Show & TEL ’17 -Abstracts

#showTEL17 is fast approaching and we are delighted to give you a taste of what will be presented on the day. Only two weeks to go and we are excited to host to you for an excellent opportunity to network with TEL research community. Do not forget to register here: sign up and click on more, to read some of the abstracts.

Adviath SiddharthanFostering learning, engagement and biodiversity action through citizen science: Examples from BeeWatch

Citizen science is frequently talked up as a win-win situation for professional scientists and lay citizen. It generates data for science, but also opens up scientific processes to the wider public. Citizen science thus has the potential to address the `knowledge divide’ in society by fostering progressive forms of collaborations between participants with varying levels of expertise. However, in practice, the balance has tipped towards data gathering and verification at scale, resulting in missed opportunities for digital engagements that promote learning, participatory action and behavioural or attitudinal change in society. In Beewatch, a citizen science project focussed on recording bumblebee species in the UK, we made an early decision to focus our attention on some of these digital engagement aspects. I’ll discuss results relating to some of the key technologies deployed by BeeWatch for (a) fostering learning and engagement through the automatic generation of formative feedback to participants, (b) collaborative learning through interfaces that allow participants to share knowledge, and (c) using the data submitted by participants to generate practical and individualised pollinator-friendly gardening advice.

Mark Gaved and Gareth Davies – Seeking togetherness: moving toward a comparative evaluation framework in MAZI, an interdisciplinary DIY networking project

MAZI, an EU funded collaborative project, is exploring how Do-It-Yourself approach to building community networks might foster social cohesion, knowledge sharing and sustainable living through four pilots across Europe. A key challenge for the Open University team is to develop a shared evaluation approach that will allow us to make sense of what we are learning across highly diverse local situations and disciplinary approaches. In this presentation we will describe our initial approaches and the challenges we face.

Citizen Inquiry Research GroupNew developments from the Citizen Inquiry Group

The Citizen Inquiry Research Group has been set up to explore the fusing of citizen science and inquiry based learning. Members of the group have edited the first book on Citizen Inquiry (published by Routledge), been successful in gaining an NSF/Wellcome Trust/ESRC award on learning from citizen science projects, have a new partnership with the BBC to develop mass experiments in social sciences, are associated with citizen science in initiatives including Bee Watch, and run platforms including nQuire-it and Situ8. We also have interests in the ethics of citizen science.

Agnes Kukulska-HulmeLearning challenges and solutions for migrants and refugees

Newly arrived migrants and refugees have a great variety of educational needs and backgrounds, and may have an urgent need to learn a target language for employability and social inclusion. This talk will consider briefly how open and mobile learning approaches can offer some solutions, either within or outside established education systems – which can be slow to adapt to change and may struggle to meet individual learner needs.

Tim Lewis and Jekaterina RogatenEVALUATE: Evaluating and Upscaling Telecollaborative Teacher Education

EVALUATE is an Erasmus-funded European Policy Experiment.  Partners include 5 government ministries and 7 universities from across Europe (Portugal to Hungary). The aim of the project is to study the impact of engaging in telecollaboration on trainee teachers in the countries involved and, if successful, to work with public authorities to upscale the use of telecollaborative exchanges in Initial Teacher Education.  The project seeks to answer three research questions: does telecollaboration have a positive impact on future teachers’ 1) digital-pedagogical competence, 2) intercultural competence and 3) foreign language competence.  OU partners are drawn from WELS and LTI Academic.  They are primarily responsible for research in the project.

Jessica Pinchbeck, Caroline Heaney and Ben LangdownAugmented Reality: adding another dimension to learning

This session introduces the E117 App which is designed to support and enhance the learning of Level 1 Sport and Fitness Students studying the E117 Introduction to Sport and Fitness module. Through integrating specifically designed activities within the module materials, the App enables students to consider aspects of their own activity and make comparisons to their peers. Their data collection and analysis aims to develop critical and scientific thinking, and the increasingly important 21st century skills related to data literacy. The App also includes two augmented reality anatomy models: the digestive and muscular systems. These models bring to life both body systems allowing students to explore and test their knowledge of the individual components and their functions in an immersive experience. This session will showcase the innovative approach to E117 curriculum that motivates students to become their own data generators and use augmented reality to explore and learn about topics in a way which anonymous statistics and 2D models cannot.

Beck PittOpen Textbooks in the UK?

UK Open Textbooks (@UKOpenTextbooks; is a 1-year Hewlett funded project led by the OER Hub in collaboration with UWE, WonkHE, OpenStax and the Open Textbook Network. Examining the viability of open textbooks in the UK context, we’re testing two models of open textbook adoption.

Jake HilliardStudent anxiety in an online collaborative project

The increasing use of online collaborative learning in higher education institutions has led to much research being undertaken aimed at understanding student opinions and experiences of this form of teaching and learning. Although many benefits of this approach have been highlighted, a number of challenges have also been found. One concern that has been raised is that some students experience increased levels of anxiety when taking part in online group work environments (Yoshida et al, 2013; Allan & Lawless, 2003). This study aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of students’ experiences and perceptions of anxiety in an online collaborative project.

Ralph Mercer –Self-tracking and the “Care of Self”: an exploration of personal data as a means of learner identify development and self-care in postgraduate students

My topic will discuss the use of technology to mediate a focused reflected writing method as a means of generating actionable personal data in learners. The aim of the research is to enable a learner to establish a cycle of self-observation, self-reflection, and self-care as a skill, with the intention of having a positive influence on the learner’s academic identity, resilience and wellness.

The research will draw from the principles of personal informatics and philosophy of ‘technologies of self’ to provide a framework for learner self-care.

Anne-Marie Gallen, Kate Lister, and Trevor Collins –Exploring institutional support for students with disabilities at the OU

As part of the HEFCE-funded Catalyst programme ‘Addressing barriers to student success’, The Open University (OU) is leading a two-year project with The University of Leeds and Plymouth University to share and promote inclusive educational approaches across STEM disciplines in higher education.  The project is specifically seeking to scale up inclusive practices within STEM module design and delivery to benefit all students, while lowering and removing barriers impeding students with disabilities. Since the project began in March, the OU team have been gathering baseline evidence in the form of documented institutional policies and procedures, staff and student survey responses, and meetings with the head of school and director of teaching in each of the STEM faculty’s six schools. In this presentation we’ll provide an update on these activities, some initial findings and our plans for future actions.

Gill Macmillan – Offline learners in a digital world

This is a deliberately ambiguous title, to demonstrate the complexity of defining digital learning. We will describe some of the recommendations we are making to ensure that those students who do not have internet or computer access are not disadvantaged. Recent OU research shows that most students adopt a mixture of online and offline study habits, so we believe that the wider implications are that all students will benefit from offline considerations being incorporated into the earliest stages of qualification and module design.

Jenna Mittelmeier – IDEAS: International Distance Education and African Students

This presentation outlines findings from an ESRC-funded collaboration between the Open University and the University of South Africa (UNISA). The project as a whole seeks to unpack the role of South African distance education in providing for equitable access to quality higher education across Africa. At Show and TEL, preliminary results from a questionnaire from over 350 participants will highlight the educational transitions  of distance students, including factors impacting positive experiences.

Perez-Cavana and Sue Lowe – Evaluating L161 aspects of Personal Development Plan (PDP) using an ePortfolio

In this paper we are presenting the pilot we carried out with students of the level 1 module L161 Exploring Languages and cultures working with Personal Develovement Planing (PDP) and an external ePortfolio. We report on the data gathered, the findings and some recommendations to integrate PDP in modules.





Richard TrevesStudents Creating Multimedia Presentations

We live in the ‘Youtube age’: video clips are used throughout online society to show you how to change a headlight bulb in your car; enrich social media interactions through animated gifs; and, via services like periscope, live feeds of breaking news stories from citizen journalists.  I will argue that a key skill we should be teaching students is how to create and host videos with an obvious key use being an attractive, short presentation which the student can link to their CV in order to impress prospective employers.  I have been researching this idea for a number of years, in this talk I will outline: how technologies have developed so that video creation no longer requires high technical skill; the variety of skills student can practice in producing a short video can test; and best practice that we should be using in scaffolding students’ learning.