‘Please leave your mobile phone on’ : Social educational networking in a social society : Encouraging in-class engagement at QUT across physical and virtual learning environments
Evans, Richard & Matthew, Anne F. (2011) ‘Please leave your mobile phone on’ : Social educational networking in a social society : Encouraging in-class engagement at QUT across physical and virtual learning environments. In CCA-Educause Australasia 2011 : The game has changed, 3-6 April 2011, Darling Harbour, Sydney. (Unpublished)
Though stadium style seating in large lecture theatres may suggest otherwise, effective teaching and learning is a not a spectator sport.
A challenge in creating effective learning environments in both physical and virtual spaces is to provide optimal opportunity for student engagement in active learning. Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has developed the Open Web Lecture (OWL), a new web-based student response application, which seamlessly integrates a virtual learning environment within the physical learning space.
The result is a blended learning experience; a fluid collaboration between academic and students connected to OWL via the University’s Wi-Fi using their own laptop or mobile web device.
QUT is currently piloting the OWL application to encourage student engagement. OWL offers opportunities for participants to:
• Post comments and questions
• Reply to comments
• "Like" comments
• Poll students and review data
• Review archived sessions.
Many of these features instinctively appeal to student users of social networking media, yet avail the academic of control within the University network. Student privacy is respected through a system of preserving peer-peer anonymity, a functionality that seeks to address a traditional reluctance to speak up in large classes.
The pilot is establishing OWL as an opportunity for engaging students in active learning opportunities by enabling
• virtual learning in physical spaces for large group lectures, seminar groups, workshops and conferences
• live collaborative technology connecting students and the academic via the wireless network using their own laptop or mobile device
• an non- intimidating environment in which to ask questions
• promotion of a sense of community
• instant feedback
• problem based learning.
The student and academic response to OWL has been overwhelmingly positive, crediting OWL as an easy to use application, which creates effective learning opportunities though interactivity and immediate feedback.
This poster and accompanying online presentation of the technology will demonstrate how OWL offers new possibilities for active learning in physical spaces by:
• providing increased opportunity for student engagement
• supporting a range of learners and learning activities
• fostering blended learning experiences.
The presentation will feature visual displays of the technology, its various interfaces and feedback including clips from interviews with students and academics participating in the early stages of the pilot.
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