Engaging Students with Web 2.0


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This presentation presents the results of a survey of 140 Higher Education students which was carried out during May 2009. The students were asked about their online browsing habits, with a view to establishing which popular services could be adapted for use within education.

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  • Introduction This presentation continues the theme of previous talks at previous Conferences Initially born out of attendance at the LILAC Conference in late March. Many presentations looked at how libraries are using technology such as chat software / text messages etc to engage users in new ways. However, the talk also has implications for learning / teaching and marketing. Flexibility of Web 2.0 means that there are applications for all purposes. There have also been a stream of reports / articles in recent years, both in library literature and more generic HE circles. Also attended an event a couple of weeks back for marketing people to explore what’s available. The OU has been very active – Project Bamboo website contains detailed information on their projects. And the BBC Technology website has been very useful in providing news updates.
  • While the research was being carried out, a new report by JISC (but with input from Becta, the Higher Education Academy, the Learning and Skills Council, Lifelong Learning UK and several others) was published – looks likely to have quite an impact. Here’s a few quotes which seem quite pertinent:
  • And a few more…
  • Few more quick words before we get to the results. The questionnaire was admittedly put together very quickly – with hindsight I’d have changed a couple of things, but am broadly happy with the results.
  • Full Time – 16% said no. 84% said yes and all had Facebook. Plus some had others. Part-Time – 30% said no. 68% had Facebook, and some one or two others. Facebook appears to have become the Google of social networking. Only two people used a social networking site but not Facebook. For most students it was Facebook and A.N.Other.
  • Full Time – 97% check in daily or at least 2-3 times a week. Part-timers – 74% are at least daily or 2-3 times a week. I’d be interested in knowing how these compare to Blackboard logins – have heard comments in passing from students who find it difficult to use / find announcements etc. The advantage of something like Facebook is that when you login any ‘notifications’ automatically pop up when you log in so they’re hard to miss. So we have a (reasonable) idea of how students are using these sites (or let’s face it, Facebook). But would they be interested in a College presence?
  • Full Time – 78% say they would be interested (only 84% have an account anyway). Part-Time – 67% would be interested (only 68% have an account anyway). I accept that “would you be likely” is not the same as “I definitely would”, but I think it suggests that the idea of “it’s their space” is overblown. There is actually a BA ECS group on Facebook (the very students I’ve been surveying).
  • One of the presentations I attended at LILAC regarded Colleges and Universities using chat software to provide an online service with students. General feedback from these programmes was that students approved. Wolverhampton also have a service called ASSIST which offers this. So I wanted to find if our students were big users of chat software. 81% of full time students use some form of chat software (not far behind social networking) Part-timers are lagging a bit here, but still 59& (over half) use some kind of chat software. MSN far ahead, some usage of others (mainly Facebook chat). First quote from a foreign student who says that ‘all’ Chinese students use QQ. We apparently already have a thriving community within College.
  • Students seem very engaged with this idea. FT 86% / PT 76 %. Of course there are implications (staff time etc), but surely worth looking at? Comment from student – I really had library services in mind when I asked this question, don’t know how some of you would feel about this quote!
  • Just over half from full time students / just under half from part-time students. Because I can get some stats from the blog, I suspect this is a slight exaggeration (!) but not much.
  • My favourite chart! 100% approval on both sides. So we already have a Web2.0 service within College which is proving successful.
  • What’s interesting though, is that neither group pays much attention to blogs in general (15% on each side). Perhaps understandable – for every good blog out there (and there are some very good ones) there is also a lot of junk.
  • Students doing their own blogging is virtually non-existent. 1 student in each of the groups. The quote actually comes from a student in the 3 rd group whose results I’m not presenting. She’s an overseas student, writes about the College, her course, and England in general – apparently quite a few people read it! Nice example of how blogs can be used as part of the College community without necessarily being assessment-related. Warwick University gives all students blog space when they start and encourages them to use them for staying in touch, collaboration, reflection etc.
  • Slightly surprised by the results here – only 14% of FT students, 18% of PT students. Had expected more. The quote comes from several people who filled the questionnaire out in the library – be interesting to know how many of the students who filled this out in class would have had the same reaction.
  • These are numbers, not percentages. IPod slightly ahead, but not really significant numbers.
  • There is some evidence of a willingness to listen – 57% full timers, 48% part timers. Again, slightly surprised – might have expected full time students who find it harder to get into College to be the more enthusiastic group. The quote was written on one of the questionnaires I received (part-timer). So someone is very keen!
  • There is a growing movement around the idea of ‘mobile learning’. Certainly mobiles today are no longer just phones, but pocket computers. And both groups scored 100% on ownership. Quote – one student actually amended the question to show that they owned more than one phone.
  • Full time students are slightly more wedded to their phones (ahead in all categories). 99%/98% on texting. Might have expected to see slightly more on internet access.
  • 93% FT / 86% PT. Interesting – little concept / concern about privacy, very popular idea. Certainly more likely to get read than an announcement on Blackboard. Could be reminders for seminars, changes to rooms etc. Can purchase software, enter students numbers, and text automatically goes out to all of them, think marketing are looking at something like this for Fresher’s week, but could be used for many purposes. One very keen quote, don’t think the second student has much to worry about! Before next slide, raise your hand if you know what ‘Social Bookmarking’ is…
  • One part-timer uses Delicious, that’s it! Didn’t expect vast numbers, but thought we might see a few more… Quick explanation of what social bookmarking is. Great potential for use between colleagues, or for students to share work with others. There is a ‘post a link’ feature on Facebook which is sort of similar so some students may already be doing this without realising. Looking at Delicious homepage, seems to currently be IT geeks!
  • Real surprise this one – can’t open a newspaper / use radio without reading / hearing about Twitter. Businesses looking at it as a marketing tool etc. Only about 5 students in the whole sample are using it at all. Personally I’m a little sceptical about it’s potential without texting, but I had at least expected to see some engagement here. Although a recent BBC news story suggests that a small hardcore of users (10%) are making 90% of the noise. For an interesting way in which it could be used for ‘serious’ purposes, see ‘How Twitter Will Change the Way we Live’ in Time magazine, June. Describes a Conference discussion and input from outsiders.
  • Finally, YouTube. Many Universities now have a channel on YouTube, usually marketing material, although with the launch of YouTube Edu many US institutions are now making lectures online for free. There is also some genuinely good educational material on there in among the ‘noise’ of much of the content. 76% of the FT students make some use of the site, 66% of PT do. Enough to make it worthwhile recommending students view materials on there / open a UCB channel?
  • Engaging Students with Web 2.0

    1. 1. <ul><li>Engaging Students with Web 2.0 </li></ul><ul><li>What interactive online tools are students using? Could these be adapted for use within Higher Education? </li></ul><ul><li>College Conference 6 th July 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
    2. 2. <ul><li>“ Technologies that enable communication, collaboration, participation and sharing.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ We have deliberately chosen not to regard VLEs as Web 2.0 technology… their management and direction are firmly in institutional hands and, moreover, they generally operate only in the environment of the particular institution.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Use of Web 2.0 technologies is high and pervasive across all age groups from 11 to 15 upwards.” </li></ul><ul><li>Five principal perspectives on the Social Web: </li></ul><ul><li>“ It’s overblown and over-rated” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It’s going to take time to have an impact” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It represents revolution, and for the worse” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It’s a force for good and offers possibilities for more of everything” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It’s begun well but this is fleeting” </li></ul><ul><li>Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience (2009) Higher education in a web 2.0 world . London: JISC. </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>“ young people are more technologically literate than older age groups within the range of applications they use, but much writing over-estimates the impact of ICT on young people and under-estimates its effect on older people.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ There is a match between what are seen as 21 st century learning skills and those engendered by engagement with Web 2.0 – communication, participation, networking, sharing.” </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendation: “HEIs [to] explore ways in which the tutor / student relationship might be developed based on the Web 2.0 skills and attitudes of students.” </li></ul><ul><li>Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience (2009) Higher education in a web 2.0 world . London: JISC. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Sampling <ul><li>Questionnaire was distributed during three week period beginning in </li></ul><ul><li>early May </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Captive audience’ of BA ECS / FdA EY students, so high response rate. </li></ul><ul><li>Mainly 1 st years, also a few responses from 2 nd / 3 rd years from </li></ul><ul><li>distribution in library. </li></ul><ul><li>140 responses used in results presented here; also another </li></ul><ul><li>‘ miscellaneous’ group not presented here. </li></ul><ul><li>74 Full Time / 66 Part Time responses </li></ul>
    5. 5. Social Networking Do you use any of the following websites (tick as many as apply)?
    6. 6. Social Networking If you do use social networking sites, how often do you check your account?
    7. 7. Social Networking If the College was to set up some social networking pages with information about the library, course information etc, would you be likely to use them?
    8. 8. Chat Software Do you use any of the following chat services (tick as many as apply)? “ I chat online to other Chinese students all the time about the College, my course and so on; it also helped me to learn about the College before I arrived” “ I used to, but I don’t have time now that I have kids and a family”
    9. 9. Chat Software If the College was to set up a chat service with staff (eg a live enquiry service for the library), would you be likely to use it? “ I’d like to contact my dissertation supervisor in this way”
    10. 10. Blogs Do you read the subject blogs on Blackboard?
    11. 11. Blogs If you do, do you find the information provided for your subject area useful?
    12. 12. Blogs Do you read other blogs?
    13. 13. Blogs Do you have your own blog? “ I use my blog to stay in touch with friends and family at home”
    14. 14. Podcasts Do you listen to podcasts? “ What’s a podcast?”
    15. 15. Podcasts If you do, what device do you use to listen to them (tick as many as apply)?
    16. 16. Podcasts If the College provided teaching material as podcasts, would you be likely to listen? “ YES!!!!”
    17. 17. Mobile Phones Do you own a mobile phone? “ Mobile Phone(s)”
    18. 18. Mobile Phones If you do, as well as making calls, which of the following do you use your mobile for (tick as many as apply)?
    19. 19. Mobile Phones Would you be interested in receiving text alerts from the College with important messages from the library or your lecturers? “ Very much!” “ Not if it was to tell me I’m late for a lesson!”
    20. 20. Social Bookmarking Do you use any of the following services? “ Never heard of these!!!”
    21. 21. Miscellaneous Do you use Twitter?
    22. 22. Miscellaneous Do you use YouTube?
    23. 23. Conclusions <ul><li>Full Time students are slightly more engaged than the Part Time students, but it’s not a huge gap </li></ul><ul><li>Findings from ‘Miscellaneous’ group suggest that findings may be consistent across the College </li></ul><ul><li>There is evidence of a willingness to use these tools within an educational context </li></ul><ul><li>Not all services are as widely used as we’ve been led to believe </li></ul><ul><li>Focus group to explore further? </li></ul>