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2011 Conference Proceedings - Enhancing the learning experience: Learning for an unknown future (Barnett, 2004)


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2011 Conference Proceedings - Enhancing the learning experience: Learning for an unknown future (Barnett, 2004)

  1. 1. Conference SponsorsThe organisers gratefully acknowledge the support of the following sponsors for their significant contributions. 1
  2. 2. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or byany electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, includingphotocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission inwriting from the publishers. 2
  3. 3. ContentsForeword .......................................................................................................................................... 54th Annual LIN Conference – October 27th, Ashling Hotel, Dublin ........................................................ 6Sub-theme 1 – First Year Experience .................................................................................................. 7 Applying a three-step model to first year course design to champion creativity and satisfy the evolving objectives of business education .................................................................................... 7 1 Jeff Taylor, 2Conor Horan .......................................................................................................... 7 Social Media and/in Education- where do you stand? ................................................................ 15 Geraldine McDermott .............................................................................................................. 15 Shared Social Video in Higher Education ‘Blended’ Business Programmes ................................. 26 Denis Cullinane ........................................................................................................................ 26 Action Accounting: supporting the first year student ................................................................. 38 Frances Boylan, Tony Kiely, Alice Luby ..................................................................................... 38 Seeking a New Level – an examination of the factors that affect Level 7 first year Engineering Students in DIT ............................................................................................................................ 48 Domhnall Sheridan, Michael Carr, Anselm Griffin ..................................................................... 48 Changing Minds: challenging student attitudes to introductory physics ..................................... 59 Regina Kelly, Leah Wallace ....................................................................................................... 59 Integrating theory and practice: enhancing assessment in the First Year ................................... 67 Elizabeth Noonan, Geraldine O’Neill, ....................................................................................... 67Sub-theme 2 – Diversity of the learner Experience .......................................................................... 75 The Importance of Body Language to International Students ..................................................... 75 Brian Toolan ............................................................................................................................ 75 Enhancing Student Learning Experience and Diversity of Learning Styles Through Project Based Learning and Continuous Assessment ......................................................................................... 77 Kevin Furlong ........................................................................................................................... 77 Charting the learning journey of a group of adults returning to education ................................. 88 Des Mooney ............................................................................................................................ 88 Learner Experience with the MyElvin Social Network for Practicing Languages ......................... 98 Darragh Coakley, Maria Murray ............................................................................................... 98 Work placement blogs to harness diverse learning experiences and foster a community of practice ..................................................................................................................................... 108 Julie Dunne ............................................................................................................................ 108 Taking the LEAD: Reflections on enhancing employability skills development? ....................... 116 Jen Harvey, Sinead McNulty, Rachel O’Connor, ...................................................................... 116 3
  4. 4. Sub-theme 3 – STAFF DEVELOPMENT ............................................................................................ 123 Engaging and preparing students for future roles – community-based learning in DIT ............. 123 Catherine Bates ..................................................................................................................... 123 Managing a time effective assessment process to maximise a quality learning experience ..... 132 Jen Harvey, Dublin Institute of Technology ............................................................................ 132 THE NEST PROJECT: AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO TEACHER TRAINING ................................ 140 Pauline Logue Collins, Kate Dunne, Dr. Angelika Rauch .......................................................... 140 Lecturers are doin’ it for themselves The experience of MUGS in GMIT ................................... 156 Miriam Mc Sweeney, Nicholas Canny and Patricia Mc Cann ................................................... 156 “Different ways of knowing” - Fostering Learners engagement in the creation and dissemination of knowledge via motivational self systems and life-wide learning experiences. ..................... 168 Valerie Mannix ...................................................................................................................... 168 Evaluation of impact of professional development training in the area of technology enhanced learning ..................................................................................................................................... 178 Michael McMahon ................................................................................................................. 178 4
  5. 5. ForewordWelcome to the 4th Annual Learning Innovation Network (LIN) Conference in theAshling Hotel in Dublin. LIN is the flagship teaching and learning initiative for theinstitutes of technology (IoT) sector in Ireland and is managed by the LIN Co-ordination Group, supported by Institutes of Technology Ireland (IOTI). LIN aimsto disseminate and promote best practice and innovation in teaching and learningat sectoral level. It is in the area of academic professional development (APD) thatLIN has made its most distinctive contribution. Within the last year LIN has had anumber of milestone achievements, the validation of the postgraduate diploma inLearning, Teaching and Assessment being chief among those achievements. This programme will beformally launched at the conference this year. LIN operates as a collaboration project betweenthirteen Institutes of Technology and Dublin Institute of Technology. The seminal contribution andongoing support of DIT for this initiative from the outset must be acknowledged at this time. Thishas been instrumental in making LIN the success it is today. Within participating institutes, membersof staff from a wide range of academic departments and students’ support services complete LINprogrammes. Therefore LIN has established itself as an inter-departmental as well as an inter-institutional project.We anticipate the conference will provide much opportunity to share experiences and discussdevelopments and innovations in the provision of a quality higher education to an ever more diversestudent body. We hope that you find the conference beneficial to your professional practice, thatthe material presented will assist you in meeting the challenges of Enhancing the LearningExperience and that you have the opportunity to meet and form new networks with colleagues fromacross the sector who face similar challenges.Best Wishes,Dr. Richard ThornDirector of Flexible Learning, IOTINational Higher Education Strategy Project Manager, HEA 5
  6. 6. 4th Annual LIN Conference – October 27th, Ashling Hotel, DublinCONFERENCE THEMEEnhancing the Learning Experience: Learning for an Unknown Future (Barnett, 2004) 1SUB-THEMES  The first year experience  Diversity of the learner experience  Staff development for learning / Innovation in teaching and learningABOUT THE CONFERENCE ORGANISERSLIN - The Learning Innovation Network - was established in 2007 with the aim of workingcollaboratively to enhance Learning and Teaching in Institutes of Technology’. The project was athree year collaborative project between the thirteen Irish Institutes of Technology and DublinInstitute of Technology. Funded by the Strategic Innovation Fund (Cycle 1) LIN received the highestpossible rating from the Gordon Davis SIF review. As a result, LIN has secured further funding tosustain its activities under the auspices of the SIF 2 Flexible Learning project. LIN’s priority is theprovision and support of Academic Professional Development (APD) opportunities within the sectorand we recently validated the modular Postgraduate Diploma in Learning Teaching and Assessment.LIN is run by the LIN Co-ordination Group and each institute has a LIN contact. The LIN contacts arelisted in the table below. Contact Institute Nuala Harding Athlone Institute of Technology Daniel McSweeney Institute of Technology Blanchardstown Anne Carpenter Institute of Technology Carlow Stephen Cassidy Cork Institute of Technology Jen Harvey Dublin Institute of Technology John Dallat Dundalk Institute of Technology Mary Anne O’Carroll Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology Aedin O’hEocha & Carina Ginty Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology Denis McFadden Letterkenny Institute of Technology Terry Twomey Limerick Institute of Technology Stephanie Donegan Institute of Technology Sligo Rose Cooper Institute of Technology Tallaght, Dublin Brid McElligott Institute of Technology Tralee Carol O’Byrne & John Wall Waterford Institute of Technology Niamh Rushe LIN Co-ordinator – IOTI Marion Palmer Chair of the LIN Co-ordination Group1 Barnett, R. (2004) Learning for an Unknown Future. Higher Education Research and Development, 23 (3), pp.247-260. 6
  7. 7. Sub-theme 1 – First Year Experience Applying a three-step model to first year course design to champion creativity and satisfy the evolving objectives of business education 1Jeff Taylor, 2Conor Horan 1 Dublin Business School, 2Dublin Institute of TechnologyAbstractThis paper discusses the objectives of business education at third level and proposescreativity and associated skills be placed at the forefront of the first year experience. Asbusiness teaching is increasingly conducted by authority rather than creativity there exists anecessity to ensure students new to the college experience are challenged and encouragedto engage in harnessing their creative potential during their first academic year. This paperwill develop the need for first year course design, to follow the 3 steps outlined in the model(Provide Opportunities for Creative Behaviour (before); Develop Skills for Creative Learning(during); and Reward Creative Achievements (after).) to allow students the freedom toexplore the business discipline in their own unique manner while maintaining the check andbalances required from Quality Assurance. This paper will show how this template should beconsidered during programmatic design and reviews with consideration to continuousassessment design, in order to allow course lecturers the freedom to both design andreward continuous assessment with creative skills in mind.IntroductionAt the start of every academic cycle, students eagerly, excitedly and almost certainlynervously enter into the world of higher education. Business schools are no exception, andfirst year students begin their journey for knowledge with a raw enthusiasm. It is at thisjuncture that institutions have the most flexibility with which to nurture and developbusiness leaders of the future.Higher education is often a forum for creative products such as inventions, medicaldiscoveries, entrepreneurial endeavours, books and stage productions. However, Torrence(1977) laments that too often these accomplishments have been achieved outside of collegerequirements and sponsorship. He continues that dissertations and theses, usually regardedas original contributions, tend to be evaluated for correctness of methodology rather thanin terms of originality, power, and worth of ideas developed and tested.Business education has become an important part of the young and upcoming executive’spreparation for success in business (Van der Colff, 2004). Here it is argued that in order forbusiness graduates to contribute in the evolving economy business schools must equipstudents with diverse talents cultivated by creativity. It is proposed that such an innovativeskill set should be fostered from the outset, and that course design be the tool to championthe cause of creativity.A simple three-part process, derived from earlier work on creativity in the classroom byTorrence (1977) is proposed to facilitate course design in allowing student imagination and 7
  8. 8. individuality to prosper. This three-stage process is before, during and after: ProvideOpportunities for Creative Behaviour (before); Develop Skills for Creative Learning (during);and Reward Creative Achievements (after). By incorporating this process, course review andcourse design will cultivate an atmosphere of broad skills development.The weight of present evidence indicates people fundamentally prefer to learn in creativeways (Torrence, 1977). Currently the proposed model for creativity is not employed byBusiness Schools and introducing this model to influence course design a creativeenvironment can be cultured to the benefit of the scholarship of business undergraduates. Itis argued herein that the implementation of this model is of significant relevance in firstyear in order to connect students to a more creative environment.The Role of the Business SchoolIt is common to review a business school’s curriculum and bear witness to the provision ofcourses in management, marketing, retail and more. Orr (1991) describes the modernbusiness school curriculum as being a world “fragmented into bits and pieces calleddisciplines and sub-disciplines”. He argues the consequence of such institutional design is agraduating student, despite 12 or 16 or 20 years of education, devoid of any broadintegrated sense of unity and their surrounding environment. The current trend ineducation is increasing specialization into narrowly defined academic disciplines, coupledwith departmental and other institutional barriers to collaboration amongst faculty andamongst students. All too often university organizational structure prohibits faculty frompursuing their creative ideas. (Bacon, 2010).Recently there have been calls to treat university students as customers. As customers,students are implicitly encouraged to adopt the passive attitude of receiving a service,rather than actively participate and become equal stakeholders in their studies (Furedi,2006). As a result, the conceptual difference between studying in a university and beingtaught in a school has become blurred. With this in mind, it is absolutely essential that firstyear course design break the current teaching and learning methods and allow studentsembark upon a new path of self directed learning. Indeed, Graham (2002) notes that thereis a qualitative difference between pupils – who are for the most part directed by others –and students who are expected to be more self-directed.Should a business school not be educating students for more than just an understanding in alimited field of commerce and allowing their faculty the freedom to implement uniqueteaching approaches? It has long been argued that education is ‘the most personal, themost intimate, of all human affairs’ (Dewey, 1903). It is within education more thananywhere else that character, and intelligence of the individual be celebrated. Indeed,Furedi (2006) mourns the absence of intellectual stimulation and challenge oncontemporary campuses. There is a compulsion of modern institutions to force all kinds offacts, techniques, methods and information into the mind of the student, with little regardfor how and with what effect it will be used (Orr, 1991). It would be wise of modernbusiness schools to revisit the work of Dewey (1903) who would suggest the remedy is notto have one expert dictating educational methods and subject-matter to a body of passive,recipient students, but the adoption of intellectual initiative, discussion, and decisionthroughout. 8
  9. 9. As a consequence, as Furedi (2006) is concerned with the proliferation of undergraduateswho are profoundly bored by their university experiences, now is the time to championDewey’s (1903) call for initiative and innovation.The challenge for business schools is thus ever evolving. Likely challenges facing leaders willbe immeasurably diverse across several disciplines from technology to psychology to ethicsto the environment and the political arena. The implication for management educators isclear. They have to ensure to develop the cross-disciplinary skills necessary for futureleaders and managers to ensure organisational success (Van der Colff, 2004). This position issupported by Bosch and Louw (1998) who argue that business Schools, as pivotal role-players in developing managerial competence, cannot escape their responsibility to deliverappropriately educated business executives, who, through their intellectual skills andcommunity sensitive values, may lead future transformation processes. It would be remissof business schools to persist with the status quo and fail to engage in the call for a morerounded business graduate.Furthermore, an international trend with regards to skills development is the shifting worldof work. The new economy requires a set of skills that is fundamentally different to thatwhich was traditionally appropriate. Skills demanded by the new labour market includeinnovation, entrepreneurship and critical thinking as the cornerstone of the new globalleader (Van der Colff, 2004). According to the authors the management skills that are mostin demand right now include: an ability to contribute to the strategic development of the organisation; an ability to take a broad holistic view of management issues, including the capacity to see issues in the context of an evolving internal and a changing external environment; the capacity for imagination and creativity as well as analytical skills; interpersonal skills, group work, team projects, negotiation, networking and other critical social skills; personal learning skills, especially the ability to learn from, and help others learn from experience; and an ability to analyse critically management problems at a strategic level.As can be seen these skills focus on the universal skills with broad applicability, regardless ofthe direction a student may take upon graduation. Self directed development will allow astudent develop the associated management skills. Course design should facilitate thisdevelopment.Business schools are compelled to embrace creativity and interdisciplinary skills. Crucially,course design can be tailored to champion creativity from the outset, providing first yearundergraduate students the skills they require to develop and hone their creativesensibilities throughout their studies. The modern skills in demand include imagination,creativity, an awereness of broad contexts, and personal learning. With this in mind themerit of model proposed in this paper becomes ever greater, alluding to the necessity ofbroad cross-disciplinary skills. 9
  10. 10. The overarching objective of teaching in a university context is to provide the best learningenvironment possible for students, so that they can develop the capability to achieve thelearning outcomes of the units being taught (Blount and McNeill, 2011). This paper conteststhat such a learning environment can be developed by implementing the model proposedbelow.Proposed Model to support Creativity and its impact on Course DesignGiven the evolving demands of business schools there exists a developing requirement forgraduates to possess a broad range of skills. Every person’s education is their own personaljourney upon which they should be encouraged to experiment and investigate material intheir own unique way. Current business course design reinforces passivity, monologue,domination, and artificiality (Orr, 1991). This current business academic stasis contrastssignificantly to future objectives of business schools. A simple three-step process is derivedfrom the work of Torrence (1977) on creativity in the classroom. It is proposed that thisprocess be implemented into programmatic review and course/module design. Byembracing such an initiative the cycle of conformity can be broken. Course design is theideal format with which to champion creativity.Creativity is the ability to produce work that is both new and valuable (Martins, 2011). Newmeans unusual, unique, new point of view, varied, original, breaking from existing patternsand contributing something to the field which was not there before. Valuable indicates thatthe product meets a need or solves a problem; it is useful, effective, and efficient, serves apurpose and contributes to society. This definition proposed by Martins (2011) from hisliterature review on creativity highlights key attributes that business school objectivesdemand of modern graduates.Additionally, this definition of creativity reveals that it is still very subjective. The subjectivityof creativity makes it hard to measure and can be considered to be a major obstacle forQuality Assurance in academia where a more quantifiable quality is desired. The modeloutlined here stresses the importance of creativity, yet allows the rigours of QualityAssurance to hold steadfast. 10
  11. 11. Before: Provide Opportunities for Creative Behaviour:A very practical way of providing conditions for creative learning is to offer a curriculumwith plenty of opportunities for creative behaviour. Torrence (1977) proposes that this canbe done in many ways, by making assignments which call for original work, independentlearning, self-initiated projects and experimentation. Blount and McNeil (2011) insistassessment provide engaging and challenging opportunities for students to test and applywhat they have learned. By directing a student to complete a non-examination assessmentwith defined parameters such as method of submission, required word count, requiredformatting style, prescribed reference quantity and much more limitations, naturally thescope for innovation is curtailed.Creativity is served by an environment that welcomes new ideas. Creativity needs a certainlevel of tolerance for unusual or even subversive people and ideas (Sutton, 2001). Thechallenge here it is for course design to be both agreeable by Quality Assurance moderatorsand yet flexible enough to embrace such unusual and undefined ideas.A business school adopting this model would design courses and assessments with languagethat allows lecturers and programmatic reviewers the flexibility in the method ofassessment and the marking criteria. While substance of work is still of value, credit shouldbe available within the parameters set out in the course/assessment design for uniquemethods of submission and evidence of creativity and independent learning.During: Develop Skills for Creative Learning:Learning in creative ways requires certain skills not required by authority – the skills andstrategies of inquiry, creative research and problem solving (Torrence, 1977). Furthercreativity literature expresses that students ought to be encouraged to use theirimagination in art and design, music, dance, imagination, role-play and stories. While it maybe easy to argue that music and dance have no obvious link business academics, it is not the 11
  12. 12. place of course and assessment design to educate students out of creativity and intoconformity (Robinson, 2007). If a student excels at an extra-curricular activity, they ought tobe encouraged to bring these external talents into a classroom environment. How this maymanifest itself should be an unknown, and should be dependent on the various gifts andabilities by a particular group of students. One such example of this is a marketing projectwhich saw a group of students performing various pieces of music of varied moods as abackground effect to the same TV car advert, highlighting the sensory capabilities of theviewer and the importance of music to the advertising effect.This model, correctly implemented into course design, would allow students theopportunities to challenge their creative abilities. By witnessing their peers succeed in theircreative academic endeavours, a student may be encouraged to compete or participate inthe same process with the same enthusiasm. If this mindset was encouraged from first year,upon completion of a three to four year degree course students will have born witness to awide range of broad talent and learning methodologies, and would no longer be limited toclassroom and textbook learning.After: Reward Creative Achievements:Creative thinking should be legitimate and rewarding (Torrence, 1977) and seeking outcreative avenues should be reflected in a student’s grades. He continues that educationalresearch has indicated repeatedly that people tend to learn along the lines they findrewarding. In order to meet with the future objectives of business schools, then course andassessment design must embrace any means by which to reward creative behaviour.Students are rewarded not only in grades but they should feel as if their effort has been ofvalue to themselves personally, and not merely as a completion of a task or academicpurpose.If course design prescribes every method by which learning outcomes ought to be achieved,curiosity is neglected. Students are rewarded via the voyage of discovery, answering theirown questions via self initiated learning rather than answering a set question duringassessment. Students should be encouraged to manage their own learning since theassessment and evaluation should be their personal concern and can ultimately only bejudged according to their criteria (Rae and Gray 2003). It is essential that this be establishedfrom the outset in first year, students should be aware that they are the driving forcebehind their education, and this should be reflected in course design. If courses andassessments are too regimented, then it follows that students will not engage with the ideaof academic ownership. In contrast however, were a student afforded the environment totackle key subject matter in their own innovative manner, the sense of ownership would begreatly increased and be much more worthwhile and rewarding.Self initiated learning is another outcome of the implementation of this model. Torrence(1977) argues that overly detailed supervision, too much reliance upon prescribed curricula,and attempts to cover too much material with no opportunity for reflection interfereseriously with such efforts. Attempting to cover vast amounts of information can result instudent apathy as they feel unengaged with the material. 12
  13. 13. Finally, course design should provide a chance for learners to learn, think and discoverwithout threat of immediate evaluation (Torrence, 1977). Within this construct, this modelproposes that the first year learning experience by markedly different than that of final andinterim years. In order to foster creativity, the burden of heavily graded pieces of workshould be introduced slowly and incrementally over the degree delivery period. Havinguniform assessment techniques from first year through to graduation heaps excess pressureon first year students unfamiliar with the process, and who will be reluctant to challengeconvention. Rather, this paper proposes that first year course design allow a greaterflexibility, free from the shackles of excess grading, in order to encourage creativity and alearning momentum. The remit of Quality Assurance remains as quantitative grading criteriawill exist in greater detail in later years of a degree programme; however, a first yearprogramme should be more open to the growth and maturing of its students.ConclusionModern business school must develop a way of learning that is entirely appropriate to thelearning needs of future managers, that continually engages student interest and that bringsabout internalized changes in the way the student thinks (Rae and Gray, 2003). The modelproposed recognises that students have various abilities and indeed, various reasons forparticipating in different degree programmes. Embracing creativity is to recognise thatstudents have different needs, different bases of knowledge, different interests anddifferent learning modes. This paper seeks to encourage business schools to implement themodel outlined above into first year course and assessment design in order to address thenuances and differences in student individuality. Business course objectives demandcreativity is at the forefront of learning for years to come. Implementing this model willsupport creativity amongst first year students via course and assessment design.The model itself acts as a guideline, itself a champion of simplicity, benefiting from greaterscope and interpretative flexibility. Much as the model advocates creativity and freedom ofexpression, so to it should be implemented by business schools in their very own creativemanner with freedom and interpretation varying from business school to business school.The model is not prescriptive, nor should it be. How one business school implements themodel may be markedly different from how another school uses it. No two situations will beidentical, so uniformity cannot be the ideal. Likewise, no two students are identical, and thepotential for innovation is limitless, and it is not up to colleges to limit that potential, ratherto encourage it, and develop it.ReferencesBacon, C.M, et al. (2010) “Creation of an integrated curriculum” International Journal ofSustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 193-208Blount, Y and McNeill, M (2011) “Fostering independent learning and engagement forpostgraduate students - Using a publisher-supplied software program”, International Journalof Educational Management, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 390-404.Bosch, J.K. and Louw, L. (1998) “Graduate Perceptions on the Status and Nature of SouthAfrican MBA Programmes” Centre for Applied Business Management, UPE. 13
  14. 14. Furedi, Frank (2006) “Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?” Continuum Publishing,London.Graham, G. (2002) “Universities: The recovery of an idea.” Thorverton, Imprint Academic.Martens, Yuri (2011) “Creative workplace: instrumental and symbolic support forCreativity”, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, London, Vol. 29 No. 1/2, pp. 63-79.Orr, David (1991) “What Is Education For? Six myths about the foundations of moderneducation, and six new principles to replace them.” The Learning Revolution, Winter 1991,Page 52, Context Institute. pp. 499-507.Rae, John and Gray, Harry, (2003) "Strategic leadership: A learning partnership",Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 17 Iss: 5, pp.16 - 18Robinson, Ken (2007) “Schools kill creativity” TED Conference,, Accessed September26th, 2011.Sukirno D.S. and Siengthai S. (2011) “Does participative decision making affect lecturerperformance in higher education?” International Journal of Educational Management, Vol.25 No. 5, 2011 pp. 494-508.Sutton, R. (2001), “Weird Ideas That Work: 11 1/2 Practices for Promoting, Managing, andSustaining Innovation”, Alan Lane/Penguin, London.Torrence, E. Paul (1977) “Creativity in the Classroom: What research says to the teacher.”National Education Association, Washington, D.C.Van der Colff, Linda (2004) “A new paradigm for business education - The role of thebusiness educator and business school” Management Decision, Vol. 42 No. 3/4, 2004About the AuthorsJeff Taylor BSC, MSC (International Business)Jeff is currently engaged in research into business education while lecturing in DublinBusiness School and the Institute of Business and Technology.Having completed both a degree and masters from the Dublin Institute of Technology, Jeffworked in academic quality assurance before pursuing lecturing in marketing. With industryexperience predominantly in the event management industry Jeff’s teaching interestsinclude event and project management and marketing.Jeff’s research interests lie in the role and scope of business education and developingcreativity within academia.Conor Horan BBLS, MBS (Marketing) 14
  15. 15. Conor is a research methodologist, who has previously lectured and researched in theSmurfit School of Business (UCD), and as a guest lecturer at the Czech University of LifeSciences.Conor has an honours Master in Business Studies (Marketing) from the Smurfit School ofBusiness and a Bachelors in Business and Legal Studies. He has researched in the area ofonline marketing and e-commerce strategy. His Phd research is in the area of Inter-Organisational Knowledge Creation and Markets-as-Networks. Conor is also a member ofthe Industrial Marketing & Purchasing Group (IMP). Conor is currently completing his PhD atthe University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.Conor has taught a range of courses from Marketing Management to Business ResearchMethods. He is also published in a number of referred journals including the Journal ofBusiness Research, Journal of Strategic Marketing and Industrial Marketing Management._______________________________________________________ Social Media and/in Education- where do you stand? Geraldine McDermott Athlone Institute of TechnologyThe journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step (Lao Tzu)As different forms of social media continue to become part of our students’ daily lives,should we go beyond our comfort zones of previous teaching modes and engage with morecutting edge channels? Is there a chance that the student who fails to engage in atraditional setting will be more engaged if we use Facebook or Twitter or Second Life? Dowe need to bridge the gap between the digital native and the digital immigrant?This paper will address this gap and make suggestions for reasonable educational initiativesto address it.To maximize engagement and encourage deeper learning, educators must endeavour tofind the best delivery method for his or her subject area. Today, most educators are awareof the value of online resources for learning and almost all Irish third-level institutions haveembraced the virtual learning environment as an additional portal for their students. Forexample, in recent years Learning Management Systems, such as Moodle or Blackboard,have been adopted by almost all third-level institutions in Ireland. Classified as a contentmanagement system (CMS), a learning management system (LMS) or a virtual learningenvironment (VLE), this platform provides Higher Education Institutes with manyopportunities to support flexible learning and e-learning, both synchronously andasynchronously. 15
  16. 16. However, while many still function as document repositories, the added value for studentslies in the ability of an LMS to become a complete learning environment and educators areincreasingly engaging with the Web 2.0 activities provided by the VLEs to promote bothindividual and collaborative learning.As a stepping stone to using Web 2.0 within education, the VLE has provided educators withthe opportunity to test the validity of activities in a controlled environment. The theory ofsocial constructionism, which underpins Moodle in particular, sits well within the frameworkof Web 2.0 technologies, where user-generated content is the main focus. Socialconstructionism posits that “learning is particularly effective when one constructssomething for others to experience” (Forment, 2007) The emphasis is on the interaction(teacher-student, student-student and activities such as forums, journals and wikis, alreadyintegrated into the VLE invite users to create and communicate; enhancing the learnerexperience.Student engagement with these activities has shown that there is scope for moving beyondthe traditional approaches and exploring other Web 2.0 possibilities. The popularity of socialmedia in the wider community has prompted many in education to investigate and discussits usefulness, but the real challenge is to invite the larger population of educators to jointhis discussion.Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) define social media as "a group of Internet-based applicationsthat build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and that allow thecreation and exchange of user-generated content." The graphic below, created by FredCavazza (2009) attempts to categorize some of the most popular social media tools availabletoday.Figure 1: Social Media Landscape 16
  17. 17. Such a classification is extremely useful given the transient nature of social media websites.What is popular now will almost certainly soon be out of date and replaced by the nextsocial media ‘miracle’. Nelson (2010) cites the example of Friendster, which was replaced byMySpace as the most popular networking site in 2004, while MySpace quickly lostcustomers to Facebook as its community grew.The increase in the use of online social games has been facilitated by the advent of the Xboxand Playstation live platforms and online games incorporated into social networking sites(e.g. Angry Birds) are enjoying unprecedented levels of success (Morrison, 2011). Althoughthe hype surrounding virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life) has lessened since their introduction,the number of users still passed the 1 billion mark in October 2010. (Watters, 2010)The statistics relating to the usage of the main social media websites are indicative of theextent to which they have become part of our reality and many communities haveembraced the opportunities they provide us with to reach a global audience.Facebook has amassed more than 800 million users globally since its launch in 2004, with inexcess of 350 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobiledevices. (, 2011). According to research by Amas (2011), theFacebook app is the most used smartphone app amongst Ireland’s 1.94 million Facebookusers. YouTube’s 490 million unique users 2 spend approximately 2.9 billion hours on itswebsite every month, while there are over 175 million Twitter accounts worldwide with inexcess of 200 million tweets per day.Against a backdrop of such impressive figures, many within the education community haverecognised that they cannot ignore social media and have begun to explore what socialmedia can offer their disciplines. Priego (2011) argues that “academics are trained tomanage data streams and to make informed appraisals of the sources we find. These skillssuit social media perfectly” and it is this evaluation of social media tools for learning thateducators can easily engage with. In addition, since alternative forms of assessment andstudent engagement are hot topics at the moment, there is an appetite to look beyond thetraditional methods to find something more meaningful to the learner.Experiences with TEL: a qualitative analysisThe discussion surrounding social media in education prompted the team responsible forthe delivery of the LIN module on Technology Enhanced Learning in AIT to incorporate anumber of social media elements into its design. This module fits into the overall frameworkfor LIN CPD (see figure 2) on a pathway towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Learning andTeaching and was delivered over the second semester of the academic year 2010-2011.2 This figure refers to the main YouTube website & doesn’t include embedded videos or videos watched onmobile devices. 17
  18. 18. Figure 2: LIN’s Flexible Pathway to Postgraduate DiplomaThe two main objectives for including a social media element were to encourage discussionabout the role of social media in education and to give participants an opportunity to useand evaluate social media tools as part of the module. Outlining the benefits and challengesof social media, Page (2011) refers to the importance of the experiential process of learning.The aim was to give participants the student experience and allow them to evaluate socialmedia tools from a learner’s perspective, as well as from the educator’s perspective.The group (n=12) made up of lecturers came from the following disciplines: Creative Arts Life& Physical Sciences Software Engineering Administration Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure Music Technology Business Web design LanguagesChoosing from the myriad of social media tools is a challenge for the newcomer. Differentspecialisations require different skills to be evaluated and the group engaged in an energeticdiscussion about the potential intrusion of educators into the personal space of the student.Moodle was the VLE of choice and participants were required to contribute to a number ofonline discussion forums, in addition to maintaining a Wordpress blog for the duration ofthe module. Two classroom sessions were organised to allow for group discussion; one face-to-face and one using the distance classroom Adobe Connect with a chat window tofacilitate interaction. Participants were invited to follow the TEL blog, which included aTwitter feed and were provided with training in the use of the social media tools.In order to gain insight into the participants’ knowledge of social media, they were askedthe following questions:Do you use social media?Five participants indicated they didn’t use social media at all, while one had usedSoundcloud, three had a Twitter account and three had set up a blog. 18
  19. 19. What does social media mean to you?“Social networking - new way of interacting”“Tools which facilitate communication between learners, not just via teacher” “Sites for online group interaction”“Using web technologies to encourage communication”“A way of communicating with a wider audience through social networking tools”“I suppose using any of the technologies that allow interaction”“It is a tool to communicate with a wider audience”“Computer technology with interaction with people” “Anything that allows people to interact with each other: student-teacher, student-student”“Any web technology that allows learning to take place”“Any media that allows communication”The group was also invited to reflect on Bloom’s digital taxonomy, created by AndrewChurches (2009), which attempts to incorporate web 2.0 technologies into Bloom’s originaltaxonomy.Figure 3: Bloom’s Digital TaxonomyLooking at Bloom’s digital taxonomy, what are your views on incorporating social mediainto your modules?“Good ideas for L&T strategies and assessment”“It will credit to students who are using these mediums when working in groups and doingpresentations”“Applying and creating - the importance of good design should not be underestimated in theLO”“It’s good to see that perhaps the educationalists are catching up......”“How much extra time has it taken you to incorporate this into your classes, as it seemsendless...” 19
  20. 20. “Have you found student performance has improved?”“Its because its such a massive area that keeping track of the resources /tools is crucial, itseems to me.”“That’s what Im hoping for that they (students) interact outside the 2hr class/lab”Given that “effective teachers are by definition reflective practitioners” (Kapranos, 2007, p8),the group was also invited to reflect on whether they could (or would) incorporate socialmedia into the delivery or assessment of their individual subject areas. At the end of themodule, the participants were asked if the discussion on / use of social media tools duringthe TEL module to help [them] gain a better understanding of these?“Absolutely! Exposure to the range of tools and potential of these from an educationalperspective was great. To hear the experience of participants who had used some of thesocial media tools was useful.”“The TEL module definitely inspired me to explore the world of social media, and although Iknow I’m only at the tip of the iceberg I have actually begun using it more.”“Have I gained a better understanding yes, I would have been familiar with a lot of the toolsbut to actually use them no. It may be just me, but I didnt use the blog after the course, Ithink it depends on the person. Im not usually a forum person (usually a lurker...) but I likedhelping out some of the other participants with problems.[…] […] the discussion of social media did help me understand social media better.Finally, they were asked if they had actually used any social media activities into theirteaching since completion of the module.“I am using Moodle blogs/journal and Moodle discussion forums. I also use YouTube. Havenot ventured into twitter/Facebook etc. as I do not think these are used for work purposes(personal opinion!) by our students and they are already distracted enough!”“I now routinely use YouTube clips in class. Whereas before I might have vaguely mentionedit to the students, now I use the clips as a learning tool.I now use forums on Moodle, routinely for news and information, Q&A, but this year I’m alsousing them for formative assessment.One of my lab groups are using a Wordpress blog to write up a lab report.And finally I use Twitter for my own research. One of the big issues I had before was tryingto keep up with the most current research in my area, now I get tweets from the mainplayers so I feel like I am part of the action again. As tweets are so concise I find that I canscan through them easily and decide what I want to investigate further when I have thechance.”“[…] Im afraid I havent been very innovative this semester - more of the same stuff -Forums, Journal etc. […]I have to say I am not a great fan of Facebook. If you haventchecked in in a couple of days, it doesnt show you ALL the activity. . If only people wouldmove over to Google Plus...”“No would be the answer. […]I did put a help forum on my moodle page for each of myclasses, but so far no posts. Some of the activities on social networking dont lend themselvesto some engineering courses, my subject are mathematical (programming etc.) so getting 20
  21. 21. them programming versus discussions for me is better, I would like to encourage more of theproblem solving forum as this could be good but so far no joy.”The conclusions one could draw from the first iteration of this module, is that educators areactively seeking new ways to connect with students and social media may provide themwith a channel that is both familiar and appealing. The on-going narrative from academicsindicates that communication and interaction are central themes in our teaching. While weare at different places in this social media stream and may indeed be digital immigrants, weare also the gatekeepers of these technologies within education. Recognising that thechange is already here and we must adapt or lose contact with future generations is animportant decision that academics must make.First year student engagementHaving discussed the relevance of social media within the community of educators, it wasappropriate to explore what learners thought and to this end a survey of first year studentswas carried out during a 10 day period in October 2011 in Athlone Institute of Technology inan attempt to find out a little more about the social media habits of students arriving intoHigher Education, and whether they believe there could be cross-over between theirpersonal networks and their formal learning. Ruth Page (2011) refers to a recent JISC study 3in the UK which showed that “while undergraduate students engaged actively with socialmedia in their personal lives, they weren’t always sure of its relevance to their learning”. Thispilot survey focused on ascertaining if this was also true of Irish students entering third leveleducation.First years were chosen primarily because they have spent their teenage years in thecompany of Bebo and Facebook, and would fit the description of Prensky’s digital nativeperfectly. According to Prensky (2010), these digital natives have adopted new technologiesreadily, using them to create and communicate within their own online and offlinenetworks. Baird & Fisher (2005) refer to the “neomillenial student”, who is part of a worldwhere smartphones are ubiquitous, social networking sites their preferred means ofcommunication and always-on connectivity allows access to a global learning community.The survey was distributed to students on a range of programmes across the four Schoolswithin the Institute, namely Business, Humanities, Science and Engineering Respondents(n=202) included a mix of mature students (<23 years) (25%) and school leavers (39%). Themajority of respondents were female, with only 25% of respondents male.Initially, they were asked if they had heard of or if they had an account with a range of socialmedia sites.3 Joint Information Systems Committee, with the aim of encouraging the use of digital technology in research,teaching and learning. See 21
  22. 22. Interestingly, a number of students hadn’t considered their VLE to have a social mediaelement until this point. Also, everyone who completed the survey had heard of Google,Facebook and YouTube, whilst a large number had never heard of the two most popularblogging tools, Wordpress and Blogger (155, 102 respondents respectively) or the virtualworld Second Life (156 respondents).Students were also asked about their usage patterns on their favourite social media sitesand not surprisingly, Facebook was the most popular, followed by Google and YouTube.How often would you access the site you rated your most favourite? About Several Several Once per Never Less often once per times per times a day week week dayNo. of 0 0 3 39 40 117respondentsWhat did you do on your last visit to a social networking site (e.g. Facebook, Bebo, MySpace,LinkedIn, etc.)? 22
  23. 23. Moving from their personal space into education, students were asked if they had used any of the social media tools listed as part of their coursework. Google Docs Micro-blogs Networking YouTube realities Moodle Forums Virtual games Social Social Email Blogs SitesNo. of 59 79 7 80 15 40 8 2 131 188respondents There has been a notable increase in the use of YouTube as a teaching tool, with 39% of respondents saying they had used YouTube as part of their coursework. The collaborative tool, Google Docs was used by 40% of respondents, but one wonders if the initiative was led by the instructors or the students. Interestingly, while Moodle has been adopted by the Institute as the VLE of choice, only 93% said they had used it for their coursework, where one would expect usage to be at 100%. Finally, students were asked if they thought that the activities listed should be included as part of their coursework: 23
  24. 24. Again, it is interesting to note that in most cases students were in favour of using these newchannels within an educational context, with both social networks (52%) and online videos(62%) garnering most support.ConclusionOur educational system exists within an ever-changing social and economic environment. InIreland, the National Strategy for Higher Education (NSHE) was borne out of a need forrationalisation and will shape our educational system of the future. This report makesreference to the role that technology will play in the ‘institutional change’ to come. Bradwell(2009), quoted in the NSHE, 2011, p.48, suggests that “the internet, social networks,collaborative online tools that allow people to work together more easily, and open access tocontent are both the cause of change for universities, and a tool with which they canrespond”.Over the course of our professional lives as educators, the tools we will use to reach ourstudents will change a number of times, yet each tool will be approached with caution, untilits usefulness within education is clearly identified. But for now our generation of studentsis, to quote Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, “WTF – Wiki Twitter Facebook”.ReferencesAmas (2011) State of the Net. [Internet], 21. Available from: [Accessed 10thOctober, 2011].Baird D. and Fisher M. (2005) Neo-millennial user experience design strategies: utilizingsocial networking media to support "always on" learning styles. Journal of EducationalTechnology Systems, 34 (1), pp. 5 – 32. 24
  25. 25. Bradwell, Peter. (2009) The Edgeless University – Why Higher Education must EmbraceTechnology London: Demos 2009, p.8. See Quoted inDepartment of Education. (2011) National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 [ONLINE]Available at: [Accessed 18November 2011]Bloom’s digital taxonomy concept map [Online image]. Available from: < >Forment, M. (2007) A Social Constructionist Approach to Learning Communities: Moodle. In:Lytras, M and Ambjörn Naeve. ed. Open Source for Knowledge and Learning Management:Strategies Beyond Tools. London, Idea Group Publishing, pp.369- 380.Kaplan A., and Haenlein, M. (2010) Users of the world, unite! The challenges andopportunities of social media. Business Horizons 53 (1), pp.59-68.Kapranos, P. (2007) 21st Century Teaching & Learning Kolb Cycle & Reflective Thinking aspart of teaching, creativity, innovation, enterprise and ethics to engineers. In: InternationalSymposium for Engineering Education, 2007, Dublin. Dublin, Dublin City University, pp.3-11.Learning Innovation Network Flexible Pathway to Progression [Online image]. Availablefrom: <>Morrison, C. (2011) An In-Depth Look at the Social Gaming Industry’s Performance and Prospects onFacebook [Online]. Available at:[Accessed 9 October 2011].Nelson, P. (2010) From Friendster To MySpace To Facebook: The Evolution and Deaths OfSocial Networks [Online]. Available at: [Accessed 12th October 2011].Priego, E. (2011) How Twitter will revolutionise academic research and teaching. HigherEducation Network 12 September [Internet blog]. Available from: < > [Accessed 21 October 2011]Social Media Landscape. (2008) [Online image]. Available from:< > [Accessed 10thOctober 2011]. 25
  26. 26. Watters, A. (2010) Number of Virtual World Users Breaks 1 Billion, Roughly Half Under Age15 [Online]. Available at: [Accessed 12th October 2011].Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9 (5) October, pp. 1-6._______________________________________________________ Shared Social Video in Higher Education ‘Blended’ Business Programmes Denis Cullinane Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and TechnologyIntroductionThe term ‘Web 2.0’ was first used by O’Reilly Media (OReilly, 2005) as a means of capturingthe evolution of the web to what has also been called the ‘read/write web’ or ‘the socialweb’. ‘Web 2.0’ is used to describe web applications and services such as blogs, wikis, socialbookmarking/tagging, content management and collaboration, social networking sites,virtual worlds and digital media sharing sites such as Flickr and YouTube. ‘Web 2.0’ or ‘SocialWeb’ is being increasingly used internationally in nearly all areas of higher education,including academic, administrative and support areas (Franklin & Armstrong, 2008).YouTube has been one of the most successful media sharing ‘Web 2.0’ sites since itsinception in April 2005, and is estimated to have more than 1bn ‘views’ of its video contentper day. Many media outlets and educational institutions now have dedicated channels onYouTube for their video content.Although YouTube is primarily perceived as an entertainment video site, it has a growingvolume of educational video content posted by educators, students and professionals fromall sectors of business and education. It was this ever growing number of ‘educationalvideos’ on YouTube and other video sharing sites like Vimeo, TED, and Blip TV thatcontributed to the impetus for this study. This research was conducted to explore thestudent experience of using ‘Web 2.0’ or social media shared video in blended businesseducation. Approximately 155-160 videos from digital media sharing sites were used tointroduce emerging Internet and new media applications and technologies to business,enterprise and arts management students. The majority of the videos were from socialmedia sharing sites such as YouTube, TED, and Blip TV. The videos were used extensively inthe classroom and online in the Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).There were two objectives for this study:- To explore the use of shared social media videos as part of an eLearning resource in a blended business classroom scenario. 26
  27. 27. To monitor and obtain student opinions on the eLearning resource used in class and online on the Blackboard VLE as part of the teaching and learning of ‘Web 2.0’ or ‘Social Media’ applications as tools for the worlds of business, enterprise and arts management.The research methods that were used in the study were:- Ongoing observation of student use of the video content in computer laboratory sessions. Semi-structured ‘in situ’ interviews with individuals and small groups of students at the end of the term. All the interviews were digitally recorded. Analysis of written reflective review reports at end of year from students on their usage of the VLE and other applications incorporating a section on the video content used to introduce the concept of ‘Web 2.0’ Apps and other learning related material.Results and DiscussionThe study resulted in qualitative data from observations, interviews, and written reportsfrom 108 of a potential 140 students across three cohorts. Coding of the statements wasconducted to provide a method for identifying trends in the student attitudes about theonline resource and its video content in particular. Qualitative analysis was limited toidentification of recurring themes in the students’ responses across all data sets; datagathered by observations of students use in-class, data gathered from semi-structuredinterviews, and data gathered from Year End Report comments on video content in thecourse.Analysis of the gathered data was by transcription of all observations and interviews andthen repeated processing of the statements to identify themes. This was achieved byextracting statements that were all commenting on the same key issues - technical,navigational, and educational. These extracts were combined with extracts of commentsmade in written review reports submitted by students at year end. The range of themes thatemerged from the data analysis is summarized and discussed under the following headings:- Technical Implications of VLE Embedded Video Content Screen Design Considerations Educational Value of Shared Social Video Curriculum Design Implications of Shared Social VideoTechnical Implications of VLE Embedded Video ContentObservation of student usage of the video content embedded in the VLE revealed thatinitially there were a number of issues interfering with the effectiveness of the online videocontent in the lecture and laboratory sessions. Access to the VLE was problematic for many students in the first 3 months of the year due to password, account, server or Java applet issues. Delays in the loading of video content, if accessed through the VLE, while direct access to the source site was often quicker. This encouraged students to ‘double click’ on the embedded video in the VLE and then access the source site directly thus ‘by passing’ any associated text or links in the VLE interface. Students reported that such delays only occurred while accessing the VLE video on campus. 27
  28. 28. Audio element of video was not accessible on campus as students may not have personal earphones and library PCs may not have sound cards installed. Thus students were often reliant on the in-built sound systems in the classrooms and computer labs to hear the content of video chosen by lecturer. It took some time for students to become familiar with the practicalities of using multimedia in their learning routine as they did not use such features to any great extent in other business modules. Issues around browser compatibility with VLE also had some effect on the user experience as various browser applications such as Opera & Firefox often rendered the VLE screen layout differently.Observing the student engagement with the VLE was an opportunity to assist and guidetheir exploration and to gather informal feedback and make ‘field notes’. Some continuedto report ‘technical issues’ throughout the study. Similar issues have been reported byWilliams (2002) as being one of the major barriers to students using technology and havebeen highlighted in the JISC Info Kit website entitled Effective Use of Virtual LearningEnvironments (2009).Screen Design ConsiderationsNavigation limitations of the VLE module interface were strongly evident. As the homepageinterface was being developed on an ongoing basis there were often times when theinterface was challenging for students to navigate through. Thus screen design in the VLEcan be a barrier to student learning with online video, which has to be overcome. Whilesome students disliked the user interface of the VLE and decided to bypass the VLE andaccess videos directly on the source sites, other students liked the pre-selection of videosfrom the multitude that are on the source sites such as YouTube. They appreciated the workconducted in selecting the videos and the structure or scaffolding that the VLE gave to theuse of video in their learning. This may be due to the VLE interface acting as a kind of blinkerto filter out the surrounding distracting content on source sites.These findings are consistent with findings of Kay and Knaack (2007) that ‘organization ofthe layout, learner control, clear instructions and theme were critical hotspots where theuse of learning objects enhanced or inhibited learning’ (p.24). Poor navigational design isoften included under the general heading of poor usability, but navigational complexity wassingled out as a particular problem in VLEs by several respondents in a study by Dunn(2003).The empirical study by Parizotto-Ribeiro, Hammond, Mansano, & Cziulik, (2004) found apositive relationship between aesthetics and perceived usability when using a VLE. Theimplementation of instruction design principles and procedures is thus ever more importantin an increasingly complex blended learning environment incorporating online shared socialmedia such as video.Educational Value of Shared Social VideoOf the 107 students who submitted reports 76% commented positively on the video contentin the VLE with 24% not commenting on the use of video in the online resource supportingthe programmes. 28
  29. 29. There was a range of opinions and attitudes expressed in the interviews and the reportstowards the video content and the medium through which it was delivered. Videos are notfor everyone and about 24% of students appeared to be indifferent to them and did not usethem to any great extent as they may have considered video a waste of time in aneducational context.This seems to concur with Carvin (2007) and Snelson and Perkin’s (2009) reports oneducational value and that, for some students, the use of social video is not serious enoughin an educational setting and they may consider it as detrimental in terms of time.Conversely about 76% of students believed that videos are a good way to learn, a differentway to learn, a break from reading lots of text and a good way to get ‘the big picture’ on theuse of Internet Applications in business. This is consistent with the findings of Conole et al(2008) that ‘students are using a different range of e-learning strategies and appropriatingthe tools to meet their own needs’ (p.522).Of the 81(76%) students, who commented critically on the online video content, all weregenerally favourable for mostly the same reasons that online video is easy and interesting touse in a learning situation. This is in alignment with research showing that nearly four-fifthsof college students (79%) agree that the Internet has a positive impact on their collegeexperience (Jones, 2002).Curriculum Design Implications of Shared Social VideoThe reasons for 26 (24%) of students not making any comment on the video content in theirreports can only be deduced from observations made in-class and by some of the negativecomments received in both the interviews and in the reports.Videos need to be relevant and related to learning activities and assessment; they need tobe short and direct. They may not engage many of the learners unless they have specificrelevant information. The need for such video to be ‘coupled with hands on learning’, asindicated by Duffy (2008, p.125) and also argued by Karpinnen (2005) and the seminal workof Laurillard (1993) in which she argues that ‘knowledge must be used in authentic activityin order to form a full understanding of the knowledge and how it operated’ (p.17).Most students also seemed to prefer good quality and short duration videos as firstindicated by research into educational film in the 1920s as described by Saettler (2004).Snelson & Perkins (2009) indicate how ‘the idea of short single concept film relates well tothe current video clip phenomenon’ (p.11).Conclusions and RecommendationsThe range of shared online video content suitable for use in Higher Education is becomingextensive and is likely to do so over the coming years. Incorporating such video into thelearning environment is also becoming easier. However as outlined by Karppinen (2005),Snelson (2008)and Bonk (2008) videos are just one component in the complexity of ablended classroom activity. 29
  30. 30. In this study a range of approximately 160 social media shared videos were used in ablended business classroom to introduce students to emerging new media Internetapplications and technologies. In the face-to-face classroom or computer laboratory it wasobserved that these videos were an important asset in attracting and maintaining studentattention and creating a context for learning tasks and discussions in business related topics.In the blended business classroom online video is only part of the learning mix and there areadvantages and disadvantages in the use of such video online in the Blackboard VLE. Thedesign of the VLE user interface needs to be monitored to ensure that it is user friendly andsupportive of the learning process. In today’s world of engaging social media sites likeFacebook and Twitter the danger of information overload and subsequent learner switch offis very apparent. However there is also a possible advantage of the VLE, which can act asfilter to remove related distracting information and replace it with information to guide thelearning tasks and activities associated with an embedded video.The purpose and content of the video has to be apparent to students. Some students mayhave low expectations of what can be learned from video and may not be visual learners.Thus the content needs to be both relevant and be seen to be relevant. Linking activity withthe video appears to be important to most learners as highlighted by Karppinen (2005).In this study it would appear that many higher education business students like the conceptof learning with shared social video but it needs to be short in duration, relevant, focusedand linked with assessment and learning outcomes. Students appear to like the addition ofvideo to the mix of learning materials in a blended classroom but also need guidance andsupport in using it to maximum effect. The design of the user interfaces and the learningactivities and assessment procedures are key to its success.From the lecturer angle it is a time consuming process to pre-select videos for use inteaching and online virtual learning and it might be better to allow the students to becomeinvolved in this process and thus become active in constructing their own perspective on theknowledge of a particular subject or topic. In the year following this study, a videoproduction project was built into the assessment for one cohort of students and it provedvery successful. Thus the task was moving in the direction advised by Karppinen (2005) ofbeing active, constructive, collaborative, conservational, contextual, guided, emotionallyinvolving and engaging.More research, like that of Burden and Atkinson (2007, 2008 ) on developing a videolearning designs framework to engage learners in higher level cognitive activities using tendifferent ‘learning designs’ in a variety of ‘learning spaces’, is required. Their initial learningdesigns included stimulation-engagement, narrative or storytelling, collaborative,conceptual, problem solving, student authoring, empathy or role play and figurative orallegorical uses of video.This increasing use of social web-based video in education indicates the need for evaluationstudies designed to investigate the potential value or pitfalls in this rapidly evolvingphenomenon (Snelson, 2008). The kinds of ‘digital pedagogies’ that work in these digitalsocial spaces and how they are perceived and experienced by students was one of thequestions remaining to be answered (Hemmi, Bayne, & Land, 2009). Further research is also 30
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  38. 38. What makes physics difficult. Ornek, F., Robinson, W. and Haugan, M. 2008. 2008, InternationalJournal of Environmental and Science Education, pp. 30-34.YouTube comes to the classroom. Adam, A and Mowers, H. 2007. 50, 2007, School Library Journal,pp. 408-412.YouTube Dilemmas: The Appropriaton of User-Generated Online Videos in Teaching and Learning.Lorencova, Viera. 2008. 1, s.l. : Worchester Edu/Currents, 2008, Vol. 1, pp. 62-71.YouTube: An Innovative Learning Resource for College Health Education Courses. Burke, Sloane Cand Synder, Shonna L. 2008. 11, 2008, International Electronic Journal of Health Education, pp. 39-46._______________________________________________________ Action Accounting: supporting the first year student Frances Boylan, Tony Kiely, Alice Luby Dublin Institute of TechnologyIntroductionThe Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) is one of the largest and most innovative highereducation (HE) institutions in Ireland with over 1,545 academic staff and approximately20,000 registered students. Emphasising distinction in learning, teaching, scholarship,research, and support for entrepreneurship, DIT combines the academic excellence of atraditional university with career-focussed learning and discovery. It is also committed tonurturing innovation and creativity and making higher education accessible to all( All efforts to facilitate student-centred learning,enhance the first year experience, and improve first year retention rates, are whole-heartedly supported, and indeed encouraged, at DIT. In addition, given the government’splan to double by 2013 the number of students with sensory, physical and multipledisabilities participating in HE, DIT is faced currently with the challenge of promoting aninclusive learning environment and supporting its staff adapt their teaching approaches toaccommodate these students.This paper details a project initiated by a cross-faculty group of accounting lecturers whowere concerned about the number of first year students experiencing difficulties withaccounting modules and so not engaging with the subject, particularly those for whom thetraditional classroom setting can prove a barrier to their learning. Furthermore, the needs ofdyslexic students became apparent early in the project and so their specific learning needswere factored in also.Anxious to improve and enhance the learning experience of these students, and encouragedby the body of research available on the educational value of simulations and games forlearning, the team explored the feasibility of developing interactive online accounting 38