The first 3 months of the project have been a busy time but we have made a good start. The project preparation and initiation phase has been completed and the Project Plan has been written. In March we appointed our Project Researcher, Angela Thurnham. Angela will be working across both institutions, collecting and analysing our data, amongst other project-related activities. At both institutions, staff have been getting familiar with some of the new technologies, e.g. digital voice recorders, Audacity, Ning.
Work at Bradford has involved staff from Health Care, Optometry, Business and Education investigating the use of audio to provide formative and summative feedback. Initial responses from both staff and students has been positive. Telephone interviews with Master level students in Health Care who had been provided with formative feedback on their work indicated that they felt that their audio feedback had a more personal touch than their usual written feedback. In Business, work has been underway to create a software application that enables tutors to link audio with written feedback through assigning both the same student ID number. Students on a distance learning course in Optometry have been part of an online learning community created by their tutor in Ning. Not only has this enabled them to collaborate and share ideas with each other, but they have also been able to access podcasts to support their learning. New and experienced lecturers taking part in a Post Graduate Certificate in HE Practice have themselves experienced what it is like to receive audio feedback on their assignments. It is hoped that this will encourage them to consider providing audio feedback for their own students.
At Hetfordshire, staff from Computing, Accountancy and Law have been involved in a one member of staff has been using audio within a wiki to support group-based assessment. This has involved both staff and students using audio. The response from the students has been excellent, with many of them sourcing their own tools to create and edit their audio contributions. In their reflective blogs, some students have also included audio files with their postings. In Accountancy, students have been involved in an assignment that required them to submit an audio recording of a discussion they had on an article entitled “The normative origins of positive theories: ideology and accounting thought”. Students were much more concerned about writing a 3000 group report than they were about recording a 6-8 minute discussion. In Law, staff created a podcast containing scripted scenarios involving breaches of the Solicitors Accounts Rules. Students were required to listen to this podcast in preparation for their next workshop session. In this workshop the students were split into groups of 3 or 4 and asked to create a second podcast. This included a formative assessment on the scenarios in the first podcast, a verbal narration of a Client Account Ledger and a reflective blog of their learning experiences during this project.
All in all, a busy and productive first 3 months.