E-learning and history
teaching in higher
education: A survey of
student experiences
and opinions
Dr Jamie Wood
University...
Introduction
• 2012-13: survey and desk research of staff and
student experiences and perceptions of e-learning
in History...
• What are benefits of e-
learning for student
learning and staff teaching
in History HE?
• What are the challenges
and dr...
METHODOLOGY
• Survey (http://tinyurl.com/8kkz524) administered to 1st and
2nd year students at 5 UK History departments
– ...
RESULTS (from students)
TYPES OF TECHNOLOGY USED
Virtual learning environments 37
Discussion boards 24
Video (YouTube etc....
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
HOW IMPORTANT ARE TECHNOLOGIES TO YOUR LEARNING?
(between 1 and 10, where 1=not at al...
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TECHNOLOGY FOR
LEARNING?
• Virtual learning environments (31 responses); used as:
– repository ...
Reported student uses of technology
Uses (activities/ purposes) Frequency Percentage of students
using technology for
this...
Virtual learning environments:
benefits and drawbacks: some quotes
Discussion boards are useful because they
make visible ...
‘The ability to hear historical speeches by
the original speechmaker, or to see
original newsreel clips is an essential pa...
EXTENT TO WHICH TECHNOLOGIES ENHANCED
LEARNING IN FOLLOWING AREAS...
(students provided rating from 1-5: 1=not at all; 5=a...
SKILLS DEVELOPED
Independent learning (29)
Research skills (20)
Communication (8)
Knowledge and understanding (8)
No skill...
NEGATIVE IMPACTS
• Technical issues
• Repositories are useful, but too much
reliance on them:
•‘sort of dumbing down or le...
Staff perspectives: potential positive
impacts of e-learning
• Enhancing communication due to (most) students’ familiarity...
Staff perspectives: some warnings
• Students are not necessarily ‘digital
natives’, esp. within discipline
• Researching u...
OVERALL SUMMARY
• Limiting features
• Consistency? ‘Getting all lecturers to embrace technology would be a step
forward‘
•...
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E-learning and history teaching in higher education

  1. 1. E-learning and history teaching in higher education: A survey of student experiences and opinions Dr Jamie Wood University of Lincoln Image: http://bit.ly/14ynKR3 Website: http://makingdigitalhistory.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/ Twitter: @woodjamie99
  2. 2. Introduction • 2012-13: survey and desk research of staff and student experiences and perceptions of e-learning in History teaching • HEA report, co-authored with Dr Antonella Liuzzo Scorpo, University of Lincoln (source of the word cloud on p. 1) – Questions and methodology – Overview – Skills and learning enhancement – Negative impacts/ difficulties – Staff perspectives – Summary
  3. 3. • What are benefits of e- learning for student learning and staff teaching in History HE? • What are the challenges and drawbacks of e- learning? E-learning and History teaching survey
  4. 4. METHODOLOGY • Survey (http://tinyurl.com/8kkz524) administered to 1st and 2nd year students at 5 UK History departments – 38 students responded (11 x 1st years/ 27 x 2nd years) – Mainly History, but also joint degrees • Interview with 1 member of teaching staff at 5 UK History departments
  5. 5. RESULTS (from students) TYPES OF TECHNOLOGY USED Virtual learning environments 37 Discussion boards 24 Video (YouTube etc.) 19 Audio (podcasts etc.) 12 Social networking (Facebook etc.) 8 Blogs 5 Collaborative document creation (Google docs etc.) 5 Document sharing (Dropbox etc.) 3 Wikis 2 Twitter 1 Photos (Flickr etc.) 1 Other 2
  6. 6. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 HOW IMPORTANT ARE TECHNOLOGIES TO YOUR LEARNING? (between 1 and 10, where 1=not at all; 10=essential) Frequency Rating (1-10)
  7. 7. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TECHNOLOGY FOR LEARNING? • Virtual learning environments (31 responses); used as: – repository (21 responses) – site for assessment and feedback (5) – means of communication (5) – site for enhancing learning (3): • ‘refreshing my memory’ • ‘enabled me to easily organise my learning’ • taking ‘own personal notes’ to learn by ‘observing things’ • YouTube/ online library resources/ databases/ university portal (2 responses each)
  8. 8. Reported student uses of technology Uses (activities/ purposes) Frequency Percentage of students using technology for this purpose Looking up lecture slides and handouts 38 100 Communication with other students (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, discussion boards) 21 55.3 Discussion 14 36.8 Communication with lecturers (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) 12 31.6 Sharing materials with fellow students and teachers 12 31.6 Constructing resources for myself or with other students (e.g. wikis, blogs) 7 18.4
  9. 9. Virtual learning environments: benefits and drawbacks: some quotes Discussion boards are useful because they make visible ‘the skills of other students’ ‘they also helped develop my interest and independent inquiry around the subject, as certain side topics were highlighted in the lecture notes in that they were more featured’ ‘with some modules, all readings were provided on blackboard so improved ease of access, and decreased the amount of time wasted looking for them.’ Repositories ‘helped me to become more independent as the access to the slides meant that I did not necessarily need to attend all lectures.’
  10. 10. ‘The ability to hear historical speeches by the original speechmaker, or to see original newsreel clips is an essential part of research of contemporary history.’ YouTube provides access to ‘better lectures’ and enhanced learning ‘tremendously’ ‘YouTube was more beneficial than writing reams of notes or revision prep and even attending lectures. The resources available on YouTube are vast and specific. I could easily find a video that was more specific if I want to delve into a particular area of study.’
  11. 11. EXTENT TO WHICH TECHNOLOGIES ENHANCED LEARNING IN FOLLOWING AREAS... (students provided rating from 1-5: 1=not at all; 5=a great deal) • Preparing for class: 4.26 (staff: 8.3/10) • Preparing for assessment: 4.26 (6.6/10) • Working independently: 4.05 (6.9/10) • Reflecting on learning: 4.03 (5.9/10) • Subject knowledge: 3.79 (6.9/10) • Skills development: 3.03 (5.2/10) • Collaborative working: 2.45 (3.1/10)
  12. 12. SKILLS DEVELOPED Independent learning (29) Research skills (20) Communication (8) Knowledge and understanding (8) No skills improvement (8) No response (7)
  13. 13. NEGATIVE IMPACTS • Technical issues • Repositories are useful, but too much reliance on them: •‘sort of dumbing down or levelling out [...] these things might encourage a bit more spoon-feeding’ (staff) • Some skills are not developed: •‘hasn’t really developed skills that I believe are essential part of uni process. i.e. teamwork, discussion and developing your own interest of study’ (student)
  14. 14. Staff perspectives: potential positive impacts of e-learning • Enhancing communication due to (most) students’ familiarity with technology and expectation that technology will be used in their learning. • Improving engagement by (1) providing information and skills to students who may be intimidated by more conventional academic environments; (2) enabling students who might not be comfortable with contributing to discussion in class to do so in an online environment; and (3) providing fora in which students can create, share and comment on resources. • Increasing flexibility because students can access materials away from campus. • Providing materials to students, often in advance of classes to facilitate preparation, thereby removing the problem of lack of access to hard-copy resources. • Enabling independent and self-directed learning because students can learn at their own time and pace. • Enriching the learning experience by providing access to multimedia resources.
  15. 15. Staff perspectives: some warnings • Students are not necessarily ‘digital natives’, esp. within discipline • Researching using the Internet is challenging • Over-reliance on e-learning can reduce independence • A ‘narrowing’ effect, esp. among 1st year and weaker students (the VLE repository contains ‘everything’) • Some resistance to learning activities outside classroom and to interacting with one another
  16. 16. OVERALL SUMMARY • Limiting features • Consistency? ‘Getting all lecturers to embrace technology would be a step forward‘ • Staff AND students think that it doesn’t help that much in certain areas (team- working; developing some skills) • Narrowing/ a closed body of knowledge? Esp. for weaker students perhaps • Can promote teacher-centred/ transmission approaches • Virtual learning environments predominate and (along with other technologies) are viewed positively by students and staff • BUT danger of ‘miscommunication’ • Independent learning and research skills vs. ease of access to resources
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