Student voice expectations (3 Short Papers 0190, 0093, 0043)


14:50 - 15:50 on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 in Room 2


43 eLuctant students: identification and support
Jon Bernardes, Emma Purnell


93 Mobile engagement or miss-dial? A multi-institution survey interrogating student attitudes to mobile learning
Kate Reader, Mike Cameron, Sian Lindsay, Hilary Griffiths, Ajmal Sultany


190 Students’ perspectives on the sea-change: the experience of taught postgraduates
Liz Masterman


43 eLuctant students: identification and support
Jon Bernardes, Emma Purnell
The main aim of this project is to explore one aspect of the discussion about the ‘Google Generation’, that there is a proportion of ‘digital natives’ Prensky (2001) who are reluctant to use, or even resist using, emerging Information Technology. Currant et al (2008) identify this sub set of students as ‘digital socialites’ who clearly divide the formal and informal use of technologies within their social and academic lives. Learners who may own multiple mobile devices and inhabit Web 2.0 spaces with multiple digital identities but seem to be reluctant to apply personal digital literacy skills to learning technology. Such learners may be labelled as ‘Digital Dissidents’ or even assumed to have poor ‘Digital Literacy’ despite extensive personal engagement in online social networking and related technologies. The authors attempt to identify and explore possible frameworks to support these ‘eLuctant’ learners. To what extent do this sub set of digital natives exist quietly in undergraduate cohorts undetected between the digital enthusiasts and the digitally anxious/ fearful? The landscape of the digital student is in flux and moving away from cultural analogies such as immigrant and native towards much more complex gradations. Currant et al (2008) in their typology of digital learners have started to identify, breakdown and map these complexities. The typology provides a ‘digital socialite’ quadrant describing learners positioned here as having high levels of experience with technology but a low degree of educational contribution, a position the eLuctant students we describe would fit into perfectly. The question for this project is how many of these learners exist and are there strategies that could be developed to engage them with institutional technologies? Initial work looked at a group of 30 students, a preliminary survey looked at a group of 100 students, and a more major study looked at a group of 200+ 1st year undergraduates.


93 Mobile engagement or miss-dial? A multi-institution survey interrogating student attitudes to mobile learning
Kate Reader, Mike Cameron, Sian Lindsay, Hilary Griffiths, Ajmal Sultany
The 2009 Horizon Report suggests that mobile devices will be widely adopted for learning in the next year. This study conducted at three UK HE Institutions highlights that a high percentage of our students now carry smart devices (like iPods and Blackberrys) with features like web browsing, running of diverse applications and location awareness becoming standard. There are already numerous commercial and institutional e-Learning packages and 'apps' for students to install and access on the go. Just as educators have been keen to exploit the 'sea-change' that saw social networking mushroom, institutions are now co-opting students' mobile devices. As with Web 2.0 tools, we need to consider both the pedagogic potential, and the degree to which students are both willing and able to put their gadgets to this purpose. Mobiles were previously reserved for personal and social use only. This study investigates whether students are willing to compromise by combining social use of their mobiles with formal education and draws together online surveys of students at three UK universities with different educational strategies, together with a review of existing literature. The paper seeks to establish the willingness of students to use their mobile devices for learning and in which contexts. We explore what devices, contracts and skills students have and consider how we might use them effectively for blended learning and more interactive face to face teaching. Are students willing to use their mobile devices to access learning materials or send and receive texts with classmates and lecturers? Will students use their credits to vote in class and bandwidth to view educational multimedia? Or will students view their mobile devices, like some Web 2.0 sites, as ’their environment, not ours"? Many students counter, "if they go on to Facebook, I'm moving out" (Salmon, quoted in Swaine, 2007). Will students also switch off their mobiles to education? Understanding ownership, skills and attitudes to mobile learning can guide institutional approaches to adoption. Can we make productive and effective use of mobiles to meet student expectations and provide more interactive, time and location-sensitive learning? Or are we dialling a wrong number?


190 Students’ perspectives on the sea-change: the experience of taught postgraduates
Liz Masterman
Taught postgraduate students have been somewhat overlooked in learner experience research, perhaps on the assumption that they can automatically cope (O'Donnell et al., 2009). To address this imbalance, and following on earlier research into learners' experience of e-learning (Creanor et al., 2006; Conole et al., 2008), the JISC-funded Thema project followed 23 students on nine Master's programmes at the University of Oxford. Key areas of interest included: the "significant moments" in students’ experience; patterns in students' use of digital technologies; attitudes towards Web 2.0 applications. This paper will examine how far our findings support the notion of a ‘sea-change’ in the role of digital technologies in students' lives. We gathered qualitative data over a nine-month period using a ‘pen-pal’ technique, a variant of the e-interview (Bampton and Cowton, 2002) culminating in a face-to-face interview. We adopted a holistic approach, focusing on students' activities rather than making technology the starting-point of every enquiry. Data indicative of a sea-change included extensive ownership of mobile technologies and dependence on a constant internet connection. Interestingly, some students did not consider themselves ‘tech-savvy’, even though they could find, evaluate and use a wide range of applications. Advances in software usability may thus have helped to facilitate the sea-change. Although students generally expanded their use of digital technologies, restraining factors included time, pragmatism and the benefits of non-digital mediation in cognitive activities such as note-taking and knowledge-building. Within students' overall experience, technology was overshadowed by greater concerns, particularly the transition to graduate study. Moreover, significant learning experiences were largely associated with inspirational teachers, opportunities for active learning and personal conceptual breakthroughs. The data thus suggest that it is not yet time to redesign learning on the assumption that students will have laptops to hand. We also recommend that students be introduced to productivity aids such as calendars and bookmaking tools early in their courses. In summary, students blend technologies and interactions in the online and real worlds according to their personal disposition, the activity and the affordances of each tool. The picture yielded by Thema was thus rich, but not altogether strange.