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eSTEeM Seminar Series: Scholarship Showcase - December 2021

Wednesday, 15 December, 2021 - 14:00
Wednesday, 15 December, 2021 - 15:00
Via Microsoft Teams

eSTEeM continues its seminar series with presentations from two of its project teams who will be discussing the methodology and findings of their scholarship projects.

Enhancing student learning experiences on a module through the use of the OU study app

Catherine Halliwell and Simon Collinson

We look forward to sharing with you the findings of our eSTEeM-supported project investigating how students used the OU study app, alongside the module website, in their studies of S350 Evaluating Contemporary Science. Students reported when and how they used the app, how it improved their familiarity with module content, leading to greater reflection on materials and an appreciation of the value of ‘informal’ learning time. Students suggested desirable features for future enhancements and they described their positive perceptions of the module, time management and their role in scholarship due to taking part in this project.

Support for Students. Teaching for Tutors. An Investigation into Ideas on Encouraging Students to Engage

Cathryn Peoples

According to the social constructivist model of learning, social elements are considered to be important through their positive influence on the educational experience. When students engage in an online model of learning, however, they may do so with a view to exploiting the asynchronous benefits that it allows. In a previous eSTEeM project, the goal was to encourage students to interact, primarily with their tutor but also with fellow students, to a greater degree, and to make use of the support available. While this was achieved with some success, it was found that it was generally the more competent students, the students who did not necessarily need the support, who engaged. This second phase of the project was therefore run with a view to identifying how to encourage the weaker performing cohort to engage. It is believed that this was achieved to some degree, given the fact that a selection of the Tutor Marked Assessment (TMA) results were the same for the students who engaged and those who did not. In the previous experience, the students engaging achieved significantly higher results than those who did not. This second phase of the programme also varies in that another Associate Lecturer (AL) became involved in delivery of the personalised support, with a view to supporting understanding of the impact of running the programme on a per tutor basis, and the overhead involved if this scheme were to be rolled out in a more widespread way.

To summarise the findings of this project:

  1. Students do not hear until they are ready to hear.
  2. Students get teaching & learning value out of ‘lurking’.
  3. Students value the diary method of support, although need guidance with its completion and maintenance.
  4. Students may have unrealistic expectations about how much support they can be given.

Experiences during the running of this eSTEeM project will be discussed in more detail.

Related resources

Watch the recording of the seminar (Intranet only)

Catherine Halliwell, Jenny Duckworth, Rachel McMullan and Simon Collins - Can a new OU Study App enhance the learning experience of students on S350, an online only module? (PPTX)

Cathryn Peoples - Support for Students. Teaching for Tutors. An Investigation into Ideas on Encouraging Students to Engage (PPTX)