"Better groups, better feedback, richer inquiry? Using wiki technology to improve the learning environment in problem...
Contents <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>Student feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Staff perceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Trans...
Background – the history <ul><li>Level 5 semester-long module, running PBL style </li></ul><ul><li>Students set “real-worl...
Background – moving on… <ul><li>Successful in developing PBL approach – improved engagement, student satisfaction and achi...
The “wiki”- the intention <ul><li>One for each group (private) </li></ul><ul><li>Potential for anonymisation </li></ul><ul...
The Wiki – the result <ul><li>More engagement out of session (surprising times of day!!) </li></ul><ul><li>Attendance </li...
Evaluation – what the students told us…. <ul><li>Formal questionnaires – Likert scales and open-ended questions </li></ul>...
Supporting group-work? <ul><li>We used the wiki to work together as a group outside of class time </li></ul><ul><li>We use...
Fairness <ul><li>The wiki tool made me feel that the tutors could assess individual contributions to the group more fairly...
Privacy <ul><li>I was worried about privacy, or what I said on-line because I knew the tutors could read it.  </li></ul>0/17
Overall experience <ul><li>I would like to use the wiki tool again when I have group-work to do. </li></ul><ul><li>I was m...
Open student comments <ul><li>Facilitated communication (e.g. geography) </li></ul><ul><li>Fair workload </li></ul><ul><li...
The negatives <ul><li>“Competition” to be first </li></ul>
….the “Insight” “ Also more ideas and information on the family that the weed killer belongs to could be an idea and wheth...
Other issues - discussion <ul><li>Transferability   – would the heavy dependence on technology transfer to other cohorts? ...
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Better groups, better feedback, richer inquiry? Using wiki technology to improve the learning environment in problem-based learning

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Our virtual learning environment (Blackboard) has recently developed a capability to allow the contributions of a group to be delivered and later assessed using wiki technology. Early indications suggest that not only is the use of the wiki technology supporting these objectives, but has also returned a host of other, (and some unforeseen) advantages. Despite this, the use of such technology has also raised some questions about how appropriate this approach is in this and other contexts. Dependence on technology, transferability to other learning contexts, and the unanticipated “intimacy” of observing group dynamics and the nature and impact of this scrutiny all raise questions that merit debate from other practitioners. Participants will have the opportunity to share similar practice, but most importantly engage in a debate about this method of monitoring, supporting and assessing the group-work associated with problem-based learning.

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Better groups, better feedback, richer inquiry? Using wiki technology to improve the learning environment in problem-based learning

  1. 1. &quot;Better groups, better feedback, richer inquiry? Using wiki technology to improve the learning environment in problem-based learning&quot; Fiona McKie-Bell CETL Assessment for Learning and School of Applied Sciences Northumbria University
  2. 2. Contents <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>Student feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Staff perceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Transferability </li></ul><ul><li>Problems? </li></ul><ul><li>Too close for comfort? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Background – the history <ul><li>Level 5 semester-long module, running PBL style </li></ul><ul><li>Students set “real-world” problem to develop experimental protocol. </li></ul><ul><li>Weekly work-sheets/group tasks in session, continued in own time (?!) </li></ul><ul><li>3 Lab sessions to run and refine working experimental protocol </li></ul><ul><li>Poster in “conference” style and interrogation (individual) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Background – moving on… <ul><li>Successful in developing PBL approach – improved engagement, student satisfaction and achievement </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment unsatisfactory: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual poster sessions (“product”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessing group-work problematic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Groups showed real development – not reflected in poster. </li></ul><ul><li>Usual problems associated with group-work </li></ul><ul><li>New assessment needed </li></ul>
  5. 5. The “wiki”- the intention <ul><li>One for each group (private) </li></ul><ul><li>Potential for anonymisation </li></ul><ul><li>Agreed “rules” – weekly submission in return for weekly feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Used as repository for information/sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative space </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection (especially after lab sessions) </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Wiki – the result <ul><li>More engagement out of session (surprising times of day!!) </li></ul><ul><li>Attendance </li></ul><ul><li>“ Brittle” groups – technology as “hook”? </li></ul><ul><li>Generally improved environment (sessions in IT labs) - Facilitated further use of technology </li></ul><ul><li>Better quality information gathering, evidence of collaboration/conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue - between staff and students (more regular, better questions, more debate) </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of feedback – instant evidence of its use!! </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring improved </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate early intervention with problem groups </li></ul><ul><li>Process genuinely assessed </li></ul><ul><li>Fairness, equity of individual contributions to group </li></ul><ul><li>Insight into group-work, collaborations, student “conversations”…. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Evaluation – what the students told us…. <ul><li>Formal questionnaires – Likert scales and open-ended questions </li></ul><ul><li>Conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Comments in wiki itself </li></ul>
  8. 8. Supporting group-work? <ul><li>We used the wiki to work together as a group outside of class time </li></ul><ul><li>We used the wiki tool to work on-line as well as face-to-face </li></ul><ul><li>I found using technology helped us work together as a group </li></ul><ul><li>We used the wiki tool to work on-line as well as face-to-face </li></ul><ul><li>The wiki felt like “just an extra task” and was not helpful to our group </li></ul>15/17 15/17 17/17 0/17 17/17
  9. 9. Fairness <ul><li>The wiki tool made me feel that the tutors could assess individual contributions to the group more fairly. </li></ul><ul><li>The wiki helped make all group members participate </li></ul>15/17 13/17
  10. 10. Privacy <ul><li>I was worried about privacy, or what I said on-line because I knew the tutors could read it. </li></ul>0/17
  11. 11. Overall experience <ul><li>I would like to use the wiki tool again when I have group-work to do. </li></ul><ul><li>I was more interested in this task because I was able to use technology e.g. internet, wiki, e-mail, text etc. to help me work </li></ul><ul><li>I would only want to use the wiki in group work if it contribute to the final marks </li></ul>17/17 6/17 3/17
  12. 12. Open student comments <ul><li>Facilitated communication (e.g. geography) </li></ul><ul><li>Fair workload </li></ul><ul><li>Shared space for ideas – increased collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Regular submission keep on track (and helped with absences </li></ul><ul><li>Regular feedback/communication with staff (accessible) </li></ul><ul><li>Repository of information </li></ul>
  13. 13. The negatives <ul><li>“Competition” to be first </li></ul>
  14. 14. ….the “Insight” “ Also more ideas and information on the family that the weed killer belongs to could be an idea and whether they all effect photosynthesis. Perhaps we could look up literature to help us and see if any other experiments have been done similar to ours. How would we display our results? calibration curves?? or any addition to ideas that are already here. These are the questions that i propose to you HULK, GOOSE and the steve who doesnt have an ultra cool name yet.      well done mav!!! tremendous work, shame you left us with nothing to do!  ”
  15. 15. Other issues - discussion <ul><li>Transferability – would the heavy dependence on technology transfer to other cohorts? </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics – should we be observing group work in this way? Moreover, is it appropriate/necessary to assess it? </li></ul><ul><li>Resourcing – small cohort, resources might limit class based work. Is it right to assume personal ownership of PC/internet connection? </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships – does this affect the relationship between staff/student (intimacy) – and is this a negative thing? </li></ul>

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