USING TECHNOLOGY TO ENHANCE STUDENT LEARNING: A CASE STUDY OF PRISON OFFICER ENGAGEMENT ON A ‘BLENDED LEARNING’ PROGRAMME IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Institute of Technology, Sligo (IRELAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:It is being increasingly recognised by scholars that the work of the prison officer has become more complex, and that one key task is the balancing of an emphasis on the maintenance of security within the prison, with the challenge of improving rehabilitation objectives among prisoners. In recognising this testing reality, prison officers in the Republic of Ireland now undertake a two-year higher certificate programme in custodial care (HCCC). The programme is a mixture of vocational training and academic theory, and seeks to foster and develop an increasingly ‘professional’ prison officer.
This paper will outline the structure and content of the HCCC programme. It will explore the experiences of two tutors who work for the Institute of Technology, Sligo and who are involved in teaching on the HCCC. One tutor teaches on the Equality and Diversity module and the other delivers the Custodial Care Policy and Practice class. Both modules are delivered in year two of the HCCC.
The paper will outline the ‘blended-learning’ approach taken on these modules, with a Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) supporting face-to-face tutorials. A range of innovative pedagogical approaches are used, including problem-based learning, work-based learning, online learning through discussion forums, online tutorials, twitter, experiential learning and role plays. Theoretical underpinnings will be provided on the choice of these approaches.
The views of students on their experience of using the VLE and on their educational experience will be outlined in the paper. This will be examined through the theme of ‘building online learning communities’. Through an analysis of the research findings, the authors will present recommendations for improving future educational delivery practice for this cohort of students. It is hoped that these recommendations will be applicable to other student cohorts involved in similar educational approaches.
Keywords: e-learning, blended learning, technology enhanced learning, research on technology in education, prison officers, custodial care, corrections, lifelong learning.