AUGMENTED, ASSESSED, ADDRESSED: REFRAMING THE CURRICULA FOR FIRST YEAR STEM STUDENTS
1 Anglia Ruskin University (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 Bournemouth University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:There is a particular challenge with engaging technically motivated STEM students with ‘softer skill’ development, despite clear evidence from employers that these skills are highly desirable. In the UK, Higher Education Institutes response has been to require undergraduate courses to contain an element of Personal Development Planning (PDP). Universities are required to provide a transcript to record their learning and achievement and a process by which they can monitor, build and reflect on their development. Our paper directly addresses the issue of trying to engage student from Computer and Gaming courses with their PDP. Previous experiences of teaching these cohorts traditionally report low attendance and poor completion rates, impacting on first year/second year progression.
Our work has involved reframing the curricula for this essential aspect of the student learning experience, by offering the students realistic and authentic tasks by ‘flipping’ the classroom. This requires them to work in small groups, selecting, designing and then creating an augmented reality artifact using ‘Aurasma’, a free software tool for developing augmented reality objects. The whole project was based around the library, and encouraged students to visit the library. The first stages of this showed that students attendance patterns were transformed, they engaged inside and outside the classroom, and work submission rose from 66% to 82%. This paper reports on the second iteration of the 'Augmented Reality (AR) for learning skills project’ at Anglia Ruskin University. The project has been extended from sixty students in three classes based in a single course to 130 students in five classes in two different courses. We note that the co-design process of curriculum development has enhanced student engagement. Students are already taking a more active role as they can see value and effect of their predecessors input into developing the tasks and activities.
The scope of work has been extended by implementing suggestions on the curriculum from students and using the work created from the first iteration as examples to guide students. We have noted that the use of previous examples, in particular the blogs, which outlined the developmental process from the student point of view, give the current students a boost in understanding the technology and they have set more challenging goals for themselves. In particular the basic AR applications now incorporate design, testing and peer evaluation and has been extended to include the creation of a ‘treasure hunt’ application game. The paper concludes with suggested guidelines for others that may be interested in replicating some aspects of this work into their own teaching/learning contexts.
Keywords: STEM, Professional Development, Academic skills, Student engagement, Augmented Reality.