Increasing Student Engagement and Retention Using Classroom Technologies: Classroom Response Systems and Mediated Discourse Technologies: Volume 6 Part E


Table of contents

(19 chapters)

The chapters in this book focus on using different types of mediated discourse technologies such as classroom response systems and class replay systems to create technology-rich social learning environments within the classroom. Improvements in low-cost, ubiquitous digital technologies and development of modern learning theories are rapidly changing the manner in which we teach and learn in the postindustrial age. These transformative advancements are also refining our views of what it means to teach and learn in a globalized world. At both the individual and group levels, mediated discourse technologies are becoming more prevalent in higher education as teaching and learning tools across a wide range of disciplines to better engage students and create more participatory and engaging learning environments. Using these technologies in a purposeful manner also has the potential of creating more interesting and enjoyable social learning environments for both instructors and students.

This chapter examines the introduction of Electronic Voting Systems (EVS) at a UK university with the aim of promoting and supporting the student learning experience and moving from an ‘ad hoc’ and individual basis for the use of EVS at the local school level to offering support for using and developing their use on a wider institutional basis. Following discussion of the research into EVS adoption and use, the authors propose a framework to be used by those academics and managers in higher education institutions (HEI) who are interested in introducing specific technologies to support learning, such as the EVS. The framework incorporates a three-way focus on the development of a robust technology infrastructure, the provision of support and training for those using new technologies, placed within the context of sound change management principles and thus supported by the research into these areas. Previous studies in Europe, the United States and Canada into the use of EVS as, for example, in the REAP (Re-Engineering Assessment Practices) project (Nicol & Draper, 2009) have indicated that students are enthusiastic about their use in the lecture hall and seminar room and that the creative use of EVS by academics enhances their use to stimulate and support a number of classroom interactions. To date, however, there has been a lack of research studies on institutional deployment of EVS. This work is intended to outline the salient issues and start that conversation.

This chapter presents a case study of the ways the Phoebe pedagogic planner assists faculty to design and select e-learning technology because “it's not the technology, but the [quality] of the educational experience that affects learning” (Seltz, 2010, p. 1). Faculty applied guidance from Phoebe to evaluate various interactive media options for undergraduate psychology courses to enhance student learning and engagement. The authors discuss the application of instructional technology in Introduction to Psychology, Cross-cultural Psychology, and Human Motivation and Emotion courses. These projects were prompted by earlier work (Hager & Clemmons, 2010) that explored collaboration to promote integration of technology in traditional courses. The new technologies include discussion forums; online simulations, cases and assessments; text-to-poll; and the Moodle learning management system (LMS). Current theories of e-learning are applied to analyze and critique these projects, concluding with recommendations for future research, practice, and faculty development to incorporate learning technologies. The authors demonstrate how learner-centered collaboration among faculty, researchers, and administrators can shape and improve student engagement and develop institutional cultures of e-learning.

Technology is transforming teaching in ways that break down classroom walls while improving course quality and capitalizing on educators’ creativity. Rather than using technology in an ad hoc way, technology needs to fit the content and pedagogical style of the teacher.Our chapter builds on the extant literature on the necessary knowledge to integrate content, pedagogy, and technology (TPACK) in the classroom. We propose a comprehensive model that outlines the factors that lead to the development of TPACK, the relationship between TPACK and the use of technology, and outcomes gleaned from technology-enhanced learning.Our proposed model is an important first step to considering the precursors and outcomes of TPACK, which will need to be validated empirically. We extend the TPACK framework by identifying the predictors of TPACK such as teacher self-efficacy, experience with technology, and student factors. We argue that the extent to which educators develop their TPACK and use technology is bound by contextual factors such as organizational culture, resources, and student characteristics. Without considering the extensions that are identified in the Technology Integration Model, the linkages between TPACK and desirable outcomes (e.g., student engagement) are unclear. As a result, our proposed model has implications for educators and institutions alike.

This chapter stems from the need to focus on the inherent interplay of faculty and student engagement while studying the impact of social media in higher education teaching and learning. The discussion is specifically concerned with the role and affordances of microblogging in the rethinking of the teacher/student relationship and in blurring the boundaries of academic contexts. The chapter examines an early experimentation of Twitter use to foster and monitor participation by the master students enrolled in a Human Resources Management class in an Italian university. The pilot is discussed referring to lessons learned from a range of accounted empirical cases and relevant studies on microblogging for teaching and learning in academia. A special focus addresses both a revised notion of academic scholarship and engagement, prompted by emergent profiles of networked faculty, and debates about the multiple ways of conceptualizing student engagement in the current academic cultures and contexts, being challenged by an increasingly complex digital landscape and by a varied typology of learners coming to university. As conclusion, issues related to the range of alignments to be taken into account when adopting social networking services in a higher education context are suggested as cues for an ongoing discussion.

The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate and discuss an exploratory research about an educational innovation project to be introduced in a higher education institution. The background of the initiative belongs to the rolling upgrades of information and communication technology infrastructures and services on modern university campuses. The chapter discusses the benefits of the decoupling Classroom Replay system, i.e., a classroom technology that records lectures and makes them available on dedicated online channels as video files or audio podcast. The chapter argues that learners will benefit from the service if a social tagging system is offered, such that users can quickly browse the files and create their own learning path through the recorded material.

VIBu – Virtual Teams in International Business – is the name of a training concept, which is aimed at familiarizing participants with collaborating in a virtual environment. Based on the online business simulation RealGame™, participants are assigned to multicultural virtual teams that represent different companies. These companies are either competing with or depending on each other in typical business processes of an internationally operating manufacturing company. Interaction and negotiation are required throughout the whole simulation. All communication takes place via information and communication technology, mainly Skype and Skype chat. The main challenge in the environment is that participants are located in different countries and time zones all over the world. The book chapter first outlines some of the challenges of global teamwork that organizations face. We argue that students need to learn how to navigate in global teams before they leave university as they are bound to become involved in organizational global teamwork sooner rather than later. We draw on frameworks for experiential learning (e.g., Kolb's learning model, Kolb, 1984) and the constructivist learning paradigm (Lainema, 2009) to outline the learning experiences that students need to gather in order to become effective global team members. In addition, we highlight the potential for learner engagement that this approach offers. The chapter concludes by highlighting the key learning and teaching outcomes from incorporating this cutting-edge simulation technology. Furthermore, we direct the reader's attention to ways in which the simulation can be used for research purposes, international inter-university collaborations, and multidisciplinary research on teaching practices and engaged learning.

Mediated communication can be thought of as a mediated discourse, involving the knowledge of language, symbols, metaphors, and shared meaning. We describe here a funded study where we investigate the effectiveness of text messaging as a learning tool for higher level courses and provide insight into the use of texting as a supplemental, yet critical learning tool in the teaching and learning process. The design, based on the Vygotskian constructivist paradigm, where learning can happen in social and collaborative interactions, assesses three types of communication within student groups, (1) face-to-face (FTF), (2) using only Instant Messenger (IM), and (3) using only cell phone texting. For analyzing the IM and text exchanges we follow the recommendations of Thurlow (2003) using thematic referential coding schemes. Using the concept of Grice (1975), we detect the presence of conversational maxims and implicature and also the presence of adjacency pairs (Sacks, Schegloff, Jefferson, 1974), indicating turn-taking in IM and texting conversations. Results from content and conversational analyses indicate that while there is an innate preference for FTF discussions among participants, participants felt that IM and texting would be useful if used intermittently and as a supplementary learning tool in classrooms to mediate discussions. Participants also felt that IM and texting focused them on tasks and despite any frustrations with the technology they did gain a shared understanding of the subject matter and gained new and conceptual knowledge. The findings from this research can be used to explore the use of an additional dimension of learning in school and university classrooms.

In this chapter, we introduce a new technology for facilitating and measuring learner engagement. The system creates a learning experience for students based on frequent feedback, which is critical to learning. We open by problematizing traditional approaches to learner engagement that do not maximize the potential of feedback and offer a research-based solution in a new classroom response system (CRS) two of the authors developed at Harvard University – Learning Catalytics. The chapter includes an overview of cognitive science principles linked to student learning and how those principles are tied to Learning Catalytics. We then provide an overview of the limitations of existing CRSs and describe how Learning Catalytics addresses those limitations. Finally, we describe how we used Learning Catalytics to facilitate and measure learner engagement in novel ways, through a pilot implementation in an undergraduate physics classroom at Harvard University. This pilot was guided by two questions: How can we use Learning Catalytics to help students engage with subject matter in ways that will help them learn? And how can we measure student engagement in new ways using the analytics built into the system? The objective of this chapter is to introduce Learning Catalytics as a new instructional tool and respond to these questions.

This chapter reviews student engagement and learning over of a six year study period (>500 students) in a technology rich learning environment. The technology rich learning environment in this project consists of tablet PCs for each student (1:1 environment), visually immersive multiple projection screens, and collaborative digital inking software. This chapter reviews the education problem being addressed, and the learning theory used as a lens to focus specific active learning pedagogical techniques to address the educational problem. From this problem-based learning theory grounded approach, the features desired in a technology rich learning environment were developed. The approach is shared in this chapter with specific detailed examples to allow others to implement technology rich learning environments with active learning pedagogical approaches to address specific education problems in their institution. The technology rich learning environment implemented and studied includes multiple hardware/software pieces to create a system level solution versus a single device or single app solution.

Using a navigational metaphor, this chapter introduces readers to the sometimes stormy seas of implementing new learning technologies into a course, especially those that have pre-existing design flaws (lack of rigor, accountability, content and time constraints, etc.). In addition to presenting what we feel are some best practices in using iOS devices, we analyze nearly 600 students’ reactions to these devices related to how they were used in a 100 level survey style course. For every student who told us that they were “awesome” or helped them “learn and discover new things through [the] course,” there were multiple students who felt that “they are damaging [the] learning experience because they are distracting.” The central argument of this chapter is that without engaging in a dialectic course (re)design process that puts the affordances of the learning technology in conversation with classic principles of instructional design, the utility of adding iOS devices will be limited at best and distracting at worst. The instructors in the course described here did use the devices in a variety of ways and many students were satisfied with the learning experience. However, for others, the combination of the course being too easy and too forgiving along with putting the Internet into students’ hands was a recipe for incivility and off-task uses of technology.

Anthony ‘Skip’ Basiel has been involved in e-learning in the United Kingdom for almost two decades. His work with the British Council in 2004 won him eTutor of the Year Award with the Higher Education Academy. As an Adobe International Education Leader he has expertise in new media and web video conferencing consulting organizations such as Oxford University. He is an Adobe Certified Associate in Web Communication (2010).

Publication date
Book series
Cutting-Edge Technologies in Higher Education
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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