K. Pond

Loughborough University (UNITED KINGDOM)
Many drivers in HE and in the wider context, including the competencies and expectations of Generation Y (typically through teaching delivered by Generation X), lead teachers to embrace innovation, engagement strategies and flexible learning methods to enhance learning.
This paper describes a four year experiment using on-line video case studies as the basis (variously) for formative in-class and on-line forum activity and assessed group coursework. Fundamental concepts underpinning the action research design were Learning styles (Fleming, 2001), Student engagement (Skinner at al., 1990) and Group work (Gatfield, 1999).

The research sought to observe and explain student engagement behaviours when faced with innovative teaching methods.
The project was the progeny of two earlier projects to conceive, write and produce video case studies for a level 5 (Part B undergraduate) Business Lending / Credit Appraisal course. In each of three academic years the videos were used in class, on-line and as a group assessment. As a “control” the case used in the video was first used as a written case in an exam.

The research methodologies used were mainly observation, data collection on student interactions with the videos, focus groups and via a short survey. The methodology developed as the project progressed in order to widen the scope of enquiry.

On the key question of learning development the findings are unimpressive. Although different features were used in the teaching and assessment over the period of the study and it would be difficult to separate the effects of each it remains that the overall quality of student work remained significantly unchanged.

However, student satisfaction with the module remained high and qualitative comments and focus group discussions underpinned the behavioural and emotional engagement that the videos were designed to foster. In a complex area, with numerous potential factors affecting student behaviour the findings are, at best, tentative. However, student ability to cope with and master new techniques was illustrated.