ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT LOOKING AT PROVIDING AN ENVIRONMENT TO IMPROVE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT USING AUDIENCE RESPONSE SYSTEM CONSIDERATIONS AND SMARTPHONE TECHNOLOGY
The UK National Student Survey paints a clear picture about feedback and indicates that students say that assessment and feedback are relatively unsatisfactory elements of their experience of higher education when compared with other aspects of University life. To redress this, within education, feedback can undoubtedly be made more immediate by attempting to engage students in new ways by introducing new technology solutions.
According to Boyle and Nicol “Deep and lasting learning is fostered when students actively engage with the concepts they are learning and construct their own understanding of them”. Activities which show support for such active learning in the lecture environment include debating, questioning and explaining. All of these activities provide immediate feedback situations and help with student engagement by providing discussion opportunities in this setting.
This research explores the possibility of improving and enhancing the lecture experience through the use of technology, in particular, using audience response systems (ARS) and the ubiquitous smartphone. It is envisaged that the use of such a method will lead to improvement in students' conceptual reasoning and ultimately in examination performance due to the student having to use their existing knowledge to analyse, evaluate and explain their rationale for choosing their answers.
The project intends to examine these issues through the use of relevant and, in the first instance, targeted multiple choice questions interspersed within the lecture to stimulate student engagement and interaction with the lecturer. Instant feedback of the chosen answers will be displayed to the students in the form of a graph which will be used to engender discussions helping to expand student understanding of the topic area and allow the lecturer to better judge the level of the students understanding of the subject area.
The timeliness of the feedback is crucial to the understanding of the topic as the positive impact of suitable and timely feedback on learning is undisputed. The use of such feedback, both summative and formative, should be an essential part of the students learning process and should help them to progress.
ARS systems can be expensive; this project will build a cost free, platform independent solution that will be easy for both staff and student audiences to use, whilst making use of the cloud and the student’s smartphone to investigate the aforementioned pedagogical issues.