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Student e-learning experiences

August 3rd, 2007 · No Comments · Eduspaces

We have been using a ‘scenarios’ approach to thinking our way through implementing e-learning at Leeds for quite a while. JISC has adopted a similar approach in one of its research projects Learner Experiences of e-Learning (LEX). In this study it has recorded a number of videos of student’s experience which will be used as the basis of a publication, ‘The Learner’s Voice’, later this year. The final report of the project came out last year. JISC have made available four of the video recordings with transcriptions that provide interesting e-learning scenarios. 

Two of the videos feature simulations. One is an impressive ‘virtual ward’ environment in a hospital and looks very professional aand has clearly taken a lot of thought, time and money. The other, which looks a bit more practical from my point of view, is where law students are divided into a number of virtual law firms within a virtual community called ‘Ardcalloch’. This transactional learning environment simulates real-life legal scenarios, and they have to deal with a number of clients and cases using on-line discussion, resourses and stimulous materials.

The other two videos are probably closer to the general experience of the majority of my students. In one, Laura is a first year international business student at Glasgow Caledonian University living at home in Falkirk. She logs into Blackboard from home and on campus regularly for module information, lectures she has missed and handbooks she has lost. She uses the discussion boards set up by her tutors. These are particularly helpful coming up to exams.  She uses MySpace for socialising with fellow students and it is also here they support and help one one another with their studies. She is given a lot of group work to do and she finds Blackboard makes this very easy for where group members live far apart. She is particulary enthusiastic about the Saltire centre – a high-tech learning centre designed as a single point-of-access for all student services. The Saltire centre is at the social heart of the campus, a place where students meet and converse as well as study. Much better than a traditional library she says. Incidently the video shows her using Wikipedia for information on the World Trade Organisation.

The other video of particular interest is that of Jenny and Emma. This focuses mainly on their use of an e-portfolio. They clearly found this to be extremely useful and rewarding. It is significant that their e-portfoios where not just logs or journals of achievment but had a social networking and discussion elements. The really valuable part of the exercise was the sharing of experience and ideas and the critical reflection that develops through discussion.

In the videos there are a couple of instances where IMS is used to discuss things and support one another. In one instance a group of students are sat at work stations doing their own thing in the ‘virtual ward’ where it seems they can only interact with the virtual staff and patients the system provides. However, these students are using IMS to discuss and help one another even though they are in the same computer cluster.


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