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NET 2011: Widening online engagement with courses: enhancing the student experience?

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  • 1. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And MidwiferyWidening onlineengagement with courses:enhancing the studentexperience? Dr Tony Blackett (Senior Lecturer) Mr James Little (Learning Technologist)07/07/2012
  • 2. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And Midwifery Online Masters programmes • Students located anywhere in the world • Programmes studied part time • All course materials available online • All course communication online • A virtual learning environment (such as Blackboard) brings all facilities togetherMaster of Midwifery Masters in Advanced Nursing Studies07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 3. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And MidwiferyFull time students based in Sheffield: * Post Graduate Diploma in Nursing * BMedSci in Health & Human Sciences What manner of online course support do they expect / need?07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 4. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And Midwifery Expectations of digital technology• Is it about added value or cost saving?• Is it to do different things or the same thingsdifferently?• Is it a benefit to replace paper-based methods?• Do different groups feel ‘ownership’ of the system?• Is a feeling of ‘ownership’ necessary?• Does it play a social as well as academic role?• Do staff and students have the same expectations? 07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 5. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And Midwifery Alternative 1 Alternative 2• MOLE - a rebranded • uSpace - a ‘social version of Blackboard media’ system• More structured • Less structured• Less flexible • More flexible• Controlled centrally • User controlled• Allows dissemination • Allows dissemination of materials and of materials and communication communication 07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 6. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And Midwifery Course homepage on MOLE*07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield * = MyOnlineLearningEnvironment
  • 7. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And Midwifery uSpace – ‘social media’07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 8. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And MidwiferyUser Groups:• BMedSci 2009 cohort – MOLE users• BMedSci 2010 cohort – uSpace users• PGDip 2010 cohort – MOLE users• PGDip 2011 cohort – uSpace users• Staff – users of both systemsViews obtained through focus groups and individual interviews07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 9. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And MidwiferyFindings: Familiarity with technology• All student groups were conversant with digital technology• Older students on PGDip had recent University experience and were ‘up to speed’• Student groups familiar with PC/mobile phones/social media – sometimes too familiar (e.g. texting in class!)• Staff often felt one step behind…. We are the mouse generation! 07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 10. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And MidwiferyFindings: Communication via uSpace • All bar two of the PGDip 2010 group were Facebook users (the other two soon gave in and joined up) • Unfavourable comparisons were made with uSpace • Facebook was considered preferable on grounds of speed, flexibility and convenience • When snow brought about University closure in Dec 2010 Facebook spread the message and saved the day We use Facebook. This isn’t Facebook! 07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 11. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And MidwiferyFindings: Communication via MOLE• The online masters programmes rely on MOLE entirely for all communication between student groups and with staff• Student groups who meet together on a regular basis do not need to use such a system and prefer flexibility of other technologies (often texting) when they need to make contact• Even nursing students on clinical placements were not convinced that this was the best way to communicate with classmates and found alternatives Why would I want to? 07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 12. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And Midwifery Findings: Documents via uSpace• Not easy to find correct uSpace area• By default all uSpace groups freely accessible to whole campus• Easy for staff or students to upload documents• Not so easy for anyone (staff or students) to find them subsequently• Retrieval requires a search based on Finding things is filename – which may not be a real pain in the sufficiently descriptive / unique ‘posterior’! 07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 13. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And Midwifery Findings: Documents via MOLE• The structured nature of the environment means documents can be added to a specific labelled area, where they can always be found• Some staff members find it hard to upload material (too ‘techy’) and prefer to use the services of a ‘third party’ At least I know where to look for things. 07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 14. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And Midwifery Findings: What do students want?• Students expect to have timely access to lecture notes / slideshows, timetables, handbooks, readings lists etc.• They want a system that allows rapid, easy and reliable access to materials• They do NOT want another way of communicating with their class and/or tutors as they have other (better) ways of doing that• ‘Ownership’ of the system does not I just need to appear to be a live issue get my hands on the information! 07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 15. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And MidwiferyHe who pays the piper calls the tune… From 2012/13 we will be piping for students who will be paying us directly and at a level where they will expect us to play tunes the way they want to hear them! 07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 16. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And Midwifery Findings: Student views of paying £9000pa fees from 2012/13• Students’ expectations are likely to rise commensurate with the rate of the fees increase• Academic inefficiency and lack of professionalism will not be tolerated in a competitive commercial marketplace• Added value must be provided to justify increased expenditure and ensure If I were paying the ‘customers’ are satisfied that much I wouldn’t expect to print my own lecture notes as well! 07/07/2012 © The University of Sheffield
  • 17. The School Of www.sheffield.ac.uk/snm/online Nursing And Midwifery Thank you for your attention!ToDiscoverAndUnderstand.