JURE 2007


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Higher education students’ approaches to study in asynchronous online conferences - a paper presented at JURE 2007 in Budapest, Hungary.

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  • Who I am My research: How students learn together online What the OU is
  • An example of an asynchronous conference.
  • Define asynchronous conference
  • This work has been seen as * Off topic * Insignificant * The work of teachers or administrators
  • This is a pilot study. Way of looking at times when learning changes away from deep. Marton and Säljö found that it was possible to modify students’ ways of processing data by changing the conditions of their learning. They distinguished surface (sign) and deep (signified). Ramsden identified strategic.
  • Based on pre-existing framework (RASI) Had to be changed because no longer a survey. This is thematic coding - not analysed quantitatively
  • Introductory psychology course Research design and research methods Wholly online 700 students Ethical considerations
  • Explain that the groups carried out entire project here. Mauve conference contained 242 postings, of which 64 were from tutors. Turquoise conference contained 284 postings, of which 53 were written by tutors.
  • All kinds of technical problem. Couldn’t log on. Computer broke. Server down. FirstClass acting up. Access problems. Missing messages. Emphasise that this is well supported, well tested, but still probs.
  • Distance education students have very different schedules. Not used to working together. Also - shifts at wildlife park, shifts as midwife, working round children, working one day a week.
  • This meant they spent an enormous amount of time scheduling. This was done on a continuous basis with both long-term and short-term scheduling
  • They had a week to decide on a project, research and write a proposal. Turquoise only had four students at this point - Mauve had eight. Illustration shows something that might have been useful.
  • This plea wasn’t answered for 24 hours Half the students were having this problem. Two ended up spending the weekend with Google searching Foucault (over 8 million) and Weber (58 million)
  • Conference ran from end of Nov to end of Jan. Salma held the project up and only posted one useful thing - and was praised for working hard! Carol went missing but had done explanations.
  • A focus on the course materials obscures these important forms of learning. It may be assumed students learn by observation and practice - but this takes time. Future work: extend this. Ask students and teachers about what they are doing.
  • JURE 2007

    1. 1. Higher education students’ approaches to study in asynchronous online conferences Rebecca Ferguson, Open University, UK
    2. 2. Rebecca Ferguson
    3. 3. Asynchronous conferences <ul><li>Help students to: </li></ul><ul><li>develop a perspective </li></ul><ul><li>construct an argument </li></ul><ul><li>engage in dialogue. </li></ul>Rebecca Ferguson <ul><li>Students must learn course material </li></ul><ul><li>Students must learn to interact online </li></ul><ul><li>Students must learn to organise online </li></ul>BUT they may increase workload
    4. 4. Learning to organise online Rebecca Ferguson <ul><li>Groups need to identify </li></ul><ul><li>Goals </li></ul><ul><li>Individual responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Accountability </li></ul><ul><li>Communication methods </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-making protocols. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Approaches to study <ul><li>Deep </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic </li></ul><ul><li>Surface </li></ul>Rebecca Ferguson Approaches are not innate. They are influenced by contextual factors. When do students stop using a deep approach?
    6. 6. Approaches to Study Inventory <ul><li>Often I feel I’m drowning in the sheer amount of material I have to cope with. </li></ul><ul><li>I often worry about whether I’ll ever be able to cope with the coursework properly. </li></ul><ul><li>I often seem to panic if I get behind with my studies. </li></ul><ul><li>Often I lie awake worrying about assignments. </li></ul>Rebecca Ferguson [I] am finding this far more stressful than any of the previous courses I’ve studied… I am very close to breaking point I am pretty daunted by this project.
    7. 7. Data Rebecca Ferguson
    8. 8. Two groups were archived <ul><li>Qualitative approach </li></ul><ul><li>Studying communication </li></ul><ul><li>Two tutors </li></ul><ul><li>Eight students </li></ul><ul><li>34,000 words </li></ul><ul><li>242 postings </li></ul>Rebecca Ferguson <ul><li>Quantitative approach </li></ul><ul><li>Studying memory </li></ul><ul><li>Two tutors </li></ul><ul><li>Five students </li></ul><ul><li>40,000 words </li></ul><ul><li>284 postings </li></ul>
    9. 9. Technical problems <ul><li>Prompted strategic or surface approaches in 10% of Turquoise students’ posts </li></ul>Rebecca Ferguson Prompted almost all surface approaches by Mauve students
    10. 10. Organising availability Rebecca Ferguson Carol lived in Jamaica Carmen worked in the US for 2 weeks Minnie spent a week in Portugal Ysanne visited Dublin Andy went to Kent
    11. 11. Organising time Rebecca Ferguson One-quarter of Turquoise students’ postings contained this type of strategic work. One-third of Mauve students’ postings contained this type of strategic work.
    12. 12. Decision making Rebecca Ferguson Deciding what to research took Turquoise 3 days Deciding what to research took Mauve 5 days
    13. 13. Learning to interact: Help Rebecca Ferguson I can’t seem to find my way around [the online resource]. Please help meeeeeee!
    14. 14. Learning to interact: Loafers Rebecca Ferguson Mauve postings Minnie 35 Rachel 29 … Carol 11 Salma 9
    15. 15. Conclusions Rebecca Ferguson <ul><li>Organisational learning is significant: </li></ul><ul><li>troubleshooting </li></ul><ul><li>scheduling </li></ul><ul><li>decision making. </li></ul><ul><li>Learning to interact is significant: </li></ul><ul><li>asking for and giving help </li></ul><ul><li>dividing work fairly. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Rebecca Ferguson IET, The Open University Walton Hall Milton Keynes MK7 6AA UK <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>