Technology and passive withdrawers jj final


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Technology and passive withdrawers jj final

  1. 1. Technology and passivewithdrawers Jan Jones, Learning & Teaching Development IET Wide Open Symposium 1/11/11
  2. 2. Background  Part of a project to explore retention on L185: English for Academic Purposes Online  To obtain a rich picture of the reasons why students ‘passively withdraw’ from L185  Passive withdrawers are students who had submitted no more than two TMAs  New and/or BME students were 2
  3. 3. Activity What do you think are the challenges that face EAL students when they are about to start an entirely online module ? 3
  4. 4. Methodology Passive withdrawers identified by the team Email invitation sent to sample available at the end of Block 5 Special attention was paid to the language used in the invitation Semi-structured telephone discussions (x9) Discussions were recorded and transcribed Survey was sent to all L185-11B 4
  5. 5. Passive withdrawer interviewees 7 were from BME backgrounds 6 were EAL students 4 males and 5 females Age range 29 to 54 6 new and 3 continuing OU students 5 had submitted 0 TMAs, 4 had submitted 2 Previous qualifications varied 5
  6. 6. Expectations of an online module  3 withdrawers hadn’t realised that the module was ‘entirely online’ I didn’t realise that L185 was entirely online, so I wasn’t prepared for it. I have done an entirely online course with LearnDirect, but that was different. With LearnDirect when you returned to the website, it took you straight back to where you left off. It was a lot easier… 6
  7. 7. Preparation for an online module The advice was that you need to be used to computers and my answer is ‘yes, I am used to computers, I do emails, I can write using word processing and I do spreadsheets and everything, but not something like that….the description was okay but it was the delivery of the materials. Using a computer in this way is different from how I usually use it. Maybe in the description it could say a bit more about what you have to do. It’s not the materials; it’s the technical aspects that were difficult for 7
  8. 8. Navigation With this course if the computer crashed or you couldn’t remember where you were, then you have to log back in again and you have to go through it page by page to find out where you were. My computer crashed several times. You have to remember what unit, what block, what page number and all on that. I don’t believe the course is easily accessible. That is the main problem I had. I need someone to show me. I found it difficult to follow the course online. It’s very hard to find your way around. It would be a lot easier if it took you back to the page where you last started when you log back in. I was surprised that was not the case. It was very 8
  9. 9. Accessing the online tutorials I’ve not been able to get to the online tutorials because they are at a certain time when I wasn’t available. The teacher did try to explain to me how to get there, but it didn’t sink in. I still don’t know how I can get to the online tutorials, where to click…. I spoke to my tutor once or twice and had a few emails with her. But I would like to have been shown how to get there. I still need some face-to-face 9
  10. 10. Using the online tools 78% students use a laptop all/most of the time 73% found the module website easy to use 73% said Elluminate is easy to install 85% students said the drag and drop activities were easy to use 71% were confident in using all the technologies required for the assignments in L185 so far (i.e. at the end of Block 5) 10
  11. 11. Accessibility and online study Some students with disabilities struggle to study ‘entirely online’ materials. For example, those who have a vision- Impairment and those with arthritic or joint mobility problems that affect the 11
  12. 12. Help and support in using technology I was very concerned so I went twice to the office in Camden but no-one could explain me anything. I am sorry to have to say this. Then I spoke to my tutor….she was very nice, but she thinks that other sections of the University have to resolve my computer problems. She told me to ring the Computer Helpdesk. It’s hard for someone to explain it on the phone. If I could talk to someone who could show me how to go through it step by step then maybe I could do it…..It is complicated to switch from the course materials the online… 12
  13. 13. Digital literacy These findings suggest there is a difference between level of confidence in using a computer and using the technologies that are embedded in an entirely online module: e.g. Elluminate and online audio recording tools, electronic TMA submission and complex 13
  14. 14. Studying online v printed materials  I prefer a book because I can read beyond a given topic to get more 14
  15. 15. Studying online and widening participation – is there a conflict? The Learning & Teaching focus area means improving pedagogy and reducing costs Understanding and improving the student learning experience in this context suggests that some print-based materials and some face to face tuition should be available Should L185 be a ‘key introductory’ Level 1 module given its role in improving writing and literacy skills? 15
  16. 16. Positive trends in the survey results87% satisfied with the teaching materials (60%)82% satisfied with their study experience (73%)84% were enjoying the module (69%)81% would recommend this module (75%)82% module meets its learning outcomes (78%)96% satisfied with the tutor support provided (86%) 16
  17. 17. Widening participation in an onlinecontext – what can we do? Ask tutors to be more pro-active in 1 contacting WP students Offer IT support through volunteer ‘module 2 champions’ or peer mentors Offer some face-to-face tuition or a podcast 3 to show how the technologies 17
  18. 18. References  Cull, B.W. (2011) Reading Revolutions: Online digital text and implications for reading in academe, First Monday, Volume 16, Number 6. Online at: wrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/3340/2985  Goodfellow, R. & Reedy, K (2010) Learn about Digital Literacy (EPD Guide)  Jary, D. & Jones, R. Widening Participation: Overview and Commentary, HEA.  Jones, J. & Kirkup, G. (2010) Report on Widening participation case studies for FELS language programmes  Jones, J. & Kirkup, G. (2010) The Experience of Widening Participation students on FELS Foundation Course 2009-2010:  Watson, D. (2006) How to think about widening participation in UK higher education, Discussion paper for HEFCE. Jan Jones, Learning and Teaching Development, IET 18