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To summarise, I conducted a staff and student survey to gauge opinions and experiences around a range of areas related to technology in learning and teaching, and in particular the introduction of a baseline for the VLE. I canvassed the community to see what others were doing in this area (something which @philvincent has recently picked up); compared staff and student responses to my questionnaire; and shared how we are automating some of our baseline content. The ELESIG Small Grant Scheme also helped me along the way.
Looking at the data brought back some earlier discussions with Mark Stubbs and Neil Ringan from my time at MMU, and I began to apply Herzberg's notion of Hygiene Factors to minimum standards - some of the more basic 'things' can prevent dissatisfaction, but won't necessarily cause satisfaction.
Well having presented about this a couple of times, I've had an article published with a colleague Simon Watmough in eLearning and Digital Media. It's available through their OnlineFirst page, where they make articles available immediately ahead of print. Simon has done lots of work analysing our NSS results so we've managed to integrate some of this into the article.
I've been planning on running some focus groups with students to really pick the bones of this a bit more - what do students want; why; how do they access it and where from? Hopefully we'll get these going properly soon and have much more to write about. For now though, here's the abstract to the paper and feel free to go access the full text version...
Inconsistency in the use of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) has led to dissatisfaction amongst students and is an issue across the Higher Education sector. This paper outlines research undertaken in one faculty within one university to ascertain staff and student views on minimum standards within the VLE; how the VLE could reduce student dissatisfaction; and to propose a conceptual framework surrounding student satisfaction with the VLE.
A questionnaire was sent to staff and students asking if they agreed with the need to introduce minimum standards in the VLE and what criteria they wanted. The National Student Survey (NSS) results were analysed for six schools within the faculty over a 4-year period. Many of the NSS results were relevant to developing minimum standards with the VLE.
The questionnaire results showed the vast majority of staff and students favour the introduction of minimum standards and identified specific items that should be included, for example handbooks, contact information for staff, access to previous modules, assessment information, further reading, etc. The NSS data showed that students wanted lectures available in the VLE, improved feedback, more computers for students and information about cancelled sessions/timetable changes in the VLE.
The results suggest the presence of many minimum standards may reduce student dissatisfaction with the VLE. However, a distinction is made between those pre-potent factors that cause dissatisfaction and those that lead to satisfaction, using Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory as a theoretical basis.
When considering minimum standards as ‘hygiene factors’, their presence can prevent student dissatisfaction and provide the foundations for innovation in technology-enhanced learning.
The Reed Diaries by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License