TOM FARRELLY, SARAH O’TOOLEAND TONY MURPHYInstitute of Technology, Tralee
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary(2007) defines a catalyst as “an agent thatfacilitates a change”.In our case, the catalyst for change was themanner in which we responded to real-time student feedback.
Real-time feedback influenced the natureand manner of the response to technicaltroubleshootingHowever, an unexpected outcome of theexperience was the manner in whichresponding to real-time feedback changedroles and processes.
Fisher and Miller (2008) - early collection ofdata allows educators to respond to uniqueconcerns so that potential problems are notallowed to develop.Expectations of the students – Generation ZStudents learn best when they activelyconstruct their own knowledge (Beuckmanet al. 2007).
The WorkbooksThe PlatformThe CohortProfileIssuesSurveyResponsesThe SurveyDiscussionA New Team –RedefinedRolesConclusion
The target population was drawn from threeundergraduate first year student groups:Social Care (n= 64),Early Childhood Care & Education (n= 39) andYouth & Community Work (n = 30)Thus totalling 133 students, who were allundertaking the Introduction to Social ResearchMethods module.
Utilising the college’s VLE - Blackboard, thee-learning element was intended to beused by students in an independentmannerWhile these students had been introducedto accessing their notes online through the(VLE) they had not used learning resourcesas their main source of learning materialbefore.
Three online interactive‘workbooks’ that werepublished within an Articulate(www.articulate.com) platform.Each ‘page’ of the workbookincorporated some form ofonline teaching element suchas: an embeddedvideo, hyperlinks to ebooksand/or a websites, directedreflectiveactivities, assessments, interactive quizzes, reading materialand PowerPoint presentationvideos.
As soon as each of the three workbooks wentlive, a hyperlink to each survey (one perworkbook) was made available via Blackboard inthe research methods module and via an emailsent to all class members.The survey was created in SurveyMonkey™ andconsisted of five questions; four closedquestions relating to functionality and technicalissues, and a fifth open-ended question whichallowed for free comments.
“Great learning activity” (Workbook 1)“I found it very easy to use and had noproblems at all” (Workbook 1)“Very easy to understand and easy to access”(Workbook 2)“This is one of the best ways of learning I haveever experienced. I love it.” (Workbook 2)“Made the learning easier” (Workbook 3)
“It would have been much more helpful if a person could pausewhen they need to take down a note, instead of having to startat the very beginning every time”.“The only inconvenience was not being able to pause mid-slidewhen interrupted”“Couldn’t get sent through to the ebrary, but do like the idea ofbeing directed to a specific text as you are going through theworkbook”“I could not access the ebrary. It said I needed to be in theTralee area”
“The only problem experienced at any stage wasaccessing the first book on stats from home whichwas rectified and gaining access was no bother”(Workbook 3)“The fact that I could now pause the videos was verygood” (Workbook 1)“Had a problem the first night on accessing ebrarybook links but this seemed to have been rectified thesecond night” (Workbook 2)
Sims (2006) asked “how valuable might strategies bewhere students are the proactive providers ofcontent, not just recipients?” (p.2).The real-time feedback did more than simply helptroubleshoot; it provided the student with a place atthe table during the development stages.If we are going to encourage more staff to engage, weneed to have an easier more flexible and moreresponsive process.Half the battle: there is little point in having theresponses from students without having the ability toproduce an integrated quick response.
Locally, this project led to the development of ateam with redefined roles for each member.Instructional Designer‘Emblended’ LibrarianLecturer
A large percentage of their work involves trainingacademic staff members on the different applications andtools that are available.They also work with a lecturer on the development of aresource, which once complete is given to the lecturerand the instructional designer has no more to do with it.Generally, instructional designers do not get the chanceto engage with the end user of the resource (thestudent).Getting the real-time feedback from the students andthen incorporating it into the workbooks allowed theinstructional designer to become more aware of the endusers’ needs
Embedded Librarian - “to remainrelevant, academic libraries must go wherethe students and faculty are” (Gibbons2005).‘Blended Librarian’ encourage academiclibrarians to integrate instructional designand technology skills into their existinglibrary and information technology skillset. – (Bell & Frank 2004)
Lecturers trying to incorporate e-learning intotheir teaching and learning strategy, but largelyworking alone, run the risk of burnout andsimply giving up.They also risk diluting the core value of whatthey have to offer the design process by tryingto do everything.Early adopters may become the largelydisillusioned
Gathering feedback is only worthwhile if youhave the ability to respond and incorporate thefindings.A new generation of students, “for whomtechnology IS the environment and for wholearning means different things” Sims (2006 p. 2).If e-learning is to move from being a peripheralto a mainstream activity for the vast majority oflecturers, a more supportive model than iscurrently being offered is necessary.
Beuckman, J, Rebello, N and Zollman, D. 2007. Impact of a Classroom InteractionSystem on Student Learning. AIP Conference Proceedings 883: 129-132.Bell Steven J. and Shank, Shank. 2004. The blended librarian: A blueprint forredefining the teaching and learning role of academic librarians. College and ResearchLibraries News July/August 2004: 372-375.Fisher, R. and Miller D. 2008. Responding to student expectations: a partnershipapproach to course evaluation. Assessment & Evaluation In Higher Education. 332:191-202.Gibbons, S. 2005. Integration of Libraries and Course-Management Systems. LibraryTechnology Reports 413: 12-20.Sims, R. 2006. Beyond instructional design: Making learning design a reality. Journalof Learning Design 12: 1-7. Accessed 30/05/2012.http://www.jld.qut.edu.au/publications/vol1no2/documents/beyond%20instructional%20design.pdf.Shorter Oxford English Dictionary: On historical principles Vol 1. 2007. 6th ed. Oxford:Oxford University Press.