculty disagree with the inscribed use and are not interested in the black box. But the Faculty of nursing have transformed the tool and have opened up the black box and are interested in exploring and questionning.

The use of the tool in Nursing happened by accident - the students discovered the tool for themselves and started using it. [Again, brilliant! - DM]

Perspective on VLE Use in Higher Education

Presenter has observed that making material and lecture notes available in advanced changes what happns in lectures. She thinks it allows more discusion and less talking at in lectures. [Not sure about this. I wonder if this has been studiesd at Jordanhill where that sort of thing has been done for a while. - DM] Student sharing of texts is also interesting and could improve learning.

Student sharing shifts responsibility from lecturer to student. Students take responsibility for their own learning.

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