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Role play case study

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'Case study' presentation created for the University of Aberdeen PGCert Higher Education Teaching and Learning, e-Learning Module. October 2012

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Role play case study

  1. 1. The ‘Quality in Further Education’Role Play activity‘Case study’ prepared for the University of AberdeenPGCert Higher Education Teaching and Learning - e-Learning Module.Based on a slides originally prepared by Sarah Cornelius, CaroleGordon and Margaret Harris (University of Aberdeen) for apresentation given at the SOLSTICE conference, Edge Hill University,2010
  2. 2. What is online role play? http://www.uow.edu.au/cedir/enrole/index.html
  3. 3. Examples of online role plays:Riddle, 2009 ‘The Campaign’ – political advisors and journalists in last four weeks of election campaign (used email)Jordan, 2009 Role play for construction law – used wikis and forums forcollaborative problem solvingGao, et al., 2009 Undertook a comparison of face to face and second life role plays on concepts of motivationKeeffe and Austin, 2012 – Educational inclusion role play – participantsclarify and resolve the implications of an administrative decision tosuspend a student with Asperger’s from school. Used webconferencing for briefing/de briefing, anonymous onlinediscussions for activity
  4. 4. ‘Quality in FE’ Role PlayCourse context: - Teaching Qualification Further Education (TQFE) - Adult work-based learners - Blended programme – role play delivered as an online workshop - Small groups (approx.15 students/tutor)
  5. 5. The Scenario: You have been invited to join a working group to consider issues of quality in your College. You are about to have your first meeting and at this meeting you need to consider what quality is and what it means in your College.• Design principles: – Real time – over a 2 hour period – Authentic activity – which reflects an issue of genuine concern and discussion within FE, virtual working and online meetings are also feature of many professional contexts – Anonymity – participants are identifiable only as their roles to allow for free and frank discussion – Familiar technology – uses online discussions in institutional VLE with which participants are familiar.
  6. 6. The Roles:Student – an elected representative from the students’associationTutor – an elected representative from the teaching staff in theCollege StudentSupport staff – you can choose whether to be a janitor,librarian, learning support advisor, member of cleaning staff orany other support role. You are an elected representative ofthe support staffManager – a member of the senior management team with aninterest in qualityCollege manager Lecturer Support staff – e.g. receptionist, janitor, librarian
  7. 7. ProcessTutor allocates participants to roles and groups (min group size 4 – if larger increase number of each role attending meeting)Task 1: Participants post an opening statement on their view of quality from their role’s perspectiveTask 2: Participants read and comment on other postings – ask questions, discuss etc.Task 3: Participants reflect on their opening position – has it shifted in response to the discussions?Task 4: (if in a large group) – participants visit another discussion and compare issues etc.Taks 5: Participants post ‘out of role’ reflections on the role play and the experience of online interaction. Tutor summarises, suggests next steps etc.
  8. 8. Implementation:anonymousWebCT discussion(now usingBlackboard discussionForums)
  9. 9. Research• Qualitative investigative approach – Analysis of transcripts of role play discussions by three researchers: 455 messages 36 students 7 role play groups – Semi structured interviews with 8 student volunteers• Findings related to role engagement, anonymity and authenticity presented here
  10. 10. Role engagementWere roles played effectively online?Generally yes… “[other people played their roles] brilliantly [...] everyone took their roles really seriously […] it almost felt you were speaking to the actual people”
  11. 11. Good morning […] it is clearly important as management that we ensure that standards are maintained… College managers: Formal language, Lecturers: use of ‘we’ educational jargonEvidence …surely their [sic] should be differentiation- Voices there is nothing worse than being talked at for hours at a time!!! BORING Students: informal I am off for a smoke to think about my thoughts, will be back in 5 to let you knowSupport staff: varied
  12. 12. What helped ‘performance’?• familiarity with the role• direct questions to individuals – “As a tutor, I would like to ask a manager how they believe that they can measure the quality of their lecturer through their training”• exchanges with others – “the questions or the responses that were coming back […] made you think ‘well no, I’m going to defend my college’” – “the responses of others in real time helped as they made me respond as if I was a janitor”• visualisation of real or imagined events
  13. 13. What hindered engagement?Technical/navigation issues - “Help, I’m lost, which group am I in?”Pace - reading/typing speedPossible playing out of real life power relationships - “My comments were passed by the others as not important” (domestic) - “I was only really speaking to the librarian. The lecturer or the Principal never came into that line of conversation. I didn’t have a real place in the conversation” (janitor)
  14. 14. Real Anonymity?• Generally accepted that anonymity was not ‘real’, but had an impact: – “I didn’t care who the other member of the team was that I was responding to because I was just responding to them as a job title and not as a person within our group” – “I think I would have given my comments even if it was face-to-face […] but [anonymity] made it interesting”
  15. 15. The anonymity ‘challenge’ – “I…worked out who some people were based on their comments. The manager I instantly worked out” – “I had guessed one of them…but the others I was quite happy not to know who they were”• Known peers may affect voice – “If its someone you know well you’re trying to be humourous with them, and if it’s someone you don’t know so well you’re probably being a bit more formal”• But some mysteries remained – “I didn’t try to find out, but I would have liked to know who the jannie […] was”
  16. 16. Authenticity• Is the activity realistic? – Online meetings do take place – “If everyone is engaged it makes it more real”• Backstage communication? – “There was someone in the same workroom, but in a different [role play] group. She was laughing at what she was reading, and I was laughing at what I was reading. But we weren’t communicating with each other at all”
  17. 17. Effectiveness• Appreciation of different perspectives – “[I now realise] how little I understood about the role before I started” – “The role play makes you realise the complexity of challenges for individual posts and how quality threads through all areas of the college.”• Application of process – “We’ve done two [similar online role play activities with our own students]”
  18. 18. What does this tell us?• Effective role engagement in online role- play is facilitated by: – Familiar roles – Discourse with other roles in real-time – Anonymity• Barriers to engagement include – Technical/navigational issues – Lack of engagement of others – Pace of real-time activity
  19. 19. ReferencesGao F, Noh, J J and Koehler M J (2009) Comparing role-playing activities in second life and face-to-face environments. Journal of Interactive Learning Research 20(4) 423-443Jordan, L (2009) Using online role-play to assess distance learning students in construction law. CEBE Case Study http://www.cebe.heacademy.ac.uk/learning/casestudies/case_pdf/LindsayJKeeffe M and Austin L (2012) Reciprocity, the rascal of resolution: collaborative problem solving in an online role play. Proceedings of CSEDU’11 pp252-257Riddle M D (2009) The Campaign: a case study in identity construction through performance. ALT-J 17(1) 63-72Sarah Corneliuss.cornelius@abdn.ac.ukSeptember 2012

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