Case Study – Mobile Innovation: Promoting distance learner engagement with coursework

This is the final in a series of seven case studies developed as part of the mobile innovation project.  These cutting edge teaching approaches may not be suitable for everyone, and some proved difficult in their implementation, but the project provided the opportunity for staff to try out new ways of delivering learning.

The tutor on this module was concerned that Blackboard was being seen as a barrier to online discussion, he considered other options and decided to pilot Twitter.

Twitter is a powerful social media tool designed to facilitate one-to-many communication.  It is particularly strong in its potential for allowing people to contribute to mass discussion of particular topics.  Given its success as a para-educational tool elsewhere (e.g., communicating information about modules to students), it was introduced as a medium alongside Blackboard on a Masters-level distance-education module.

Using Twitter, students could ‘publish’ their formative coursework and discuss each other’s work.  Although intended to improve student engagement with module tasks, the use of Twitter did not seem to be any more effective than Blackboard in this regard.

This, alongside consideration of the extra workload associated with the use of additional technology and the limitations inherent to a system in which messages can be no more than 140 characters in length, suggested that the sole use of Blackboard might be more appropriate as a medium for formative tasks on this distance-taught module.

You can read more about this approach by reading the two-page case study entitled: Mobile Innovation – Promoting distance learner engagement with coursework

If you are willing to share your experiences in teaching online in a similar case study, please contact us through the Suggestions link.

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