Royal Roads emerged as a university in 1995 with a methodology grounded in collaborative, cohort-based course work. This case study is based on a third year bachelor of communication course that was delivered entirely online during the fall term of 2016.
Background of this presentation
Examined through the lens of Susan Crichton’s (2016), design thinking and the critical theory notion of moving a learner from passive participant to active learner (Kincheloe, 2008), this case study reveals the role of technology and facilitation in empowering learners to build an online community for a communications course designed and delivered using Moodle 2.2. With the intention of empowering students to own their learning process, this case study uncovers how challenging old notions and viewpoints around learning, and how drawing upon new and old technologies, and how relying on strong learning design resulted in unexpected successes. This presentation explores the impact of peer evaluation, of presenting the learner as expert, and of collaborative learning design. The intention of the course was to empower students to be influencers and to express their own thought leadership. While many learners fully embraced the experience, some were reluctant and resisted the empowerment outlets offered to them.
What the case study is about
During the fall term of 2016, third-year bachelor of communications students were challenged to create an online community of influence from whatever topic interested them. Some chose to apply this project to their professions and work on behalf of their employers and clients and others chose to focus on personal hobbies and interests. Learners applied various digital communication theories to their community building efforts and were assessed on the quality of their evaluation of whether or not their efforts worked and why, not on the volume of their community.
The digital literacy of the cohort has been historically quite diverse with a wide range of new users and super users. To leverage current knowledge and provide super users a meaningful, challenging experience, learners were invited to volunteer as mentors for bonus marks. At the end of the term, learners voted on who they thought was the most helpful mentors and then asked to recommend a number of bonus marks (maximum of 5) they thought the ‘helpful’ learner should receive. The top three helpful learners received the allotted points.
This presentation will also touch on learning design and despite being presented and delivered on a rudimentary version of Moodle, managed to maintain a clear and intuitive learner journey and flow, that ultimately brought many positive results.
Crighton, S. 2016. Using design thinking for meaningful change. Vancouver, Canada.
Kincheloe, J. L. 2008. Critical pedagogy primer. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Martin Hawksey posted an update in the session When empowerment goes right: a case study of inspiring thought leadership that went viral  4 years ago
Unfortunately this session will no longer be presented as the author has had to withdraw