Enhancing student experience through online collaboration

Andrews, Simon (2014) Enhancing student experience through online collaboration. In: 7th International Materials Education Symposium, 9th - 10th April 2014, Cambridge University.

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Abstract / Summary

The project focused on an assessed team element of a level 4 module called ‘Materials Technology’. Student teams researched an assigned material to demonstrate its properties, applications, environmental impacts, etc through the analysis of manufacturing processes of a chosen product. The research was traditionally presented using PowerPoint and the project progress tracked through group tutorials. However, the rationale for this project was to explore the potential of online collaboration (through the VLE, Mahara) to improve student engagement, improve understanding of material properties and applications, and improve the student experience and satisfaction with the module.

Each team collaborated and presented their research using a Mahara page. All materials research was collated and discussed through the software in addition to team meetings in the studio. Group tutorials were conducted around an interactive whiteboard so the Mahara page could receive live annotations and updates in response to tutor feedback. The online collaboration provided flexibility (time/location) in the way students contributed to the team project.

The process facilitated a collaborated outcome rather than a collection of individual contributions. A focus group gathered significantly more positive comments, than negative, in relation to student experience and satisfaction. When compared with the control project (team research presented through PowerPoint) a higher proportion of students felt that they had developed a good understanding of material properties and applications, and the overall module experience had considerably improved.

The approach demonstrated a higher level of student engagement through the flexibility of online collaboration and greater overall student satisfaction. The teaching model fostered wider participation and encouraged shared peer learning of material properties and applications. The research led to further investigation into the potential for online design studios to encourage greater peer interaction through collaboration, and sharing and enhancing ideas, skills and processes.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Subjects: Education
Research
Technology
Courses by Department: Academy of Innovation and Research > Centre for Sustainable Design
Depositing User: Simon Andrews
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 14:19
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2015 14:19
URI: http://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/1000

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