Yesterday we had a meeting of the group. There were a few apologies (people who were ill or tied up with other work). The members there were: Karen, Judith, Mirabelle, Nicky, Andrew, Ian & Wendy.
We spent the first part of the meeting updating each other on our research. Here’s a quick summary:
Wendy is writing a journal paper about using Tablet PCs for marking, based on her COLMSCT project work. She’s also working with a colleague on a couple of other conference papers.
Mirabelle’s paper on feedback is now in print – congratulations to her! She also has another under review. She hopes to collaborate with colleagues in the Modern Languages Dept to apply the work further.
Judith and Ian have some work on plagiarism to carry forward. They already have a conference paper on this (with Nick Heap) and now want to write a journal paper.
Nicky and Andrew have plans for research on work-based learning focused on the Cisco Academy programme. They already have a conference paper about using synchronous communication technology to support learners carrying out practical work online.
Karen has been researching students’ use of wikis in two courses, together with John, Judith and Helen. She is now going to move on to look at use of synchronous conferencing (Elluminate).
For the second part of the meeting we discussed the following paper:
‘Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning’
by John Seely Brown, Allan Collins, Paul Duguid
Educational Researcher, Vol. 18 No. 1 (Jan-Feb, 1989) pp. 32-42.
This paper discusses the idea of ‘cognitive apprenticeship’ and the benefits of learning activities that are grounded in authentic activity. We discussed whether learning is always better if it is situated or whether there is a role for more abstracted learning and teaching.
We focused particularly on the concept of enculturation into a community, and how this might apply (or not) in our courses. Is it possible to take our students into the authentic culture of their subject domain, or are we enculturating them into academia, or just into the OU culture?
We also discussed apprenticeship, and how this might apply in work-based learning courses – and other courses. For example, can learning via some kind of ‘apprenticeship’ take place in a student discussion forum? Might a synchronous technology be more suited – because of the to-and-fro interaction that is needed?
For the future we hope to have peer support sessions where group members can gain supportive critical feedback on drafts of papers that they are developing. We also plan to have a joint meeting with the Society and Information Research Group. We thought that possible readings for a future joint meeting might be something by Wenger on Communities of Practice and/or an article by Rob Kling about social aspects of Technology. Suggestions welcome – do add a comment to this post!