CREATING A MULTI-ACCESS LEARNING COMMUNITY IN THE CIS SANDBOX
Bentley University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:The CIS Sandbox is the university's technology social learning space which provides tutoring for students in their Computer Information Systems (CIS) courses, as well as opportunities for informal learning through career events, access to technology and devices, and a physical space for collaboration and networking with other students. Prior to the pandemic, all of these services were offered in person only; during the pandemic (Spring 2020-Spring 2021), these services moved online, and when we returned in person, we took the best of what we learned to provide a multi-access approach to providing learning activities and services for students. The CIS Sandbox is open to all students at the university and supports those students enrolled in technology courses offered by the Computer Information Systems Department.
The CIS Sandbox has adapted a multi-access model first proposed for religious institutions bringing their congregation's worship services online during the pandemic. Lederman, Will, and Kaye note: "The challenge with the word hybrid is that it is too limited to describe the new possibilities that are emerging… [many] assume it means … both online and in person, happening simultaneously, and that is the only option. Because of its binary nature, the word also sets up an unrealistic expectation of “getting it right” — that somehow the perfect formula can be found. This is a very limiting assumption." They propose the term multi-access as a way to "open our eyes to what is possible. Multi-access is focused on people, hybrid is focused on technologies. Multi-access allows us to adopt the viewpoint of the people who actually make up our communities. How do they access the community? … This language shift also encourages thinking about accessibility, diversity, and mobility" as participants may join from home, on the road, or later depending on their availability.
Providing multi-access meets needs of learners with varying schedules, increases productivity, offers individualized learning opportunities to meet student needs. The by-appointment tutoring model implemented in the CIS Sandbox uses a ticketing system rather than a calendar reservation system. Students complete an online form to request a tutor on a given topic and indicate when they want to meet with a tutor. Through a software application, the request is automatically routed to all tutors capable of tutoring in that subject. The first tutor who claims the request may contact the student to set up an appointment on Zoom. This creates an incentive for tutors to accept appointments, and offers flexibility as to when they choose to work. They don't have to set aside a block of hours to be available and wait for someone to show up to meet with them.
This presentation will examine this model of multiaccess learning.
Keywords: Multi-access learning, peer learning, tutoring.