Student-Staff Co-Creation of Virtual Environments for Simulated Field Trips
Dr David Trudgeon – University of Exeter
The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly limited prospects for students to partake in physical site visits and field trips that have previously been integral to many Higher Education courses. This has highlighted pre-existing areas of inequality in the ability to benefit from site visits in person and afforded the opportunity to develop immersive virtual environments as a viable alternative. Such resources promise to provide long-term value beyond Covid-19, enhancing equality and inclusivity by ensuring that those unable to participate in physical field trips can benefit from the experience.
This project aims to investigate and assess a collaborative approach between staff and students in developing virtual field trip environments. An interactive map of renewable energy installations across Devon and Cornwall including free roaming three-dimensional environments for selected sites is to be used as an example, but the approach is expected to be of merit in other disciplines and subject areas. Students will be encouraged to research renewable energy installations close to their location and visit sites individually or in Covid-secure groups, providing videos, images, interviews with site operators and other resources for incorporation into the virtual environment.
Through student collaboration and consultation, guidelines and best practices for the development of similar tools are to be identified and communicated. The final product will be made available to the wider community as an educational tool through MOOC’s or public domain websites, with the aim of engaging external partners including Devon and Cornwall Councils, local primary, secondary and further education institutions and renewable energy companies.
For more information about the project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Understanding Arts-Based Methods for the Virtual World of Teaching
Dr Selen Kars-Unluoglu – University of the West of England
Arts-based methods which traditionally rely on engagement with material artefacts (e.g. LEGO® bricks, finger puppets, craft materials) have been on the rise in management learning and teaching. However, COVID-19 has challenged educators to adapt these methods to online teaching environments with a substantial impact on learning development and learner experiences.
This project, through collaborative and mixed methods research design, seeks to deepen our understanding of the pedagogy of arts-methods with an aim to explore the effective transferability to online teaching environments.
The research setting is a management education programme delivered in partnership with two HE institutions (in the UK and Turkey) that introduces learners to arts-based teaching methods and supporting pedagogies by getting learners to experiment with taught techniques to develop their own practice as management educators. The programme was disrupted by COVID-19 forcing educators improvise ways to teach arts-based methods virtually. With a commitment to scholarly approach to research teaching and learning development, this project will inquire into educator and learner experiences in this setting.
This will be done by organising focussed discussion meetings and a co-creation workshop to bring together educators and learners to encourage reflection on experiences and best practices translate arts-based methods to online environments. Combined with questionaries, and participant and non-participant observation of training sessions this project will provide rich insights into the future of arts-based methods for virtual world of learning development that is unresearched and that this project explores by capturing lived experiences of educators and learners.
For more information about the project, please contact email@example.com
Using student engagement data to evaluate online activities and resources
Tomas Nicholas, Eleanor Sandison and Valentine Kozsla – University of Exeter
The project will investigate which digital learning tools students are more likely to engage with, how students are engaging with this content, and the reasons students are interacting with such tools beyond the content type being used. This will include breaking down our findings by different student groups, such as by subject, and considering the impact of different teaching practice. We will analyse our data to determine what changes may be needed to improve engagement with digital learning tools. This can be used as a core tenet of the design or evaluation of new tools being developed or considered for use by universities.
The project will produce a method for performing this type of evaluation. We will work with relevant module leaders to implement this method, which will include surveying of, and interviews with, students. This methodology will be published, allowing the evaluation to be replicated by other departments or higher education institutions who may be using different tools and methods.
The project will directly impact students by providing academics, at our university and across the wider higher education and academic development community, with insight into what drives student engagement in a digital setting. This can be used to inform how digital learning is incorporated into teaching in the future as teaching increasingly moves towards a flipped classroom approach. As Digital Learning Developers, we are well placed to promote the inclusion of digital teaching methods into university practice and would benefit from being able to make data-backed recommendations.
For more information about the project, please contact T.Nicholas2@exeter.ac.uk
Reading in the digital age: a resource for students
Helen Hargreaves – Lancaster University
Our initial project (funded by ALDinHE in 2019) explored students’ perceptions and practices about reading academic texts electronically, to find out about how they navigate the challenges associated with this format and the reading strategies they employ. Our aims were (1) to consider how students’ approaches to reading digital texts compared with those discussed in study guides and (2) to draw conclusions about how our findings might inform our work as learning developers, in our teaching and conversations with students on this topic.
Data was collected via six focus groups with a total of 20 undergraduate students in their second and final year from a range of academic disciplines. Topics discussed included: reading preferences; the joys and frustrations of reading texts digitally; reading and note-taking strategies; and support with academic reading. Students’ reflections on their approaches and attitudes towards digital reading have provided us with insights that have implications for different groups: publishers, academic staff, authors of study guides, learning developers, and of course students themselves. In extending the project, we want to use these insights to inform the development of a resource to form the basis of discussions with new students about academic reading, as well as serving as a stand-alone resource. We would produce an interactive resource (using either Xerte or Articulate), with the help of a digital intern. The resource would encourage students to take a reflective approach about choices related to text format; provide activities for exploring diverse types of digital text; and look at approaches, tools, and techniques for reading and note-taking in the digital age.
For more information about the project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org