During the first two years of the project the eLene2learn network collected more than 60 case studies, where teachers and students of Secondary and Higher Education provide practical tips and indications on their "first hand" learning experiences using ICT and digital media. This "collection" contains two different types of report:
- The "How to guide" scenarios describe current practices, tools and methodologies used in the application of ICT to develop learning to learn competencies. The scenarios were collected through Focus Group with students and teachers; Download the printable version of the "How to guide"
- The Case studies report, in detail the implementation of practices, methodologies and tools used within real classroom settings. Recommendations and suggestions help you assess the benefit of replicating these practices, methodologies, etc. in your own context. These resources are highly valuable as they come from a direct evaluation by students and teachers involved. Some of these resources are (also) partly available in Italian, French, Greek, Finnish, Polish, Spanish and German. If the translations are available, you can find the translations directly on the sub-pages of each case study. (The most recent Case Studies are listed first on the top); Download the printable version of the Implementation Report.
You can browse the case studies here by Benefits and Tags. The two different type of report can be easily filtered using corresponding tags.
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by eLene2learn Network, these contents are licensed unser Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Case Study - Blackboard Blog - Higher education - UoD
•To examine the types of discussion which create a collaborative community.
•To increase understanding of the types of learning developed in peer-moderated online discussion environment.
•To investigate the impact on student confidence as learners.
•Collaboration with peers
•Thinking, problem-solving and decision making
•Motivation and confidence
In addition to this the project was discussed on online discussion boards and webinars.
The four volunteer co-moderators were sent an advice sheet which stated the aims of the project, provided details of their role and some general ideas for posts for the blog.
•Questionnaires – two questionnaires were sent to all participating students; one at the start of the project and one at the end, measuring impact of the change. The Likert Scale questionnaire focused on how students used the module blog.
•Focus group – five students volunteered to take part in the focus group, including one co-moderator. The focus group discussion was digitally recorded and then transcribed.
•Content analysis of posts – copies of all posts created during the four week period were collated and then thematically analysed.
Participants were fully informed about the elene2learn project and the use of the data for the project and for the improvement and development of their course.
Participants were advised that engagement with the project was not compulsory. They were advised that anonymity throughout the project would be preserved and that data gathered would be used for academic purposes, including electronic publication.
(with particular attention paid to the initial aims and objectives of the implementation plan and the key competencies developed)
In terms of average number of views per week, this did increase during the four week period with the highest number of views for one post being 30.
The focus group also highlighted the benefit of attaching student photos to profiles, so that they appear every time a post is made. It was felt that this made the distance learning experience a less lonely one, and that people were also then able to put names to faces during face-to-face workshops.
A student during the focus group commented on the fact that having students as co-moderators had given them the confidence to make a contribution because they felt that if co-moderators could do that then so could they. One of the co-moderators felt that it had given them the push to make contributions on the blog, and that they had needed that.
The posts demonstrated that the students were very supportive of each other, particularly if concerns or worries about the module were expressed. Co-moderators were supportive of each other; they responded to each other's posts and sent supportive comments.
Communication was the second most predominant theme. Primarily this was linked to the role the blog plays in making students feel less isolated from their peers. In terms of developing reading and writing skills, students posted up articles that they themselves had found useful or relevant. The posts were also written in a formal, academic manner.
In terms of Collaboration, it was apparent from the posts that the co-moderators were working together as a team to support each other and extend discussions.
One student in the focus group highlighted the level of thought and creativity required by co-moderators to put up relevant posts. Co-moderators created posts which posed questions on topics for students to discuss.
Lack of confidence was also highlighted as an issue. Students were concerned about contributing posts which contained incorrect information in a public domain. The focus group felt that there needed to be a balance between tutor and student co-moderator posts, particularly if there were queries with regards to the assignment.
The focus group discussion also highlighted that students felt that reading and responding on the blog was an additional task to writing the assignment rather than an integral tool to support their learning.
•Encouraging former students of the module to access the blog and share their knowledge and advice with those who are currently completing the module.
The number of viewings during the project increased significantly compared to the period prior to the commencement of the project, however the number of contributions made by other students did not. Primarily this appears to be due to a lack of confidence, and from the focus group, a perceived lack of time for those who considered the blog to be an additional extra rather than an integral learning tool. I believe these attitudes are linked to the way that the blog has been used and promoted in the past; all the students have been on the programme for at least two years.
There was also a buzz of activity in the week following the four week project, where students who had not made contributions before decided to make a contribution, usually to thank the co-moderators for their work. A possible reason for this would be that the students felt that the blog was no longer under the scrutiny of the researchers and so became a ‘safe' place again to make comment. This links directly to the issue of a lack of confidence in their ability, highlighted in the focus group.
A sense of community appeared to have been created, aided by the addition of photographs. Distance-learning students feel isolated and the blog is seen as a place to overcome this.
Students primarily saw the blog as a place to develop social communication skills and felt challenged when required to use it as a learning tool.
For the four week period there was a higher level of enthusiasm demonstrated by the students and the tutors, and the blog became an interesting place to visit. Support for the work of the co-moderators was demonstrated in the focus group.
It would also be beneficial to conduct this project with new students to the programme, as these students would not have pre-conceived notions of the blog tool, and therefore would not demonstrate a resistance to change that was felt in the focus group. With new students, the distinction could be made from the start that there is a Childhood Practice Community blog which should be used for the purposes of getting to know one another, and the module blog, which is a tool for learning.
Co-moderators found the advice and support sheet useful, however they would benefit from some further training or modelling from tutors. This could be done in the form of a face-to-face session or an online webinar.
All students need to develop their awareness of the use of blogs and discussion boards as a learning tool in addition to social communication tool. It is the responsibility of the tutors to model this and to develop this awareness through digital literacy activities with the students.