Arts eLearning are currently working on the research projects listed below. Six of these projects were first presented at the CoCo symposium in September 2009, two are Cross-Faculty TIES projects and one joint TIPS project.
- Engaging students through reflective online group interactions - Kylie Archer
- Do current professional development programs for blended learning in Higher Education cater for the needs of mainstream teachers? - Marie-Therese Barbaux
- Exploring Unit of Study Coordinators’ pedagogical approaches and their integration of blended learning environments in curricula design - Christine Crowe
- Leveraging off the shelf language podcasts: how do ability, opportunity and motivation drive beginner language students to use online media outside the classroom? - Charles Humblet
- Blending Online Discussion into Curricula - Sam Ozay
- Student usage patterns of recorded lectures - Bec Plumbe
- Enhancing Hass Students' Experiences Through Blended Learning Opportunities - Marie-Therese Barbaux, cross-Faculty TIES grant
- Blended Assessment for Student Engagement in the Faculties of Arts and Economics & Business - Marie-Therese Barbaux, cross-Faculty TIES grant
- Integrating Off-The-Shelf Language Learning Podcasts into the Curriculum: a Typology for Digital Wisdom - Charles Humblet
- Implementing Plagiarism Policy: Promoting a Teaching and Learning Approach to Students’ Academic Integrity - Christine Crowe
Conference location and details: AACE Global Learn 2010 - Global Conference on Learning and Teaching, Penang, Malaysia, 17-20 May.
Abstracts of Research Projects
Engaging students through reflective online group interactions - Kylie Archer ....more details
This study analyses the relationship between collaborative reflection and student engagement, with the reflective task completed in a blended, online environment. It investigates the nature of student engagement in general and in an online environment, and explores its impact on students’ perceptions of effective learning. The study also examines the role of reflection in online collaborative interactions. How does the opportunity to participate in an online reflective writing group help students engage in their own learning and that of others?
Do current professional development programs for blended learning in Higher Education cater for the needs of mainstream teachers? - Marie-Therese Barbaux ....more details
There is now extensive literature on the adoption of educational technology and blended learning in higher education, and the challenging transition between the early adoption phase and adoption by the majority. Although the development of e-learning, and its role as an agent of change, has figured highly in institutional strategic plans, the scaling up of pilot projects and the sharing and mainstreaming of good practices has remained a real challenge for universities. A deep chasm between the innovators/early adopters and ‘mainstream teachers’ has been documented over the last few decades (Rogers (1995), Moore (1991), Geoghegan (1994), Anderson et al. (1998), Zemsky& Massy (2004)) and fundamental differences in their needs highlighted.
The aim of this project is to determine whether the characteristics of current models of academic professional development programs in blended learning engage mainstream teachers or are mostly aimed at early adopters of educational technology.
Exploring Unit of Study Coordinators’ pedagogical approaches and their integration of blended learning environments in curricula design... - Christine Crowe ....more details
The introduction of blended learning environments in higher education institutions offers new learning opportunities for students but successful integration into curricula involves unit of study coordinators reflecting upon their pedagogical reasoning and developing new forms of pedagogical approaches. This study explores unit of study coordinators’ motivations for using the technological affordances of blended learning environments with a focus on the extent to which the introduction of such technology has influenced changes in pedagogical reasoning and practices.
Curricula design that reflect new pedagogical approaches to learning and teaching may include:
- increased use of team work for collaborative learning,
- more active and meaningful learning activities and assessment,
- increased use of formative assessment,
- a shift from teacher-developed to collaborative development of content, and
- a general increase in student self-regulation of their learning.
The research will use interviews with unit of study coordinators whose curricula reflect new pedagogic approaches to gather their perceptions of whether their pedagogical reasoning has changed since using blended learning environments, and outline patterns of such changes. Analysis of patterns which lead to changes in pedagogic reasoning will be used to develop strategies and policies that will facilitate the effective integration of blended learning environments into curricula.
Leveraging off the shelf language podcasts: how do ability, opportunity and motivation drive beginner language students to use online media outside the classroom? - Charles Humblet ....more details
Do students use off-the-shelf podcasts for language learning? Students may have the iPods and the smart phones but are they using them for accessing learning materials such as language podcasts? Does the type of motivation for learning a language have an impact on students’ use of language podcasts?
This study explores student perspectives of extra-curricular online materials, focusing on beginners’ language podcasts. The overall aim of the study is, through the development of an evaluation instrument, to assist academics in recommending appropriate language podcasts to their students, as well as integrating existing language podcasts into their curriculum.
Blending Online Discussion into Curricula - Sam Ozay ....more details
Online asynchronous discussion is widely used in higher education settings to engage students in discursive communication, collaboration, and reflection. It has been adopted as a practical tool for extending the learning environment beyond the classroom and creating a continuum of learning. Thepedagogical sustainability of online asynchronous discussion however is dependent on how well it is designed, and integrated, to generate an effective blendedlearning environment. A vast majority of the literature on online discussion is presented in the form of practice-based studies that mainly focus on the technology and its uses. There appears to be a need for educational research that focuses on the relationship between face-to-face and online learning, with particular attention given to the nature of their integration.
The main purpose of the study is to identify the key elements of blending online discussion into curricula as a pedagogically sound assessment tool. The study focuses on aspects of learning design and on two major considerations: how the activity is designed to assist students in meeting learning objectives, and how the activity is integrated into curricula as an assessable component.
Student usage patterns of recorded lectures - Bec Plumbe ....more details
Lecturers report that students vociferously request online lecture recordings. However, many lecturers are reluctant to provide such materials as they feel that lecture attendance will drop. Additionally, research suggests that while many students request such materials, closer inspection of usage patterns reveal that relatively few students access relatively few recordings. Student usage patterns of recorded lectures will be analysed to see whether this pattern currently occurs in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney. Usage patterns will be compared to assessment tasks in each unit of study. Data from the lecture recording system logs will be compared to information gathered by interviewing the lecturers. Student usage patterns of recorded lectures will be discussed with reference to assessment and teaching methods. It is hoped that this study may reveal some student behaviour patterns that can help provide teachers with evidence-based strategies for best use of recorded lectures as part of their broader pedagogy in a given unit of study.
Overview of TIPS Grant
Supporting student learning and quality teaching through best practice use of plagiarism detection software: Implementing the new Academic Board policy - Christine Crowe, joint TIPS grant ....more details
Developing academic honesty and avoiding the consequences, for the institution and its students, of plagiarism is a critical issue in current teaching and assessment practice at the University of Sydney. In 2009 the Academic Board recognised this and revised the university’s previous two policies on plagiarism and added a new feature covering the use of plagiarism detection software (PDS). The development of the policy was accompanied by considerable debate amongst staff and students. It was apparent that current uses of PDS are highly variable across the university and while some practices may support student learning and constitute quality teaching, many do not. The proposed project is a collaboration between faculty experts, the ITL, the Learning Centre and the SRC and if funded would have the support of the Chair of Academic Board who has expressed his interest at being involved. It will (i) report on current PDS practice across all faculties (a requirement of the new policy) and (ii) through collaborative inquiry based in the faculties, identify how different uses of software impact on the quality of teaching and the quality of the student learning experience and student learning outcomes. Building on this (iii) the project will develop and disseminate best practice guidelines and resources to support teachers in using PDS in ways which enhance the quality of both teaching and learning.
Overview of TIES Grants
Enhancing Hass Students' Experiences Through Blended Learning Opportunities - Marie-Therese Barbaux, cross-Faculty TIES grant ....more details
As student face-to-face interaction decreases and class sizes increase, the opportunities offered by eLearning are becoming critical to the student learning experience. This two-year, four-Faculty, project aims to create an environment that is conducive to the development of blended learning frameworks and engage students in a rich and diverse learning environment. The majority of online units of study in the four faculties are still mainly supplemental to face to face teaching (Mode A) and do not provide opportunities for student interaction and collaborative construction of knowledge (Mode B). The project is designing and trialling a blended learning professional development model across the four faculties that explores (1) the right mix between discipline specific and interdisciplinary activities, and individual and group assistance and (2) ways to ensure sustainability in the development of Mode B units beyond the life of the project.
Blended Assessment for Student Engagement in the Faculties of Arts and Economics & Business - Marie-Therese Barbaux, cross-Faculty TIES grant ....more details
Assessment is a key driver to student learning. Time poor students manage their learning around “what counts”. The forms, frequency and parameters of assessment have therefore a determinant role in scaffolding and giving direction to student learning.
This two-year project proposes a blended approach to assessment, across two large faculties and within degree programs, aimed at keeping students engaged in high level learning. It will develop and trial an approach to academic development along degree program boundaries and centred around the blending of assessment activities, their articulation in ‘patterns’ and their explicit linking to general attributes through the use of a specialised online program called ReView.
Abstracts of Conference Papers
Integrating Off-The-Shelf Language Learning Podcasts into the Curriculum: a Typology for Digital Wisdom by Charles Humblet
This paper reports on a work-in-progress project about the integration of Off-The-Shelf (OTS) Language Learning Podcasts into the curriculum of Higher Education Institutions. It argues for a measure of digital wisdom in order to go beyond the digital natives debate where students are seen as digital natives using mobile devices and teachers as digital immigrants trying to catch up with the technology. This paper argues that pedagogy should come first and should not be overshadowed by technology. Pedagogy needs to be the basis for establishing a typology of OTS Language Learning Podcasts and for evaluating their potential for language learning and integration into university courses.
Implementing Plagiarism Policy: Promoting a Teaching and Learning Approach to Students’ Academic Integrity - by Christine Crowe
In 2009 the Academic Board at the University of Sydney revised its previous policies on student plagiarism and included a new feature addressing the use of ‘plagiarism detection software’ (PDS). The ensuing policy anticipates the possibility of university-wide introduction of the academic integrity monitoring software Turnitin (TII). Although the policy focuses on the educational value of the use of PDS rather than a policing approach, the implementation of the policy to ensure this orientation is complex. This paper outlines a university-wide project to facilitate the implementation of the Academic Board policy to ensure that all faculties can make informed decisions concerning the best practice use of PDS to facilitate student learning and quality teaching. The project will contribute to research in that it will provide evidence as to how the current diverse practices of the uses of PDS, both positive and negative, affect student learning and teachers’ pedagogic practices.