Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Focus group background theory.

This is a useful resource in outlining a psychological framework for running and analysis of focus groups. The paper is on the student perception of plagiarism. The references to procedure and data analysis are worth following up

Gullifer et al [2010] exploring university students' perceptions of plagiarism; a focus group study. SHE 35, 4, 463-481

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Thursday, 16 September 2010

Using cricket clickers

The first time we tried this the laptop went into hiberation. The usb dongle then needed to be unplugged and the software restarted. I only worked this out later so the first session didn't go ahead.
The activity was done on paper with only a few students confident enough to raised their hands to admit to answering. This was also done in almost complete silence.

The next session it work, students were more talkative with peers and scarcely honest with answers. Even the most technophobic of the staff became animated about the buzz it created.

But there were issues Problems with the Dell laptop
The software is running on a dell laptop that does not allow presentation mode when connected with a projector. Therefore staff have to read from the projector screen, facing away from students.
We could try a different laptop or explore the option of running the software from usb

Why 63 handsets were registered and only 45 could answer?
Is there a limited setting I haven't found yet, I need to test all the handsets before the next session.

about 10 of the hand sets are dead

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Let's think about MCQs & online quizzes differently - lets think more about them as a method of connection with individual students

The buzz over social media has put online MCQs in with the 'bad old days'. But let's think again. What they really are is a two way connection with every student. From one to many. We are blinded by our familiarity, that this tool can only ask knowledge based questions First let's expand the methods of this communication to include multi-answer response and short answer response. This changes the range of possible inputs from the many.

The connection that is started by one individual to many, asking or requesting a fairly specific response. When that response is made the many will receive an instant reply, which can be general or specific. This information can then be analyzed and further responses made. It can remain private or certain elements revealed.

There is also another dimension of making a series of requests with each one using the information formed by the pervious

To break this down into a series of questions we have. for what reason is the communication made?
Who writes the initial communication?
Who receives it and when?
What is the motivation or requirement to answer?
What is the immediate response for and what is contained in it?
What's done with the answers?

for what reason is the communication made?
This is the most important question. Why would an individual make this request. Lets look where this happens in life. - vote for someone something, show preference - survey opinion
- gather information about individuals, e.g. Where they were born
There are many points and contexts that this type of communication as useful. In an educational setting you could. . .
- vote for year rep
- be asked to send in a single idea for a criteria, these could be analysis and then used again to mark a sample piece of work.
- survey perceptions prior to a f2f meeting - identify common errors in previous work
- self diagnostic - survey student perception of how well they are doing
- level 3 students write what they wish they had know/done in level 1. This is then used in level 1 survey to see if they can guess what was said
- level 3 write questions in short text box. These are used with level 2 to identify common mistakes in answers, these are used to test knowledge of level 1 students
And on and on

Who writes the initial communication?

Get students to use the tool under your supervision. They devise the activity or survey/questions for their own peers or other year groups.

Who receives it and when?

is it a specific group
Is it a specific group identified by a previous set of question
What year level?
What part of the year?

What is the motivation or requirement to answer?
This is the difficult one, but besides making it have a mark weighing you could....
With hold access to certain materials until it is completed
Make it seem exclusive, if they are submiting drafts for peer evaluation, only those that submit will be allowed to join the peer process.
But by far the most effective will be they way the information is used. If they see it has real benefit to them, they will complete it, an be involved in further question activities.

This is only a starting point, the real leap in the use of this tool is to think creatively and go beyond the obvious

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Wednesday, 15 September 2010

find and attributing media content under creative commons licence has just got a little easier

I really like this search engine tool http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/xpert/attribution/

http://screenr.com/R3n watch this guide

it allows you to find pictures, but then gives the image the correct attribution

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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Podcasting project - a feast of ideas, but with some indigestion

Middleton [2009] ran a large podcasting project 'closer!' with staff find very creative uses for podcasting. See the paper for details, but here's a taste.

clinical techniques developed by staff and students [nursing]
Peer review of student podcast of key concepts [sports science]
Interviews with students on placement [business]
Weekly podcast on common areas of weakness [computer science]
Answers to questions under the theme questions you were afraid to ask [art and design]
Podcasting assignment 'what makes a good student' [journalism]

The project sounds a great success
Many staff dropped out because of time commitments
Some of t e student submissions proved tiring to listen to.

Middleton, a. (2009) beyond podcasting; creative approaches to designing educational audio, alt-j vol 17, no 2, 143-155

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Friday, 10 September 2010

Digital display blindness - why we don't look anymore, interesting research findings

Muller et al ran a study in 2009 on digital displays. The two methods pull out conclusions that people make quick assumptions of what type of information will be displayed. Judging the usefulness of this will either make them look or ignore them. The amount of these displays are growing they are seen as a must have. But in reality people are learning to phase them out them just as they have with other signs and messages.
Yes, placement, context etc all make a difference. but if people are really going to use them, we need to ask, what they expect to see on them, or think hard about what information is important in that context.

Muller et al (2009) display blindness; the effect of expectations on attention towards digital signage.

'information overload' eppler and mengis 2004

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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Incunabula - latin wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Books printed during the first 50 yrs after Gutenburg were called this.
Murray, J A (2001) hamlet on the holodeck, mit

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This research is already out of date

This is final conclusion of this paper. Condemning itself as soon as it is released. Berk makes a quick run through the literature, and a lot of ground is covered, but rather thinly.

The best aspect is his lit review of 'net-gen'. On page 2

Berk, r, a (2001) how do you leverage the latest technologies, including web web 2.0 tools in your classroom? International journal of technology in teaching and learning, 6[1], 1-13.

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What happens if you allow complete access for anyone to your course, as well as teaching f2f?

Institution; brigham young university

Course; introduction to open learning

Numbers of students; 6 f2f registered students - 38 online non-registered students

Idea; what happens if I allow online students to freely join sessions and take nominal assessments one a f2f course. All the lectures where recorded, online materials were made available, some encouragement for the 2 sides to communicate in online mode was made. Lecture made very minimal direc contact with online students, but did give feedback on work. what is the minimal input [30 mins a week] needed to engage non-registered students. Impact; there was very little interaction between the two modes, very few online students continued through the course. But this is a very interesting idea and more careful design of the connection between the modes may help support online students. However, I feel this is very subject specific and would not fit in all areas.

Reference Hilton et al (2010) using online technologies to extend a classroom to learners at a distance, distance education, vol 3, no 1, 77-92

Downes free course [siemens 2008]. 2800 students took a free onloine course.

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Thursday, 2 September 2010

Brains"bad at logic, good at Frisbee" quote from andy clarke, natural born cyborgs

So we created tools to help us deal with these short comings

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Using Prezi to create dynamic presentations of complex information

Powerpoint can show a diagram, but some diagrams are complex and contain levels of detail

Using Prezi you can present complex images and ideas and then zoom in and out of these to help students, see the relationship, the levels or simply be able to see the information from the back of the room.

Here is a demo


There are some issues

1.     make sure the image is large enough to zoom into, you will need something like 1000 pixels across

2.     prezi is a free service, but you do have to sign up

3.     you have to create them online unless you pay for a full service

4.     prezi does take a little while to get to know

Here is the most basic how to guide to creating a prezi zoom in presentation


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Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Video linked lectures; students think more about content than the delivery technology when considering attending lectures

Institution; 5 sites across south-west of england Course; Medical
Student numbers; 20 included in study

Technology; video conferencing between sites given by practicing professionals Conclusion; students do consider being in front of a lecturer more interactive, but by far the main considerations are who's giving the lecture and what is it about.

Reference Wang et al (2010) medical students' perceptions of video-linked lectures and video-streaming, alt-j, vol 18, no 1, 19-27

Many studies in this area, issues include;
-Makes no impact on academic performance [solomon et al 2004, stain et al 2005]
- no evidence of drop in numbers [billings-gagliardi and mazor 2007; mattick, crocker and bgh 2007]
- difference in learning and interaction[carville and michell 2000, knipe and lee 2002]
- staff development [freeman, 1998]
- timetabling pitcher, [davidson and goldfinch 2000]

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No difference between students handwritten or typed exam submissions

Institution; University of Edinburgh Course; Christian Theology Student numbers; 70

Issue; Exam essay questions are handwritten by students. Should students have a choice of handwritten or typed submissions, is there a difference?

Method; mock examination students chose the method of delivery. Once completed, all typed submissions were converted into handwritten and all handwritten into typed. These were then marked to see if there was a difference. Conclusion; very small difference in marks between the 2 modes, much larger difference between markers, marking the same paper. Reference Mogey et al (2010) typing compared with handwritting for essay examinations at university; letting the students choose, alt-j, vol 18, no 1, 29-47

Made use of 'exam4' a locked down writing tool on usb stick.

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