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Journeys in Peer E-communication:  Student mentors’ perspectives Heather Conboy,  [email_address]   Richard Hall (rhall1@d...
CoTIL project: headlines <ul><li>HEA e-Learning Research Observatory </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges of transitions: adapting...
Borders and boundaries: Giroux the concept of borders provides a continuing and crucial referent for understanding the co-...
Ravensbourne, 2008
 
Mentoring: research questions <ul><li>What strategies were deployed by students in the use of technologies for personal, s...
Mentoring: research methods <ul><li>Humanities: 24 mentors and 130 first year mentees from Education Studies and Media Stu...
Mentor’s view Uniquely placed ‘ It is useful to have the experience of an older person who is going through the motions of...
Selection of technologies: mentor hopes <ul><li>Mentors : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>considered themselves conversant with web-...
Selection of technologies: mentor frustrations <ul><li>communication with students depended on their continually prompting...
 
So, institutional or social tools? <ul><li>VLE = familiarity; ‘legitimate’ activity; administrative convenience.  </li></u...
Mentor issues <ul><li>The lack of first-year student responses was due to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a lack of interest; </li>...
Social networking: walled garden  (Economist, 2008)
Matters arising <ul><li>Social engagement and affective learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;it has been very rewarding fo...
Some references:  <ul><li>Anagnostopoulou, K. and Parmar, D. (2008) Practical Guide: bringing together e-learning and stud...
Licensing This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England &...
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Journeys in Peer E-communication: Student mentors’ perspectives

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Presentation made at iPed 09 on 15 September 2009, about: our transitions, socialmdia and independent learning in HE project. See http://bit.ly/zzcxr

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Journeys in Peer E-communication: Student mentors’ perspectives

  1. 1. Journeys in Peer E-communication: Student mentors’ perspectives Heather Conboy, [email_address] Richard Hall (rhall1@dmu.ac.uk, @hallymk1)‏ International iPED Conference, University of Coventry, 14-16 September, 2009
  2. 2. CoTIL project: headlines <ul><li>HEA e-Learning Research Observatory </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges of transitions: adapting to cultural and academic expectations; socialisation; contact with significant others; moments in time </li></ul><ul><li>The impact of read/write web technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Expand pedagogic borders beyond the classroom, campus and VLEs; radical or progressive pedagogies </li></ul><ul><li>Connectivism and personalisation - mentors rather than management </li></ul>
  3. 3. Borders and boundaries: Giroux the concept of borders provides a continuing and crucial referent for understanding the co-mingling-sometimes clash-of multiple cultures, languages, literacies, histories, sexualities, and identities. Thinking in terms of borders allows one to critically engage the struggle over those territories, spaces, and contact zones where power operates to either expand or to shrink the distance and connectedness among individuals, groups, and places
  4. 4. Ravensbourne, 2008
  5. 6. Mentoring: research questions <ul><li>What strategies were deployed by students in the use of technologies for personal, social and academic purposes? </li></ul><ul><li>What were the student experiences of using these technologies? </li></ul><ul><li>What attributes of the technologies did they relate to particular mentee responses? </li></ul><ul><li>What type of independent study skills were developed by mentors? </li></ul>
  6. 7. Mentoring: research methods <ul><li>Humanities: 24 mentors and 130 first year mentees from Education Studies and Media Studies. </li></ul><ul><li>13 mentor logs of student communication identified: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>approximate times of communication; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the rationale for the use of specific technologies; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>any perceived benefits and disadvantages. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The research was based on action research with participants, in order to offer insight for future enhancements and development. </li></ul><ul><li>20 students provided verbal feedback in mentor-mentee meetings and focus groups </li></ul>
  7. 8. Mentor’s view Uniquely placed ‘ It is useful to have the experience of an older person who is going through the motions of University life too .’ Identify with transition and first year expectations. ‘ Guidance and understanding, as we have been through, what they are going through.’ Endorse University values ‘ The role of the mentor is to assist and guide, but not to give answers. You can offer mentees the step in the right direction with their academic work. Signpost to services and support ‘ Provide information on how to find things and where to go for help.’ Humanising the ‘face ‘ of the University ‘ An informal channel to help them settle in to University and with any problems they are having.’ It can be easier to seek advice from a fellow student than from a lecturer.’
  8. 9. Selection of technologies: mentor hopes <ul><li>Mentors : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>considered themselves conversant with web-based technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>felt themselves to be good 'on-line social networkers‘ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>asked to have an area for communication set up on the VLE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ a positive sign of [our] legitimate role within the institution” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>act “based on the response we got from our mentees” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I let my mentees decide which form of communication to use. I offered many choices but the mentees felt more comfortable using [face-to-face, student email and VLE]”. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. Selection of technologies: mentor frustrations <ul><li>communication with students depended on their continually prompting </li></ul><ul><li>“ training on how to access it and use it to their advantage” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I think first year students should be encouraged to check their email and blackboard accounts more often, as I know this was something I didn't realise the importance of upon beginning university” </li></ul><ul><li>“ because our Facebook group had been successful we decided to stick with one community to communicate” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Nobody wants to be first to write on the discussion board” </li></ul>
  10. 12. So, institutional or social tools? <ul><li>VLE = familiarity; ‘legitimate’ activity; administrative convenience. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This preference related more to the mentors' intentions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social tools = chatty and informal; can be more critical. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ it was important that the mentees did not feel intimidated by the scheme, which was why we decided to use Facebook” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tap into & build social capital - facebook </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No greater engagement from mentees using social tools. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ as time went by without contact we resorted to any methods available” [brief but not “meaningful engagement”] </li></ul></ul>
  11. 13. Mentor issues <ul><li>The lack of first-year student responses was due to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a lack of interest; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an inability to formulate useful academic questions and queries; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a lack of recognition of the role that mentors could play; or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ they were being lazy”. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An element of mentor-desperation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issues are not technological; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First-year students did not take advantage of opportunities; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perceived to be the failure of the mentees to appreciate the good advice; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A rejection of opportunities to learn independently </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefits should be more widely disseminated and impressed. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 14. Social networking: walled garden (Economist, 2008)
  13. 15. Matters arising <ul><li>Social engagement and affective learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;it has been very rewarding for me, knowing that I have eased other peoples fears with regard to all aspects of the course.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Boundaries: mentors as stakeholders in an institutional scheme. However, being linked to the ‘institution’ might deter mentees from participating, and this impacted their selection of technologies. </li></ul><ul><li>Mentors having to ‘push’ their services and expertise/ lack of reciprocity. </li></ul><ul><li>More structured and earlier training, including on creating and maintaining communities, and emphasising the benefits for mentees. </li></ul>
  14. 16. Some references: <ul><li>Anagnostopoulou, K. and Parmar, D. (2008) Practical Guide: bringing together e-learning and student retention, Middlesex University & University of Ulster, http://www.ulster.ac.uk/star/ </li></ul><ul><li>Broad, J. (2006) ‘Interpretations of independent learning in further education’, Journal of Further and Higher Education 30(2), 119-43. </li></ul><ul><li>Giroux, H. A. (2005) Border crossings: cultural workers and the politics of education (2 nd edn.) Oxon: Routledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Glasgow Caledonian University (2008) Learning from Digital Natives Project, HEA, http://www.academy.gcal.ac.uk/ldn/ </li></ul><ul><li>Green, H. & Hannon, C. (2007) Their space: Education for a digital generation. London: DEMOS. </li></ul><ul><li>Ravensbourne (2008), Learner Integration : http://bit.ly/7o84r </li></ul><ul><li>University of Ulster (2008) Student Transition And Retention Project. http://www.ulster.ac.uk/star/index.htm </li></ul><ul><li>Yorke, M and Longden, B. (2008) The first-year experience of higher education in the UK (Phase 2), HEA. http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/resources/publications/FYEFinalReport.pdf </li></ul>
  15. 17. Licensing This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales license See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/

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