Interactive and collaborative blended learning for undergraduates

Grant type: Research
Round: Research Grant July 2006
Amount awarded £8,749.98
Completed: October 2008
Leader(s): Mike Jeffries
Organisation: University of Exeter
Contact Email: m.j.jeffries@ex.ac.uk
Contact phone: 01392 262854
Address: School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU
Partners:
Kate Watson
University of Exeter
Prof Rupert Wegerif
University of Exeter
Richard Osborne
University of Exeter
Start Date: 1 January 2007
End Date: 31 December 2007
Interim report received: 20 January 2009
Final report received: 23 September 2008
This innovative project will investigate ways of using new technologies for collaborative online learning in a blended learning context. A variety of interactive online learning tasks and e-learning tools such as wikis,discussion forums and blogs (social software) will be used for both independent learning and assessment purposes. The research will elucidate if and how a flexible approach to the use of these new technologies can promote engagement and raise the perceived quality of the learning experience of students. A comparison will be included between two matched groups of undergraduates to find out whether inclusion of mobile learning technologies (SMS texts, PDAs and a wirless learning environment) can be used to encourage engagement with online learning. The project will involve 90 first year undergraduates, mostly based on campus, following a blended learning module. It will investigate how collaborative social learning networks may be supported using digital technologies combined with pedagogy promoting critical and reflective discussion skills. It will also investigate the relationship between preferred learning styles and new information and communications technologies to support online learning communities.  It is intended that as a result of the project there will be an improved e-learning confidence for the undergraduate group with better participation in online critical discussion and collaborative work. An additional outcome is the development of online tutoring skills for tutors and the opportunity to trial a range of blended learning materials and methodologies.