User generated content


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Lagarto, J. (2012). User Generated Content - a path or a resource for learning?. In T. Amiel & B. Wilson (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2012 (pp. 2019-2024). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved from

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User generated content

  1. 1. User Generated Content - a path or a resource for learning? 1 José Reis Lagarto Faculdade de Ciências Humanas Universidade Católica Portuguesa AbstractIn this article is described an experience done in a class of post-graduation students that used a User GeneratedContent (UGC) strategy through their course for achieve their learning. This case study was used as pilot experiencein a European project - Concede (Content Creation Excellence through Dialogue in Education).The project deals with the content generated by users in Higher Education and its impact in learning.The concept of UGC used in Concede project is initially discussed, and all the steps conducting to the finalevaluation are described here.A set of activities were proposed to 14 students, grouped in 3 different groups. They should analyse, collect andmanage information in order to produce a blog, a presentation and an eleaning course on the subject of “Safety andInternet”.The subject was not well known by students (teachers of basic and secondary schools in continuous training).The ICT tools proposed neither. So it was a big challenge for the major part of them and, at the end, their conclusionwas that this approach to learning is much more frightening but effective than others that they have experienced.Key words: user generated contents, elearning, ICT in educationIntroductionThe User Generated Content is a concept, now being studied, but is widely used in schools, without which it hasgiven a specific name. The awareness that one learns better when it does something turns out to be the startingpoint for the analysis of this learning strategy.In order to study and understand the importance that today has the use of UGC in higher education was designed theCONCEDE, an European project that associates a set of European institutions related on higher education,professional training and content production.With the so called web2.0 there is a huge amount of information available and the old paradigm of teaching andlearning should shift. People are not anymore only consumers but, in general, they are able to produce their owninformation. These possibilities are quite interesting but bring a new kind of problems related on credibility of data,intellectual property rights, piracy and other related issues.So, if we speak about user generated contents within a HE context we should take care of all these problems around."Content is generally viewed as something that learners need to cognitively consume in order to learn. Here, insidethis concept, content can be created through the process of learning, not only in advance of learning" (Siemens, G.&Tittenberger, P. 2009. p.2).ConceptIn general, UGC is all kind of content design and created by users. Anyway some conditions exist to consider thecontent produced as a real UGC.OCDE (2007) proposes a broad definition, having in mind three dimensions: - Publication and sharing - the content has to be on a public accessible website or on a page on a social networking site accessible to a select group of people; Lagarto, J. (2012). User Generated Content - a path or a resource for learning?. In T.1Amiel & B. Wilson (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia,Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2012 (pp. 2019-2024). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.Retrieved from 1
  2. 2. - Creative effort - users must make a certain effort to create or recreate content and add their own value to it; - Creation outside of professional routines and practices: UGC is created within a non-professional context without expectation of remuneration or profit.This definition allows saying that the following examples are UGC: blogs, wikis, social network sites, videos, videogames, different websites of knowledge sharing, etc.For the Concede consortium UGC was defined as content that is created and shared freely by University studentsand/or teachers and has not been done through a process of formal peer review.This definition of UGC allows us to design strategies related to much more the process and not in the final products.The important here, when using UGC concept or methodolgy, it is not really the content, but the path, strategies,activities and other work that leads to learning achievementThe learning is achieved by users during all the building processes of the content, from the research phase till thepresentation to the class, for evaluation purposes.ObjectivesWhen the UGC is used as strategy for learning, the teacher assumes a constructivist approach for the learning of hisstudents. This approach can be seen in an individual way or using also collaborative ways for produce learning.So, learning by doing, learning by solving problems, learning by design and create contents are a very importantway to improve knowledge. When these strategies are implemented, the student feels more confident and morecomfortable in their work and the learning is more effective.The activity of content generation should have a permanent evaluation that can be done in a formative way, bypeers. In the case of students work, this evaluation should be done by the teacher and by the classmates.At the end of building process, the presentation, analysis and evaluation of the UGC should be done in face to facesessions. Peers and teachers should discuss the results having in mind the initial framework proposed.Strategies of UGC developmentIn this section we present the strategy used in this case study, within a class of 14 post-graduation students inEducational Sciences, in Portuguese Catholic University.The subject used for the case study was "Safety in Internet".The development of overall strategy is based on different phases, setting the scene, individual research and posting,production of a structured document, development of training elearning course and evaluationPhase one - Setting the sceneThe development of UGC in a Higher Education environment can be designed using proposals of work whereobjectives, resources and time allocated are clearly identified and discussed with the students.A short example is shown in Figure 2Figure 2. Figure 1 - Activities proposed to students in the subject “Safety in Internet” 2
  3. 3. Phase 2 - Individual research and posting on blogIn a period of one month time the students should develop the following activities: research in different sources of information ; reading and comment the colleagues posts in the blog; Post on the blog the adequate information, having in consideration the posts already made by other colleagues and produced comments related on other previous posts.This phase can be represented by Figure 2 , where some different sources of information are represented, collectedby students and placed in blogs, for collaborative learning process. Figure 2 – information circuit on phase 2 of UGC building processPhase 3 - Production of one written synthesis and one presentation covering all collected informationAfter finishing their work in blog, two activities should be done by students. One of them is the writing of a shortpaper with about 400 words, with a synthesis of the contents collected and placed on blog. The other is apresentation, on suitable software, with the main ideas of content collected in research period.On the face to face session, each group should present their work that would be commented by other colleagues,having in mind always the formative aspect of evaluation done by all, including the teacher.Phase 4 - Design and production of an elearning course using the content collected by all the classAt the end of semester, while two groups discussed on forum the characteristics, uses and practices of LearningManagement Systems (LMS), one of the groups, using the materials collected and posted in the three blogs designedand produced an elearning course.This course was designed for three different target publics - the users of “school arena”: teachers, students andparents.The course was put available one week before from its formal presentation to the class, in a special face to facesession.Phase 5 - Evaluation momentsThe design and production of UGC in this case study has no formal assessment by peers, as the definition ofConcede implies. However there was formative evaluation in all development phases.The teacher and students must to post comments in the blog and some of them had an evaluation profile. On the faceto face session for presentation of blogs, the students and the teacher should comment the results.At end of the semester students are asked to fulfil a short questionnaire which intended to measure their satisfactionlevel in different categories of analysis. 3
  4. 4. ResultsThe answers got from the inquiry show us that the most important issues are those related on perceptions thatstudents have about their own learning in new contents and in a new context - when using a methodology based ondesign and analysis of user generated contents.The questionnaire has three different categories of analysis, and the global results are described below. Theevaluation scale is: 1. Strongly disagree 2. Disagree 3. Neither agree nor disagree, 4. Agree 5. Completely agreeCategory one – Evaluating personal and group work on research, analysis and posting of selected content on theblog (one of the tools available in Blackboard, official LMS of course). Figure 3 - Evaluating personal and group work on research, analysis and posting of selected content on the blogStudents strongly agree that this topic (Safety in Internet) was not enough known by them, even if the subject issometimes discussed on schools and media. The research in different sources of information give students a widervision of the problems related to subject. They have also a strong feeling about the quality of their own work.Category 2 - Evaluating the level of knowledge that resulted from the presentations of groups Figure 4 - Evaluating the level of knowledge that resulted from the presentations of groupsStudents strongly agree that the proposed tasks allow a better understanding of the problems around a safe use ofInternet. 4
  5. 5. Category 3 - Evaluation of the final product - elearning coursesThe final task proposed – an elearning course - was designed only by one of the groups. At the end, the other groupsmade a quite positive evaluation on the final face to face presentation.However, and having a look to the quiz answers, as the experimental group had access to all the blogs, it is not clearthat the content used in the courses contains pieces of material collected by all three groups.The other aspects – objectives, learning strategies, contents, activities were rated mainly with a strongly agree level. Figure 5 - Evaluation of the final product - elearning coursesAs the evaluation process of Curricular Unit, the students were invited to write a short comment about themethodology used in this learning methodology.Some samples can be seen below. I am tremendous sure I can say that," although along the way have not seen, I was walking” "Some time ago one of my teachers told me: "In the middle of a forest, all trees are equal and we do not know where to go, you need to get away from the forest to see where we are and where we go " Well, thats how I saw all the modules of this subject. I was doing task after task, and everything looked the same and more of the same. The truth is that I look back and say: I can do a portfolio, I can do a site; participate in a community know operational work (maybe even create one) know to use the LMS or blogs, and it all seemed like for half a year. It was necessary a task of self-assessment to see what I learned. Nelson AlmeidaI believe that the themes were relevant and serve the objectives underlying their teaching. To engagein a privileged position in which the autonomy and collaborative construction of responses, the processes of e-learning were actually experienced. By appreciating research, integration of knowledge, encouragingcooperation and development of basic skills, the instructional teaching model was rejected. Antonio Gomes Particularly as I am concerned, and taking into account that I started this subject unfamiliar with most of the content taught and associated vocabulary, having never participated in elearning training, I think has been very important and beneficial collaborative work achieved in the group to build new practical knowledge of ICT. The following themes and activities, including sharing of research / knowledge in forums and blogs then submitting their abstracts to classes, provided a useful experience to promote desirable learning "socio-constructivist” advocated by founder of Moodle, Martin Dougiamas. Elisabete MartinsSometimes, a learning opportunity is not only valid for the content they transmit, butespecially by causing restlessness. Much of what was said was not for me, nothing new- I always liked to 5
  6. 6. browse and discover, while acknowledging that several limitations lead me often just to paddle around - but therewas too much new information I find useful, especially as there is exhausted in itself but rather lead to newresearch and new discoveries, such as Web 2.0 tools, a world of innovation and creative possibilities.Maria BarbaraConclusionsThe UGC should be considered as a process much more than a product. What is interesting and important forlearning is the adoption of a constructivist approach and the effectiveness of learning outcomes. In the describedcase study all the work was done in a collaborative way what was a very significant experience for the majority ofthe students involved in the course.The quality of the final products, the reusability that they offer, their suitability to be used in next courses, as initialproposal for new user generated content is something very useful. The students of next courses, even using the samestrategy of UGC, have available an initial database of information that allow them to work on content in a moredeeply way.The concept of UGC, having in mind the definitions used in Concede project and OCDE (2007) can be applied indifferent kind of organizations. We have seen throughout the 5 different Concede pilot projects in HE institutionsdifferent shapes, characteristics, formats, dimensions, strategies, field of knowledge, and so on.These experiences allow us to say that experimentation can be imported by other educational or training institutions.But if we think in a more general application, it’s possible to use the concept in different levels of education andtraining. Such as:  Basic and secondary schools  Training institutions  Technical schools  Training of teachers and trainer’s organizations  Learning enterprisesThe use the UGC concept is based on some existing conditions inside each organization, some of them listed below:  The UGC is part of pedagogical framework of organizations - The use of UGC concept implies a specific teaching strategy, not always possible to use in certain contexts.  The existence of teachers and/or trainers with skills to use this methodology – to use this methodology the teacher much act much more as knowledge manager than a teacher centred oriented.  Time enough to use this methodology – using the UGC concept time to teach is not the same as in tradition classes. We need more time to complete learning cycles. However it is clear from the results of pilots that the effective learning occurs.  The existence of a virtual repository, where products should be available for – the organization can’t use a UGC methodology without to have a repository, able to receive products.A final word for the relationship between UGC and the Open Educational Resources should be given.Thousands of academic works, done by students when using UGC strategies, in intentional or not intentional way,are lost every year only because teachers and students don’t think in their reusability. If the UGC is placed in anavailable repository it becomes an OER and will be available to be used by others students and teachers next years.The door is open for a more effective learning by using and reusing learning objects.BibliographyAuvinen, A.-M., Ehlers, U. (2008). Quality Management of Peer Production, Handbook version 1.0Concede project – http://www.concede.ccCrispin Dale, Ghislane Povey (2009). An evaluation of learner-generated content and podcasting, http://www- J. W. Lee, Catherine McLoughlin (2007). Teaching and Learning in the Web 2.0 Era: Empowering Students through Learner-Generated Content., accessed 01.12.2011 6
  7. 7. OECD (2007). Participative Web and User-Created Content: Web 2.0, Wikis and Social Networking, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264037472-enSiemens, G., Tittenberger, P. (2009). Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning. accessed 1.12.2011 7