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bullet  The Results Network

What is RESULTs?

Resource Exchange and Support for Users of Learning Technologies

RESULTs is a JISC-funded project to develop a national web portal for learning technologists in higher education - a rich and dynamic "one-stop-shop" for the professional learning technologist offering a unified base of resources and materials linked to real user experiences.

RESULTs will include a range of online facilities to support working practices, share experiences and exchange and review materials. RESULTs will provide a dynamic forum to develop ideas or gain new sets of skills and insights into particular learning technologies and their application.

Who is it for?

RESULTs will be a portal owned by the learning technology community in all its guises and will directly reflect their interests and concerns. It will bring together all those involved in the application of technology in teaching, learning and assessment. In particular, it will offer for the first time a "joined up" community of practice to those working in the growing array of services, initiatives and projects across higher education in the UK. It is for academics, teachers and practitioners using technology at any and all levels, and across all disciplines.

RESULTs is NOT a resource centre for learning and teaching in general. These services are already well established (for example the RDN) or are in development (the JISC DNER learning & teaching portal; the LTSNs).

What is happening?

So far, the RESULTs team have been working hard to build the foundations of the portal. Developments include modelling key elements and features of the "dynamic" web portal interface and incorporating IMS metadata elements into the site backbone. We have also undertaken a major user needs analysis to identify who our potential users and contributors are, what they want to see and how they wish to interact with the service and each other.

Our next plans are exciting but ambitious. They include:

  • Further developing the underlying RESULTs content database

  • Building corresponding user / contributor submission tools

  • Building up early "communities of practice"

  • Building the numbers of contributors and example resources

  • Researching and commissioning editorials, case studies and other documents to "wrap around" example content

We will then have the early web portal prototype to disseminate to our evaluators and "critical friends" for feedback and comment.

How can you get involved?

RESULTs have established a small group of evaluators to provide feedback at key stages in the portal development. If you wish to be involved in a focused discussion on the emerging service, please let us know. Once the prototype goes live, you will also be able to have a play and provide comments via an online form on the web site.

RESULTs is looking for core resources to populate the initial content of the portal and these will be available in two main ways. Firstly, we are looking for key staff development and case study resource to hold on the site. For example you may lead a project that is coming to an end and wish to transfer your resources to a national site. Secondly, we are looking to point to resources held elsewhere using metadata tagging on the RESULTs portal and the remote resource to enable seamless searching across both sites. If you wish to contribute in either way, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Of course if you would like to know more, or you would like to get involved in other ways, please contact:

Contact

RESULTs Project Manager, Dr Jay Dempster
Centre for Academic Practice, University of Warwick
Telephone 024 7652 4670 or by email at
jay.dempster@warwick.ac.uk.


bullet  Warwick Teaching Certificate

A recent issue of Interactions (Volume 4, No. 3) included an article on 'Introducing Text-Based Computer Conferencing within an Accredited Academic Development Programme'. A year on, many of the aims outlined in the article have been met and development is ongoing. Some changes in staffing have implications for tutor 'training' but otherwise plans for the coming year are more or less as initially envisaged. We have found that, providing technical access issues do not arise, participants with no experience in using WebBoard (or other computer conferencing facilities) quickly gain basic proficiency with the software without detailed priming or tutor intervention. Achieving 'information exchange' has not proved difficult but 'knowledge construction' has only been achieved in relation to tasks embedded in the course structure. Many participants' preferred mode of interaction has been through the conference mailing lists. Technical problems with the mailing list facility have proved an irritating distraction. It is hoped that these difficulties have been fixed for the coming year.


bullet  TELRI…the work goes on!

The TELRI Project, a TLTP Phase III project funded by HEFCE will continue to provide materials and support after the project's official ending date of September 30, 2001 through its web site at:


www.telri.ac.uk


The highly successful three year project TELRI, which stands for Technology Enhanced Learning in Research-led Institutions, has been actively researching and implementing course modules designed to boost the transferable and cognitive skills and problem solving abilities of students in higher education. Across the disciplines, over sixty course modules have run or are planned and most are repeated term after term.

Accomplished through the use of research and technology, TELRI has focused on the cognitive skills of researchers, defined some of them, and suggested how they can be developed and assessed in students and their work. The research process is inherently a learning process, and students do well to emulate the learning characteristics of the researching teacher.

Highly conducive to collaborative learning efforts, TELRI has empowered students to document share, critique and comment upon the work of their module peers online. Through the use of Virtual Learning Environments and conferencing software, the increased visibility of student work makes educational processes more explicit to both students and tutors. Furthermore, where such activities are the main focus of the course, especially where contributions during the process are linked to the assessment, the approach can ensure active participation by all students.

As the debate over the links between research, learning and teaching perseveres, students engaging in the TELRI advantage will do likewise. For your students to benefit from these innovative educational and technological approaches, the project invites you to go access the TELRI web-site at http://www.telri.ac.uk, where you may download the materials. You may also email the project at telri@warwick.ac.uk or write to: TELRI Project, Centre for Academic Practice, University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill, Coventry CV4 7AL. Be a part of the solution: give your students the TELRI advantage today.

TELRI Case Studies

URL http://www.telri.ac.uk/Evaluation/Case_Studies/

The use of the web for online publishing and critical review to support student learning has been a key approach in all the research-based courses implemented through the TELRI Project. The following case studies document approaches in courses across a range of subject disciplines and evaluation of both the implementation and delivery experiences as well as the effectiveness of student learning.

These are brief reports - each is 4-8 pages including title page and pictures - so hopefully provides a fairly manageable way of obtaining a picture of research-based learning and teaching practice across the University.

  1. French Language Learning
  2. Italian Studies Translation Work
  3. English Comparative Literary Studies
  4. Theatre Studies
  5. Researching Local History
  6. Law in Development Dissertations
  7. Teacher Training
  8. Research Methodologies
  9. Information Technology for Chemists
  10. Peer Assessment in Computer Science
  11. Bioinformatics on the Web
  12. Multimedia Systems (pending)

There are definite variances in the learning activities and support requirements across the disciplines. However, analysing evaluation results, a number of outcomes emerge as generic across all subjects and courses. Primarily these fall into a few categories:

Table 1: Generic outcomes from implementation of research-based approaches in subject-based courses (TELRI Project).
 
Outcome
Evidence of

1. Increased quality of written and orally presented work Enhanced learning
2. Conceptual understanding of underlying meaning High order learning
3. Generation of original ideas Creativity and Synthesis
4. Improved search and analysis techniques Reasoning and Analysis
5. Increased student motivation and sense of ownership of the learning Student-led approach
6. Increased student participation inreview processes Discussion-led approach
7. Students woring more as a group than individuals Collaborative learning
Evaluation approach

Specific evaluations of the implementation of research-based learning approaches were conducted using a variety of standard methods. We triangulated findings from interviews with course developers/tutors, student questionnaires and the reflective observations of the support team members. In our approach, we compare qualitatively educational effectiveness of the new teaching and learning approaches with previous or possible alternative approaches, including the role played by technological intervention. We considered the intended capabilities to be developed against the extent to which the tutor felt the students had demonstrated the specific learning outcomes attributed to research capabilities, that is the "adaptive" components. These are summarised in the table below.

Table 2: Adaptive Learning Outcomes (from the TELRI Course Design Guidelines)

Formation and Generation of....

Personal Interpretation, Meaning and Expression
Evaluation, Decisions and Justification
Arguments, Reasoning and Explanations
Synthesis and Conceptualisation
Originality, Creativity and Innovation

bullet  Accessing and Networking with Remote Experts

The ANNIE Project aims to enhance students' learning experience in theatre and drama studies by accessing research-based teaching and workshops led by practitioners of national and international standing. Through research-based approaches, the courses also aim to promote student engagement in self-directed learning. The case studies established within the ANNIE project, and outlined below, explore essentially four different distance technology methodologies for meeting these aims. Most case studies are about to run or will run in the forthcoming academic year. Taken together at this stage, they serve to illustrate a variety of ways in which remote experts can interact with class-based students through networked teaching and learning activities.

Video-conference seminars and workshops

Students take part in differing mixes of asynchronous preparation work through web-based discussion boards, attending the video-conference(s) and follow-up asynchronous exercise. In a course on Performance and Hypertext, the students can draw on the skills of an artist situated in a remote location to engage in issues regarding the status of the virtual body, and the options it offers for live performance. Four computers with web cameras will be set up in a studio at Warwick. Twelve students will engage in workshop activity with the remote tutor, using cameras and the chat facility available in the chosen iVisit software. The use of web technology in a course on Virtual Scenography allows a remote expert in the creation of virtual world in theatre design to interact with a group of students (probably 8-10). He will present his material, set up some exercises and respond to queries. A videoconference may be used for the final discussion and feedback.

Web-Mediated Video-Based Exercises

These sessions run from a set of pages on the course web site. The exercises are video taped using a digital camera and uploaded to the web site for review by students and the lecturer. One example is a module on Stand-up Comedy where the tutor takes students through a series of exercises to build up their ability to do stand-up comedy. The students undertake the activities as a class, commenting on each other's performance. The students record their feedback and upload it, enabling peer review and tutor assessment.

Software Tutorials

These are distanced learning case studies where students work offline through software tutorials supported online by the lecturer. There is a limited amount of synchronous work. One example of this is for lighting designers at Kent who will receive an introduction to and support for Lighting Design software produced by a professional expert in the field. The module will pilot initial synchronous demonstration, asynchronous use of a support web site of resources, web-based discussion and possible NetMeeting tutorial sessions, culminating in a follow-up videoconference discussion.

Online Learning Support

Web-based learning materials and use of discussion boards for self-directed learning are the main approaches in this area of development. Modules will provide both a support for, and a demonstration of, media- and web-based aspects of theatre work. In a module at Warwick, online environments aim to provide a "virtual residency" for a theatre company to engage with a group of students on the course. An on-site visit is followed by videoconferencing, web-based discussion and the use of images and video shared through the Internet. A module involving remotely located tutor and students will centre on video and pictorial material presented asynchronously through an interactive web site. Students will annotate the materials with their own ideas and interact via a web-based discussion board.


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