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Account of student engagement at Bangor University

Page history last edited by Anna Gruszczynska 9 years, 5 months ago

1.Plans for student engagement activities


Excerpt from phone conversation related to reflexive task 2 ("Exploring OERs")

Delyth and Dafydd will use the SPSS resource on one of the courses they are teaching, as the course is online, they will have access to usage statistics, at the end of the course they will also organise focus groups with the students (one in Cardiff and another in Bangor). Throughout the course, students will be expected to provide comments on an online forum; these discussions could become an OER as well and demonstrate how feedback on course design can happen around use of OER. They are also thinking of creating a task for students on questionnaire design which will be structured around content from the OER (and other sources). 


Excerpt from notes from partner meeting on 20 January 2011

Dafydd mentioned that assessment for the SPSS module which uses the OpenLearn resource will involve engaging students in commenting on the questionnaires they will design as part of the module, they will have to assess quality of discussion and impact and the comments will then become part of the resource (Helen Jones mentioned she would be happy to share student consent forms etc. for releasing student comments). That’s a really interesting approach which includes elements of peer learning; this approach also brings up issues around constructive alignment as well as relationship of assessment to OERs issues. At the same time, what would the students use informally, how would that be different? In general, if the conditions were “right”, what uses might people make of OERs? Finally, Dafydd had a technical question on how to collate and export student postings, Richard will get back to him with more information on relevant technical solutions.


2.The challenge of getting students involved with OERs


Excerpt from Delyth and Dafydd’s response to reflexive task 3 ("Developing the cascade framework")

Though the cohort of core students is small – a group of 5 Masters students – they are very engaged with the work and utilising the resources provided to not only develop their skills in quantitative research methods, but working on how to apply these methods in their day-to-day working environment. The student group has provided a robust test to our project – as two are based at the host institution and studying full time, while three others are geographically dispersed and studying part time alongside full time employment. The deployment of OER based learning resources at first sight appears ideal for such a group of students, but challenges have arisen due to the lack of initial engagement with the Porth OER. Our initial assumption had been that students due to their familiarity with the Blackboard system of their host institution would not need specific instruction and guidance on utilising the Porth OER. However, though similar, a number of basic issues emerged in the early months of deployment – with students for example not registering their Email addresses with the Porth OER and therefore not contributing fully to discussions. More recently students have begun creating their own content via an online forum for developing questionnaires. The intention in due course is to utilise the questionnaires and the discussion as teaching material within the OER. This is in its very early stages but the initial results suggest that the experiment will work and develop student skills more broadly.


3.Experiences of engaging students with OERs

The course material relating to the SPSS module was used for the first time during the 2nd Semester, 2010-11 on the MA Language Policy and Planning in Bangor University.  Five MA students undertook the module, two in Bangor and three in Cardiff.  After an initial consultation and introduction by the tutors – Delyth Morris in Bangor and Dafydd Trystan in Cardiff – the students worked at their own pace, following the online tutorials.


A meeting was held with students to gather their feedback on the course at the end of May 2011. Initially, they admitted that they found the thought of an online course rather daunting, but thought that the ‘chat room’ element was very helpful in this respect as it allowed them to ask questions, check on each other’s progress, and generally give and receive support from their co-students. They found the exercises easy to follow and the first assessment comparatively easy to produce. The second assessment they found to be more challenging, and three of the students experienced some technical hitches, concerned with being unable to access Bangor University Blackboard. This was solved in consultation with the tutors and the help of technical advisors at Bangor.


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