“Anyone there?”: online problem-based learning within academic development

Nerantzi, C 2011, “Anyone there?”: online problem-based learning within academic development , MSc by research thesis, Edinburgh Napier University.

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At the heart of this research project is Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in online settings within Academic Development (AD). A small scale trial was carried out over a period of 6 months with a group of academic developers and individuals who teach or support learning across UK HE institutions and are studying towards the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in HE/Academic Practice. The aim was to explore whether the online 5-step PBL model, adapted and applied during the trial, would maximise engagement and learning around assessment and feedback, taking into account prior knowledge and experience to shape and reshape existing and construct new knowledge collaboratively through PBL. The trial took the form of a ‘naturalistic experiment’, aimed at modelling online PBL and enthusing academic developers and lecturers to explore similar approaches within their own practice. Phenomenography was used as the principal methodology for data collection and analysis, in order to capture the different ways in which a specific phenomenon, in this case the online PBL, was experienced by the participants and identify ‘categories of description’s (Marton, 1994) linked to specific research questions. In keeping with phenomenographic tradition, the main data collection tool was the individual interview. Additional data was collected through a series of questionnaires and reflective accounts. Findings indicate that online PBL has the potential to enable and extend engagement as well as collaborative learning within AD in multi-disciplinary groups beyond institutional boundaries. Participants reported that they found the trial beneficial for their learning and especially enjoyed working with colleagues from different institutions, but also confirmed that there were a number of areas that should be improved, such as facilitation, communication, community formation and the use of technology as well as training provided to online facilitators, to make future online PBL activities more fruitful. Further investigation and adjustments to the model used are therefore needed before applying online PBL within mainstream AD provision.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc by research)
Contributors: Smyth, KJ (Supervisor)
Themes: Subjects / Themes > L Education
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > No Research Centre
Depositing User: Mrs Chrissi Nerantzi
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2011 08:34
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 22:37
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/14940

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