Tag Archives: Communities of practice

Using Facebook to enhance collaborative learning for media law students in journalism

Dr David Clarke & Julie Gillin
@shuclarke / @juliegillin

Parallel session 2, Short paper 2.8

Short Abstract
In 2014 a Facebook page was launched to support teaching and learning for Level 6 and 7 journalism students studying media law. This paper explores how the site provides a secure, private learning environment in which students and staff can discuss and share examples of journalistic practice.

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Detailed Outline
The Media Law Facebook page is being used to promote TEL (technology enhanced learning) to provide a safe environment where L6 and 7 students studying Media Law, Regulation and Court Reporting can benefit from collaborative and social learning. At the same time it supports digital literacy skills and ethical practice that are essential to journalists.
The FB site allows them to develop their knowledge of media law and practical court reporting in a professional, supportive context. The module leader facilitates the site which is moderated by colleagues from the teaching staff. Both staff and students contribute content and reflect on their experience reporting upon the criminal courts and coroner’s inquests in Sheffield and South Yorkshire.
Social media use can been seen as disruptive and confusing when there are too many competing platforms, particularly Blackboard (Halverson, 2011). While staff recognise the benefits of social media, at the same time we have concerns about ethical and legal practice online and about privacy. This is of particular significance in the light of the recent Leveson Inquiry into the conduct and ethical practice within the print media.
Journalism educators are faced with the challenge of trying to prepare journalism students for a rapidly changing professional landscape (Rohumaa and Bradshaw, 2011) in which social media is an essential tool and platform. This presents challenges in that we also are required to control their use of social media as students of the university following SHU Social Media Guidelines.
As a result, the journalism team have discussed our individual and group use of Facebook and other social media and agreed a best practice policy.
This development in teaching and learning practice is ongoing and is being used as a template for best practice in related modules and disciplines. Student feedback on their experience of the module will be collected and analysed for use in future research and publications.

HALVERSON, E.R. (2011) Do social networking technologies have a place in formal learning environments ? On the Horizon 19:1, p62-7.
ROHUMAA, L., and BRADSHAW, P. (2011) The Online Journalism Handbook: skills to survive and thrive in the digital age. London: Pearson

3.8 Enlightened vocationalism in a Writing, Editing, Publishing Programme: Effecting excellence

Since the year 2000, when I designed and initiated the Writing, Editing, Publishing Programme at The University of Queensland, graduates have successfully gained employment at prestigious institutions such as the British Standards Institution and the Southbank Centre in London; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and in many international publishing houses. The master’s programme is full fee-paying ($25,000, though students can elect to defer their fees). Enrolments have remained very strong with an intake of around 50 students each year.

These outcomes have been achieved in an arena where excellence is expected and reciprocated. The activities that my staff and I have facilitated for students include interning in writing centres, publishing houses, and institutes,  and on academic journals; co-writing and presenting papers at conferences; co-editing of Conference  Proceedings for a university in New York; co-consulting in the corporate workplace; volunteering as stewards at the annual Oxford Literary Festival and at the Brisbane Writers Festival; tutoring of students in undergraduate Writing classes; guest-lecturing by graduates to the current cohort; articulating into doctoral programmes; working as a research assistant on a Grammar MOOC that the university has commissioned me to construct; and developing strong peer networks in Australia and overseas. Networking is a key feature of the programme.

The cohort comprises graduates from undergraduate degrees in the Arts, Journalism, Law, Business, Music, Science, Economics, Medicine, Accounting, etc.  There is a vibrant social programme and a dynamic online community. The programme has a wiki and a FaceBook page, each of which has more than 300 participants.

The paper will analyse the reasons for the ongoing momentum of the programme and the measures of its success in transforming the lives of so many students through its imaginative and intellectually rich, though vocationally oriented, teaching and learning.

3.3 Supporting Writing Development

This Thunderstorm session will contextualise the use of writers’ workshop through the provision of outline information on the aims, learning outcomes and assessment strategy of the module. The role of the writers’ workshop in supporting student learning will be identified and the methodology briefly described.

The Thunderstorm presenters include two students as well as the module tutor and student perspectives on the experience of the writers’ workshop will form the main part of the presentation. The benefits and challenges of introducing peer-supported learning in relation to writing development will be offered. Student presenters will share examples of their development as writers during the module and will offer some reflections on the contribution of the module to their personal and professional development.

The session will conclude with some implications of writers’ workshop for the role of the tutor in managing student experience and promoting effective learning.

Disentangling course identity: How does ‘Psychology and Sociology’ differ from ‘Psychology’ and ‘Sociology?’ (2014)

Stefanie Ashton Wigman, David Siddens, Lynne Spackman & Diarmuid Verrier

BSc Psychology and Sociology students will be invited to participate in a questionnaire on course identity and belonging. A sub group of this sample will later be invited to be interviewed on this topic, in order to generate more detailed responses. This project is currently in progress and the findings will be ready to be discussed at the Learning and Teaching Conference.

This study will provide us with information of key issues to target with interventions intended to improve perceived course identity and student satisfaction; we expect some of these issues will be specific to the course, and others will be relevant to other courses, particularly other joint or dual honours. Promoting course identity may also have a positive impact on academic performance. For example, a strong group (course) identity is essential for the development of an effective ‘in-group’. The sense of belonging that comes with being part of such a group is associated with higher self-esteem and (academic) commitment (e.g., Ellemers, Spears, & Doosje, 1997). It is proposed that a strong course identity would engender a strong community of practice. A community of practice is a way of enhancing learning based on collaboration (Wenger & Snyder, 2000). Communities of practice are defined by the knowledge dimension of social learning and Hughes (2010) suggests that knowledge-related identity congruence is fundamental for learner engagement.

We will conclude by making suggestions for future research within this topic area, and identifying the ways in which we anticipate that this project’s findings and resources could be related to and used to examine course identity for other courses.

Establishing effective communities of practice (2014)

Jill Dickinson & Vicky Thirlaway

Against a backdrop of increased student fees and decreased employment opportunities, simulation has established itself as a key ingredient in the success of many H.E. courses.

In simulation modules students are encouraged to work together and with their tutor to develop not only substantive knowledge but also their transferable skills. Having experienced “work” within a comparatively safe simulation environment, students can then feel more confident in applying that knowledge within the workplace; both during work placement opportunities and upon gaining graduate employment .

In a simulation module students take responsibility for their learning; this helps to develop their confidence in problem solving. Placing the students at the centre of their learning not only inspires them but also helps to develop their confidence to take on higher-level modules involving problem-based learning opportunities within an actual work-place environment .  However, whilst the focus of any simulation must necessarily be on the students, the role of the supervisor remains paramount in ensuring a successful experience.

Creation of communities of practice  where students are encouraged to work together to solve practical problems encourages them to take ownership of their work, as they collaboratively explore the application of different ideas and, in doing so, create a new shared knowledge base .

Using the recently-validated, 40 credit Clinical Legal Education module as a case-study, tutors have found that there is generally a direct correlation between the standards that they set for the group and the group’s engagement with the module. Expectations are made clear from the very beginning of the module as to attendance, participation, the quantity of work involved and the quality of work expected. In return, students are supervised by experienced tutors who provide inspiration,  guidance and support, whilst at the same time taking care not to overly direct the students’ learning.

Tutors on simulation modules need to ensure they foster a teaching and learning environment which creates optimal levels of engagement, and results in optimal levels of performance.[1] There is a delicate balance to be drawn;[2] whilst the students may not have experienced a simulation module before, such modules also need to act as key stepping stones towards higher-level, work-based learning opportunities, work placements and graduate employment. Students’ anxieties at the start of the module focus upon concerns about group work, and a tendency to seek direction from the tutor. Tutors find that students develop confidence throughout the year to take the initiative in working out what needs to happen next, and proactively progress their “client’s case”.