Starting as we mean to go on: Technology-rich Inquiry Based Learning in the first undergraduate year


Published on

Presented by Phiippa Levy and Sheila Webber (Information School, University of Sheffield) on 24th November 2010 at the Web 2.0 Untangled conference:

Published in: Education
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Starting as we mean to go on: Technology-rich Inquiry Based Learning in the first undergraduate year

  1. 1. Starting as we mean to go on: Technology-rich Inquiry Based Learning in the first undergraduate year Philippa Levy & Sheila Webber Information School University of Sheffield November 2010
  2. 2. Opening • We will focus on perspective of academics, as reflected in research articles about IBL – Librarians as educators do not feature much in these! • Also examples from Sheffield University • Not necessarily new types of technology, but thinking of their use in an IBL context (e.g. valuing the output of students‟ learning)
  3. 3. What is IBL? • A cluster of related pedagogies in which student inquiry or research drives the experience of learning and building knowledge ‘inquiry n: the action of seeking, especially (now always) for truth, knowledge or information concerning something; search, research, investigation, examination’ (COD)
  4. 4. • investigate questions & problems that often are open-ended • apply the principles and practices of scholarship or research in their academic or professional area • explore a knowledge-base actively, critically and creatively • participate in building new meaning and knowledge Designed around students engaging in a process of inquiry: they …
  5. 5. • encourages peer-to-peer collaboration, and partnership (students and staff) • provides support for inquiry in the form of activities, assessments, resources, facilitation, environments • provides guidance on relevant inquiry methods, including how to frame good questions • provides support for development of information literacy, critical thinking, self-reflection and other capabilities • creates opportunities for students to share the results of their inquiries with peers and others IBL …
  6. 6. students/tutors establish question, problem, theme students draw on their existing knowledge and, with support, decide on the direction and methods of their inquiry students explore evidence, interrogate texts, conduct experiments etc, interacting with information via a range of sources students reflect, discuss, critique, analyse, conceptualise, synthesise, create, receive feedback students communicate and share results of their inquiry
  7. 7. 7 Modes of IBL
  8. 8. Inquiry for Learning –„Identifying‟:Students explore a knowledge-base actively in response to questions, problems, scenarios or lines of inquiry framed by teachers (“what is the existing answer/response to this question?”) –„Pursuing‟: Students explore a knowledge-base actively by pursuing their own questions, problems, scenarios or lines of inquiry (“what is the existing answer/response to my question?”) 8
  9. 9. Inquiry for Knowledge Building –„Producing‟: Students explore open questions, problems, scenarios or lines of inquiry, framed by teachers or others such as an external „client‟, in interaction with a knowledge- base (“how can I answer this open question?”) –„Authoring‟: Students explore their own open questions, problems, scenarios or lines of inquiry, in interaction with a knowledge-base (“how can I answer my open question?”) 9
  10. 10. The student experience – themes from the literature • From the wider literature (see Healey and Jenkins 2009): – improved subject learning and grades – improved retention at university – intellectual and personal development (epistemological change, increases in confidence) – more independent thinking and working – changed conceptions of learning and teaching – better collegial relationships 10
  11. 11. The student experience – themes from the literature • From CILASS (Levy & Petrulis 2012) – approaches that allow students to formulate their own questions and lines of inquiry can be especially powerful – IBL with a knowledge-building orientation may powerfully support development of academic/professional identity, personal epistemology, self-belief 11
  12. 12. Some key challenges • Information anxiety and skills • Inquiry-framing • Direction-setting • Peer collaboration • Lack of self-belief (or converse!) • Limiting beliefs about knowledge and learning
  13. 13. 13 Inquiring students and Web 2.0 • Owning and directing their experience • Participating, collaborating, social networking • Producing and co-creating - generating, repurposing and sharing content • Accessing multiple sources • Using a wide variety of tools and environments • Creating personal learning networks and environments Source:
  14. 14. 14 Planning IBL Students Learning outcomes Inquiry theme Inquiry process Tasks Assessments Information Spaces Technologies Tutoring Peer-to-peer Dissemination From: The Sheffield Companion to IBL
  15. 15. Selected IBL elements: Level 1 BSc Information Management Sheila Webber, 2010 Problem: Is the “Google gen” really info illiterate? (Group work/Presentation) Learning about interviewing, data analysis & research ethics Semester 1 Data collection and analysis: interview on critical incident E-portfolio on IL Identify research question, carry out mini research project, group work Bibliography on IM topic Report on IM Support / supervision/ guests Semester 2 Steps in research process exercise Poster session & report E-portfolio NB does not cover all elements in teaching, learning & assessment! W e e k 1 W e e k 1 2 Cox et al (2008) Webber (2010)
  16. 16. Use of key technologies • WebCT: repository for knowledge base, interim store for knowledge creation, crude research tool (discussion board), crude tool for research project management • Second Life: site for pursuing new questions, stimulus to question their own conceptions, object of research, starting to be repository for knowledge base • Web: site(s) of exisiting knowledge; tools for collecting data (e.g. surveymonkey)
  17. 17. • Facebook: (likely) informal tool for project management, host for survey instruments, object of research • Mobile phones & IM “Initially we simply handed out phone numbers and communicated via text messaging, with some use of instant messaging conversations…” (student blog 2008, talking about working on their assessed mini-research project)
  18. 18. Sheila Webber, 2010 Short lecture and handout about interviewing Practice interviews in triads (interviewer, interviewee, observer) Practice interviews in triads in SL Research interviews in SL WebCT module Revised interview schedule Lecture, exercises, readings on information behaviour, data collection, ethics Individual feedback /communication: email, F2F, SL . FAQs etc Student‟s Assignment Assignment briefing Email, IM etc used to communicate with interviewees Handouts Discussions Presentations
  19. 19. Sheila Webber, 2010 Individual mindmap Group mindmap, presented and discussed in class Copycam Photographed & uploaded to WebCT Copycam WebCT aka “MOLE”
  20. 20. 20
  21. 21. Technology-rich IBL – what does the literature say?
  22. 22. Identifying existing knowledge base • Digital libraries • Webquests • Web 2.0 resources • Educator aggregating resources – Charlevoix et al (2009): videos, animations, podcasts etc. in VLE to support “severe weather” scenario • Librarians structuring & filtering resources, adding functionality which makes them suitable for inquiry • Advice/ support in aggregating material (mostly not “official” reusable learning objects)
  23. 23. Recommendations from research (Charlevoix et al) • Integrate f2f and online elements • Use f2f to build online activities completed out of class • Use existing multimedia related to discipline to the maximum • Encourage students to see links between online and f2f
  24. 24. Key issue • Balance between: – limiting resources student interacts with, so not too demanding; and – developing information literacy skills. • Evidence that, early on, academics tend to shield students from complexity of information environment; creating boundaries
  25. 25. Transition and inquiry “Approaches to supporting transition are linked to improving preparedness for HE, easing integration into the university environment - both academically and socially - and encouraging the development of the independent learner.” (Whittaker, 2008: 3) “Curriculum design should have a greater focus on the interactive dimensions of learning and the social experience of students, for example working in small groups and more enquiry-based and project work. It should also provide a more challenging learning experience to encourage greater engagement and the development of independent learning and high-level critical skills.” (Whittaker, 2008: 8).
  26. 26. Collaboration in inquiry • Students, or staff and students, collaborating to create resources – Drafting a wikipedia entry – Co-creating a resourse in a 1st year history class: tagging & describing resources; stickynoting; students setting questions. • Librarians providing advice and support as part of the community – Example of participation in the discussion board of 1st year module “Understanding Law” “I prefer setting the questions myself, mainly because it forces us to think about the issues in different ways; with the diigo site because people are reading sources in different ways so a wider range of issues comes up.” (Student, inWood, 2009)
  27. 27. Structuring inquiry Students carrying out their own inquiry, but guided by a structure • Webquest: step by step sequence • Learning Management Software: creating learning sequence to guide steps of inquiry • VLE templates for educators creating IBL Students observing “model” structure, to reflect on/ discuss in relation to their own inquiry • Online information literacy tutorials • 3D model of research steps in Second Life
  28. 28. Search and write Research steps in SL/
  29. 29. Project management • Project Management software • Computer-supported collaborative work environments (e.g. uSpace) • Web 2.0 tools used to support PM (e.g. blogs) • Librarians supporting and developing learners‟ PM skills, especially information management aspects
  30. 30. Technology facilitating authentic inquiry • Environment for data collection • Access to raw data • Tools to manipulate and analyse data • Librarians‟ role in information management, intellectual property issues, data quality issues
  31. 31. Creation & dissemination of output • Novel output from inquiry • Using technology to disseminate findings • Examples: Hypertext novels; Virtual exhibitions (web, Second Life); Videos on Youtube; Online journals • Librarians‟ support in using technologies to create/disseminate • Librarians‟ inclusion of student generated material in the library
  32. 32. communicating and authoring School of Law Information School from level 1
  33. 33. inquiry collaboratories Physical spaces for blended IBL
  34. 34. Concluding points • Technologies may integrate or fragment learning – Physical spaces may inhibit or enable this – Need to make link between f2f and online activities • Support in using technology vital: may overestimate learners‟ confidence & skill, f2f as well as online • Think of students as researchers from level 1: not just when postgrads • Need to involve information literacy themes and librarians as educators in IBL enhancement initiatives
  35. 35. Levy & Webber, 2010 Sheila Webber Twitter & SL: Sheila Yoshikawa Philippa Levy Pictures/ photos: Sheila Webber & CILASS
  36. 36. References • Bovill, C., Morss, K., Bulley, C. (2008) Quality Enhancement Themes: The First Year Experience: Curriculum design for the first year. Glasgow: QAA Scotland. (10) _final_report.pdf • Centre for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences. (2008) Inquiry-based Learning: a conceptual framework. Sheffield: CILASS. • Charlevoix, D.J. et al. Design and implementation of inquiry-based, technology-rich learning activities in a large enrolment blended learning course. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, 5(3) 15- 18. • Cox, A. et al. (2008) “Inquiry-based learning in the first-year Information Management curriculum.” Italics, 7 (1), 3-21 • Healey, M. & Jenkins, A. (2009). Developing Undergraduate research and Enquiry. York: Higher Education Academy. • Khan, P. and O´Rourke, K. (2005). “Understanding Enquiry-based Learning”, In: Barrett, T., Mac Labhrainn, I., Fallon, H. (eds), Handbook of Enquiry and Problem Based Learning. Galway: CELT. • Levy, P. & Nibbs, A. (in progress). Critical review and synthesis of the literature on technology-rich inquiry-based learning. Report to the Higher Education Academy.
  37. 37. References • Levy, P. & Nibbs, A. (in progress). Critical review and synthesis of the literature on technology-rich inquiry-based learning. Report to the Higher Education Academy. • Levy, P. & Petrulis, R. (2012). How do first-year students experience inquiry and research, and what are the implications for the practice of inquiry-based learning? Studies in Higher Education, 37(1). • Webber, S. (2010) “Investigating modes of student inquiry in Second Life as part of a blended approach.” International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 1 (3), 55-70. • Whittaker, R. (2008) Quality Enhancement Themes: The First Year Experience: Transition to and during the first year. Glasgow: QAA Scotland • Wood, J. (2009) “A question of taste.” Presented at the Learning Through Enquiry Alliance Conference 2009. taste-ltea-conference-2009-university-of-reading-jamie-wood • Yorke, M. and Longdon, B. (2008) The first-year experience of higher education in the UK: final report. York: HEA. eport.pdf
  38. 38. 38 for the ‘Sheffield Companion’ and other follow-up resources