2012 Promoting distance learner engagement with formative coursework

Diarmuid Verrier

 This ‘thunderstorm’ session outlines an on-going attempt to promote distance-learner engagement with formative coursework via the introduction of Twitter as a task medium.  Study guides used in distance-learning modules often ask students to complete tasks that aren’t summatively assessed, for example, tasks in which students respond to each others contributions critically and positively.  If engagement wanes, fewer students will post and students may be reluctant to go back to check discussion boards after posting, negating the potential for a true discussion developing.  Without the powerful motivator of grades, it’s essential that we make these tasks as user-friendly and engaging as possible.  One possible barrier to student engagement is the sometimes cumbersome nature of virtual learning environment user interfaces.  Twitter’s raison d’ être is to facilitate interaction between individuals.  Unsurprisingly, then, tweeting is a far easier task (quicker and more efficient) than navigating through SHUspace.  The instantaneous nature of tweeting should make it more likely that authentic and spontaneous discussion will break out amongst the student group.  The process of integrating Twitter into coursework, as well as unforeseen challenges that have emerged, will be discussed.

Link to presentation:  Promoting distance learner engagement with formative coursework

B5 – (EN07, EN02, EN14) 11.50