The Great History Conundrum: Solving the Problem with Research Skills
Author: Alex Moseley
Type: Conference Presentation
Responding to a need within a first-year undergraduate History module to improve take-up and engagement by students of the critical analysis and filtering of internet-based historical resources, this innovative project used paradigms from online social networks and immersive online alternative reality games to create a four-week long activity based in problem solving, collaboration and competitive play. Through the solution of a number of puzzles of varying difficulty, high level searching, filtering and criticism skills were taught. Collaboration and reflection were encouraged through the use of discussion forums and the construction of a collective wiki (a resource the students will be able to use throughout the rest of their degree), and carefully constructed assessment criteria encouraged and assessed engagement with the activity and concepts. The activity additionally served to develop a community of practice early in the undergraduate course, hence improving engagement and performance in the wider academic context. This paper will briefly describe the underlying theory behind the course, present the case study, and reveal initial results from the first cohort.