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The online academic book club


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An Academic Literacies perspective on a social bookmarking case study

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The online academic book club

  1. 1. The online academic bookclub: sharing reading notes with social bookmarking software Institute of Education, London Academic Literacies Seminar 17 June 2011 Florence Dujardin Sheffield Hallam University
  2. 2. Abstract <ul><li>Student reading involves a set of practices is usually hidden from the lecturers' gaze. If students are e-learners who never meet on campus, there is usually no opportunity to compare notes with fellow students, so reading is usually a solitary task with little potential for a social dimension. Social bookmarking could change this. </li></ul><ul><li>To make reading practices explicit and visible, and therefore amenable to tutor support, social bookmarking was introduced on an online Master's course. Diigo software was used: like other social bookmarking applications it enables students to store and share weblinks to readings; it also enables them to discuss views in threaded discussions. A pedagogical approach based on an AL model (Lea 2004) was adopted to shape a learning task: students were required to share reading notes that fed into the writing of an end-of-module literature review. This allows them to disclose not just their views about academic texts, but also their (sometimes mixed) feelings about these texts. The outcome of the social bookmarking task was a 'social' annotated bibliography, which was assessed against three criteria (number of entries, quality of comments, and sociability) and received up to 10% of the module mark. </li></ul><ul><li>The written nature of interaction in social bookmarking meant that it was possible to capture the student voice, their 'talk about texts', in a semi-formal environment. Following Lea 2007, the research considers inter-textuality (hyperlinks, cross-references), stance and hedging, and social presence, and the role that each plays in shaping a space for meaning making. It suggests that social bookmarking has a real potential in reshaping familiar reading practices and make them visible to students, lecturers and researchers alike. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Reading <ul><li>Campus students </li></ul><ul><li>E-learners </li></ul>
  4. 4. Outline <ul><li>Context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online MA course </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A problem with a module </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Creating an online book club with social bookmarking </li></ul><ul><li>Students’ online work </li></ul><ul><li>Value for an AL pedagogy </li></ul>
  5. 5. Context <ul><li>Post 1992-university </li></ul><ul><li>MA programme in professional communication (MAPPC) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Four courses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared modules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Module with low average grade </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Start with the e-learners <ul><li>Professional communicators </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mature students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most have degrees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write for a living and are ICT savvy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Digital immigrants’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A deficit view, untrue for MAPPC students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Transferability of ICT skills (collaboration, security, etc) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University response to social media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement issue – not relevant for mature students? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Employability – not mentioned in the literature? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Critical attitude – yes but how? What pedagogy? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Why introduce social media? <ul><li>To address an employability issue for professional communicators: use of Web 2.0 tools in business, government and voluntary sector </li></ul><ul><li>To generate a type of dialogue that differs from Blackboard forums, blogs, etc </li></ul>
  8. 8. What is social bookmarking? <ul><li>The first form of book -marking: bookmarks are stored (‘favorited’) on your browser on your PC </li></ul><ul><li>The Web 2.0 way: bookmarks are stored in a web-based soft-ware application that you can access from any computer </li></ul>
  9. 9. Why use social bookmarking? <ul><li>Problem: lower grades on a module that required students to produce a literature review </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>keep the literature review, but </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>support it with a new preliminary task (an annotated bibliography), and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>use social bookmarking (Diigo) to create a space for e-learners to ‘talk about texts’ </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. The assessment tasks <ul><li>The literature review </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on a workplace issue (visuals in professional documents and analysis tools to assess them) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Up to 90% of the module mark </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The annotated bibliography </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An preliminary stage to the LR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A ‘social’ task </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognise the centrality of texts in learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Up to 10% of the module mark </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Rationale <ul><li>Support informal talk </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No scholarly writing, but ‘marginalia’, reading notes (paraphrase and comments) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help students become active participants in the process of meaning-making </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keep two identities into play </li></ul><ul><ul><li>as a student applying and selecting frameworks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>as a professional reflecting on the nature of visual communication in a document of their choice </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make the contested nature of knowledge explicit through dialogue with peers </li></ul>
  12. 12. Assessment criteria
  13. 13. Spheres for meaning making Genres (eg article) Notes, marginalia Posts & responses Rhetorical resources Students Tutor Administrator External Examiner IT manager Software itself ‘ SQ3R’ Annotating references Reviewing a body of lit Writing up a lit review Meaning making
  14. 14. ‘ Drafting’ in the discipline
  15. 15. Feature 1: intertextuality <ul><li>Hyperlinks </li></ul><ul><li>Referencing conventions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Author, date, and title as heading </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Correct reference at the beginning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Threaded discussions </li></ul><ul><li>References to other texts </li></ul>
  16. 17. Feature 2: metadiscourse <ul><li>References to shared professional situations (“technical documentation”) </li></ul><ul><li>Agreements (“like you”, “I agree”) </li></ul><ul><li>References to other postings (by self and others) </li></ul><ul><li>Use of interrogatives or invitations to elicit other students’ viewpoints </li></ul>
  17. 19. Feature 3: ownership <ul><li>Recontextualisation: “useful for my essay” </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluative statements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I think”, “I feel” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ the problem with this text...” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ it wasn’t as useful as other frameworks” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I am not convinced either” </li></ul></ul>
  18. 21. Impacts <ul><li>Most students were: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>initially weary (sharing felt strange) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pleased in the end </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Average grade increased </li></ul><ul><li>Some students were unconvinced </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I could have been writing my essay” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Diigo offers very little more than Blackboard ” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Comments were limited </li></ul>
  19. 22. Institutional aspects <ul><li>Institutional concerns? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No social media guidelines at the time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tension between collaborative work and individual contributions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Assessment issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New criterion (sociability) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What counts as knowledge? Informality of exchanges </li></ul></ul>
  20. 23. Conclusions <ul><li>A new social space </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Created by the task (social annotated biblio-graphy) rather than the social software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Made reading practices and feelings explicit to peers and tutor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supported learning / assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Visibility of transitional texts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Student confidence with meaning making </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links between reading and the construction of new knowledge </li></ul></ul>
  21. 24. <ul><li>Thank you for listening </li></ul><ul><li>Any comments or questions? </li></ul>
  22. 25. References <ul><li>Goodfellow, R. (2011) ‘Literacy, literacies and the digital in higher education’, Teaching in Higher Education , 16 (1): 131-144 </li></ul><ul><li>Hammond, T., Hannay, T., Lund, B. and Scott, J. (2005) 'Social bookmarking tools (I): a general review ’. D-Lib Magazine . 11 (4) </li></ul><ul><li>Lea, M.R. (2004) ‘Academic literacies: a pedagogy for course design’, Studies in Higher Education , 29 (6): 739-755 </li></ul><ul><li>Lea, M.R. (2007) ‘Emerging literacies in online learning’, Journal of Applied Linguistics , 4 (1): 80-100 </li></ul><ul><li>Lea, M.R. and Jones, S. (2010) ‘Digital literacies in higher education: exploring textual and technological practice’, Studies in Higher Education , (first online) </li></ul><ul><li>Mason, R. and Rennie, F. (2008) E-learning and Social Networking Handbook: Resources for Higher Education . Abingdon: Routledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Prensky, M. (2001) 'Digital natives, digital immigrants - Part I’, On the Horizon, 9 (5): 1-6 </li></ul><ul><li>Van Pletzen, E. (2006) A body of reading: making ‘visible’ the reading experiences of first-year medical students. In: Thesen, L. And Van Pletzen, E. (eds) Academic Literacy and the Languages of Change , pp. 104-129. London: Continuum </li></ul><ul><li>Webb, E. (2009) 'Engaging students with engaging tools '. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 32 (4). </li></ul>