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We intend to present a study that is being developed with part-time students from higher education on approaches to increase the collaborative work between students, and to enhance their research skills. The methodology we are evaluating is designed around features of web 2.0 (particularly Diigo and Second Life) which offer some benefits for deeper collaboration. The target group are students from the 1st year of an Education and Multimedia Communication Course. One group of students are in full-time education (undergraduates) and a second group are mature students in part-time education. Both groups are engaged on an identical course.
The method begins with the teacher setting the class a challenge. Students are then invited to research the question and post whatever links/documents they consider relevant using a Diigo group, and comment on what they find (using the share and comment capabilities). The task for students is to write an article about the topic based on their research, readings and discussions. To facilitate the development of a shared understanding the students post information and participate in virtual on-line meetings (Second Life). The use of web2.0 technologies allows students to participate in richer interactions at times that are more convenient to their work/study patterns. This paper will discuss preliminary finding from this project and analyse its use in similar educational contexts.
Ana Loureiro, David Wood & Teresa Bettencourt