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Exploration of the student experience of e-learning: beginning to bridge the learning divide

Lynne Jump, Malcolm Ryan, Rita Headington, Mandy Atkinson
University of Greenwich, London, UK

Introduction

This proposal aims, through debate within symposium to explore the student experience of e-learning. The team facilitating the discussion will draw upon their experience of an HEA funded pathfinder project, the main aim of which was to collect learner stories about their experience of using technology in their everyday learning activities at the University of Greenwich across a range of programmes, levels, locations and student groups.

Method

The project design responded to the growing body of student voice literature and then utilised and built upon the JISC-funded studies that focussed on understanding the learner perspectives on the role of technology in learning, namely:
• the LEX study which investigated a broad spectrum of technology use by eliciting rich data about learners’ feelings, beliefs and intentions towards e-learning (Creanor et al, 2006);
• the LXP studies which explored disciplinary differences in uses of technology by university students through a variety of methodologies (Conole et al, 2006).

Results

The symposium will be organised as a round table discussion that will be structured into three sections:
• Designing an online survey tool, and the results of our survey.
• Exploring student stories.
• What can learned from the project and taking the findings back to enhance learning.

To stimulate discussion each section will start by asking the participants to discuss and debate a particular question, this will be followed by an interactive presentation by the respective member of the project team who will share the findings of the project and invite contributions to the resulting discussion from personal perspectives. The questions are:
• What is effective learning within a context of digital technology?
• What are the myths and truths about the identity of today's learners?
• What practical changes need to happen in order to see real change?

Conclusion

The final section of the symposium will invite contributions from the participants in order to collate the views and perspectives of all the participants in order to focus the discussion on the following:
• The issues that have arisen as a result of the round table debates.
• New speculative approaches to enhancing the student experience.
• A controversial stand to the future of Higher Education teaching and learning and the role and integration of technology within that education.

The symposium will provide an opportunity to explore the predictive value of Student Experience of E-Learning Laboratory (SEEL) project.