This session considers how the Talis Elevate tool – in support of an active, collaborative pedagogic approach – can help students to engage in collaborative reading as a means of driving engagement. Lecture notes and supplementary reading still form the backbone of learning and teaching activity in many disciplines. However, we still do not have a very developed understanding of how students actually engage with such activities, while their interactions with each other often remain hidden from view. Relatedly, we often find that student engagement with discussion-based activity – in class and online – lacklustre, and growing engagement with such activities can be a challenge. Until recently, technology has either not been available or provided insufficient granularity to help provide further insights into these issues. Collaborative learning has clear benefits for developing student understanding and creating support networks across cohorts. It has been shown, for example, to have the potential to grow criticality, build communities of practice, and even to improve students’ results in assessments (Laal and Ghodsi, 2012). Because of such successes and the acknowledged benefits of peer-to-peer learning, many university teachers feel obliged to incorporate discussion into their teaching, (Cho & Summers, 2012). However, students often fail to recognise the value of traditional discussion activities – whether in class or online – due to their focus on learning ‘answers’ from the teacher.
This session offers a case study of how Talis Elevate was used by 8 academics at the University of Lincoln this past academic year, to engage over 200 students with collaboration and social learning, encouraging and enabling them to read together and collaborate online. Students were required to engage directly with resources outside of class, activities which then informed in-class work directly, to improve student dialogue directly within resources online and to raise expectations for active learner participation in the classroom. The process enabled us to gain greater insight into student behaviour in relation to core teaching materials. The session will outline the pedagogic approach that we have adopted, the rationale underlying it, student feedback on the tool and approach, its benefits and drawbacks. Issues such as collaborative learning, student (and staff) preparation for face-to-face teaching, and assessment will also be addressed. We will discuss the feedback from both students and staff, collected through module evaluation and academic focus groups, discuss what worked and what didn’t work, and give an overview of the findings around improving student engagement.
Talis Elevate is a new learning technology the University of Lincoln trialled and later adopted, during the 18/19 academic year, enabling discussion, collaboration and social learning directly within resources of multiple types, as well as a private study and note-taking capabilities for students. Talis Elevate also provides detailed, granular, in resource analytics, providing academics and students with insight into how students are truly interacting with the content used in teaching. Throughout this project, colleagues at the University of Lincoln worked in partnership with Talis to make full use of the tool.
Cho, M.-H., & Summers, J. (2012). Factor validity of the motivated strategies for learning questionnaire (MSLQ) in asynchronous online learning environments (AOLE). Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 23(1), 5–28.
Laal, M. and Ghodsi, S.M., 2012. Benefits of collaborative learning. Procedia-social and behavioral sciences, 31, pp.486-490.