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Nesting in, taking flight: Embedding innovation and inspiring new practice with distance Masters students in the DUCKLING project


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I presented this paper at the University of Greenwich Enhanced and Transformed E-Learning Conference, 6 July 2011. It is based on the DUCKLING project in which Masters students' learning was enhanced by use of podcasts, voice boards, ebook readers, and Second Life. The DUCKLING project website is

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Nesting in, taking flight: Embedding innovation and inspiring new practice with distance Masters students in the DUCKLING project

  1. 1. Nesting in, taking flight: Embedding innovation and inspiring new practice with distance Masters students in the DUCKLING project Terese Bird, Beyond Distance Research AllianceEnhanced and Transformed – University of Greenwich – 6 July 2011
  2. 2. DUCKLING: Delivering University Curriculum: Knowledge, Learning and INnovation Gains• 3 distance programmes: – One MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL – Two MSc in Occupational Psychology Podcasting Wimba Voice Board Sony E-book readers Second Life• Challenges: - Engagement - Support - Flexibility and mobility - Reduce isolation - Enable transfer of theory into practice
  3. 3. Second Life Psychology – the oil rig activitySimulation Role-play Education – Observing English classes at languagelab InteractionNear-authenticenvironment
  4. 4. Ebook Readers£600 v £240 How to convert documents:
  5. 5. Ebook Readers: Students’ Comments•“The nature of distance learning means you have to squeeze instudy whenever you have time. Having textbooks and journalarticles stored together so conveniently is much better than reamsof paper on a packed commuter train in Osaka. “•I find that the e-book reader has become an integral part of myday in particular situations. …I sit and start reading the materialIve loaded and take notes on what interests me. The reader,then, has given me more study time during the day. Its nice tohave the corpus of material I am working on loaded onto a singledevice…and get a kind of "big picture" from doing this. Ive alsogotten into the habit of carrying my reader with me everywhere,and if Im in a situation where Im waiting for 20 minutes I willautomatically open the reader.
  6. 6. Podcasts: Nesting in
  7. 7. VoiceBoards: Nesting in
  8. 8. Post-DUCKLING Taking Flight Psychology: Draft Dissertation Feedback PodcastsStudent: “I found the podcast useful because it was much clearer tome what the improvements were that I could make and it gave memore detail and specific examples than the written feedback. Ithelped me to identify the most important themes in the feedbackwhich is also more difficult to do from the written feedback alone. “Staff: “…not a single one of our dissertation students has neededan extension this year (this is unheard of and a very pleasantsurprise!). All those who have not suspended have handed in theirfinal dissertations on time. The only difference from previous yearsis that all have had access to the feedback podcasts on their draftdissertations. “
  9. 9. Post-DUCKLING Taking Flight Education: VoiceBoards, VoiceThread, Wikis, Web ConferencingStudent: “In Module 1 and 2 I read quite a bit. But thismodule, I read a lot more. Because I think partly I don’t wantto come across not having read material on the voice board…I don’t know whether it’s a case of not wanting to look stupidbecause your voice is on the voice board.”Staff: “I found this very stimulating. I really enjoyed hearingthe voices of the students. Often this distance course feelsquite remote because we are just in communication bywriting. [But with the voice board] it sort of would come tolife. We could often measure the degree of emotionalinvolvement of some of the students.”
  10. 10. Onward and upward Challenges in Podcasting Second Life (SL) E-book readers Wimba Voice Board curriculum deliveryIncrease interaction   - Improve learner   - engagementImprove learner  - - supportNeed for mobility  -  -Need for flexibility    -Need for transferring -  - -theories into practice