Friday, 19 August 2011

Interim Assessment – Twitter/Diigo Experiment

A programme of activities was designed as a trial exercise to test the potential of micro-blogging and social bookmarking to enhance collaborative learning on the Masters course. Reports are available for week 1, week 2, week 3 and week 4 of the trial.

Data was collected from feedback presented on pre/post pilot questionnaires, researchers observations and statistical information on levels of participation.

9 of 56 students signed up to the trial. The majority of responses came from pre-enrolled students. The Programme Leader was invited to take part in order to develop an awareness of the potential of the tools. Students and academics gave initial positive responses to the trial, however levels of participation were disappointing.

Overambitious plans in addition to low levels of interest and participation prompted frequent redefining and reconstruction of research plans and activities, resulting in a scaled down version of the project.

Collaboration with academic colleagues proved difficult, as did encouraging student participation. Running the trial during term-time may have increased levels of interest and participation. However, researching issues affecting participation was fascinating. Feedback indicated that the main factors affecting participation were, “other priorities” and “lack of participation of others”.

Exploring action research as a methodology has been a new and inspiring experience. Action research has proven a useful way of testing new ideas, and developing professional practice.

Initial findings suggest that it may be beneficial to test the integration of Twitter and possibly Diigo in a live Masters module. A Summer School of live Twitter chat sessions may be recommended. Feedback has also suggested considering Google+ and Facebook as alternative tools.

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