About the project
During Foundation Degree (FD) work placements at Hull College, learners, employers and tutors need to keep in contact with each other in order to monitor progress. For many students, and indeed employers, this is their first foray into FDs and work placement at Higher Education (HE) level. Both students and employers have reported feeling ‘lost’ at times and unsure of certain practices and regulations. Through the use of online blogs and forums using Elgg and Moodle, students and employers experiences will be enhanced via easy access to support from the team and to an online community of peers taking part in similar experiences.
Students often have problems with being asked to write reflectively for their Personal Development Plan (PDP), simply recording what has been done, rather than reflecting on the task. The reflective element will be embedded within the student’s blog on Elgg. They will be able to view ‘prompts’ in the form of interactive, personalised comments and questions from workplace mentors and tutors to help scaffold the students reflective processes.
Weak writing skills can inhibit the change from recording experience, to being asked to write reflectively. Some students will benefit from an e-portfolio facility in Elgg where images, sound and video can be used to record experience and reflections.
The project will address these questions:
Has the technological awareness and skill levels of learners, employers and tutors been raised?
Did the technology enhance the students, employers and tutors experience?
Did using blogs in a more immediate fashion - incorporating tutor and employer comment as interactive and personalised prompts - facilitate and enhance reflective practice?
Has the e-portfolio space enhanced the recording of work placement experience via sound, images and video of the work placement?
Has the e-portfolio space been used by students / employers to share and upload work to be assessed, or have employers preferred to keep the output from work placements in their own domain?
Has the use of asynchronous discussion forums and the Elgg system enhanced communication between all parties?
Has the use of e-learning impacted upon retention and achievement levels?
Can online communication facilities bring to the surface particular issues with work placements?
A download facility for all the files stored in Elgg and all the blog transcripts is needed, so at a single button press, learners e-portfolio work can be transferred onto portable media. This addresses the interoperability issues between e-portfolio systems.
Training will be developed and delivered to learners, employers and tutors in both a face-to-face and online mode. This online system will be piloted with learners, employers and tutors involved in work placements on FDs run at Hull College. Various evaluative processes will take place during and at the end of the pilot period. Findings will be disseminated to JISC at regular periods and a final report will be drafted.
Next page: Project Funding