Using Technology to Enhance the Student Experience in Large Cohort Settings: Evidence from a Journey of Innovation at the University of Manchester

Main Article Content

Paul Middleditch William Moindrot

Abstract

The use of large cohorts in higher education poses significant challenges to institutions and lecturers required to convene in this setting. These challenges have been compounded by recent changes to higher education in the UK that have presented themselves in the form of a new fees structure, a push for student satisfaction and a technological tidal wave. This paper presents innovative approaches, from two large cohort economics courses running over three years at the University of Manchester, using methods of classroom interaction, peer instruction and social media to further engagement. We discuss data collected during this period of time through surveys and observations of how the students used these new learning tools. We have found that a move away from clickers toward utilisation of students’ own mobile devices, and in time the use of social media, meant that we were more able to adapt and evolve our teaching methods at a pace with the needs and interests of our students. We use this evidence to consider the implications and to provide advice to others teaching on large cohort courses whose ambition, like ours, is to make the large cohort class a more positive experience.

Article Details

Section
Reflective Analysis Papers
Author Biography

Paul Middleditch, University of Manchester

Dr Paul Middleditch is a Lecturer in Macroeconomics at the University of Manchester, Associate Member of the Economics Network and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). He received his BA in Economics at Kingston University in 2003 and MSc in Economics at Birkbeck College before going on to the University of Surrey to complete his PhD, also in Economics. His research interests include monetary policy, macroeconomic time series and also innovation in the area of pedagogy. Paul received the inaugural Economics Network 'Outstanding Teaching Award' in 2013 and a Manchester University Distinguished Achievement Medal 'Teacher of the Year' in 2014.

References

Bean, M. (2014, 6 November). Sir John Cass’s Foundation lecture [Online]. London: Cass Business School. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/i6tQ9ACAqM0

Bligh, D. A. (1998). What's the use of lectures? Intellect books.

Boyle, J. T., & Nicol, D. J. (2003). Using classroom communication systems to support interaction and discussion in large class settings. Research in Learning Technology, 11(3).
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0968776030110305

Broussard, B. (2012). To click or not to click: Learning to teach to the microwave generation. Nurse Education in Practice, 12(1), 3–5.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2011.03.013

Bruff, D. (2009). Teaching with classroom response systems: Creating active learning environments. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

Bunce, D., Flens, E., & Neiles, K. (2010). How long can students pay attention in Class? A study of student attention decline using clickers. Journal of Chemical Education, 87, 1438–1443.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ed100409p

Chowdhry, S., Sieler, K., & Alwis, L., (2014). A study of the impact of technology-enhanced learning on student academic performance. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 2(3), 3–15.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., Morrison, K., & Dawson, B. (2007). Research methods in education. London; New York: Routledge.

Crouch, C. H., & Mazur, E. (2001). Peer instruction: Ten years of experience and results. American Journal of Physics, 69(9), 970–977.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1374249

Cutts, Q. I., Kennedy, G. E., Mitchell, C., & Draper, S. (2004). Maximising dialogue in lectures using group response systems. Paper presented at the 7th IASTED International Conference on Computers and Advanced Technology in Education, Hawaii.

Draper, S. W., & Brown, M. I. (2004). Increasing interactivity in lectures using an electronic voting system. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20(2), 81–94.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2729.2004.00074.x

Dufresne, R. J., Gerace, W. J., Leonard, W. J., Mestre, J. P., & Wenk, L. (1996). Classtalk: A classroom communication system for active learning. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 7, 3–47.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02948592

Freeman, M., Bell, A., Comerton-Forde, C., Pickering, J., & Blayney, P. (2007). Factors affecting educational innovation with in class electronic response systems. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23, 149–170.

Gauci, S., Dantas, A., Williams, D., & Kemm, R. (2009). Promoting student-centered active learning in lectures with a personal response system. Advances in Physiology Education, 33, 60–71.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/advan.00109.2007

Graham, M. (2014). Social media as a tool for increased student participation and engagement outside the classroom in higher education. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 2(3),16 –24.

Junco, R., Elavsky, C. M., & Heiberger, G. (2013). Putting Twitter to the test: Assessing outcomes for student collaboration, engagement and success. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2), 273–287.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01284.x

Junco, R., Heiberger, G., & Loken, E. (2011). The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27(2), 119–132.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2729.2010.00387.x

Kassens-Noor, E. (2012). Twitter as a teaching practice to enhance active and informal learning in higher education: The case of sustainable tweets. Active Learning in Higher Education. 13(1): 9–21.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1469787411429190

Koenig, K. (2010). Building acceptance for pedagogical reform through wide-scale implementation of clickers. Journal of College Science Teaching, 39(3), 46–50.

Kolikant, Y. B.-D., Drane, D., & Calkins, S. (2010). “Clickers” as catalysts for transformation of teachers. College Teaching, 58, 127–135.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/87567551003774894

Laurillard, D. (2013). Rethinking university teaching: A conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies. Routledge.

Mazur, E. (1997). Peer instruction: A user's manual. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.881735

National Union of Students. (2010). Student perspectives on technology – demand, perceptions and training needs. Report to HEFCE by NUS. Retrieved from http://www.hefce. ac.uk/pubs/rereports/year/2010/studpersptech/

Nielsen, K. L., Hansen, G., & Stav, J. B. (2013). Teaching with student response systems (SRS): Teacher-centric aspects that can negatively affect students’ experience of using SRS. Research in Learning Technology, 21.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v21i0.18989

O’Donoghue, M., & O’Steen, B. (2007). Clicking on or off? Lecturers’ rationale for using student response systems. Proceedings ascilite Singapore.

O’Donoghue, M., Jardine, R., & Rubner, G. (2010). Developing a hierarchy of clicker use for teaching and learning from models of dialogue analysis. Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2010 (1), 2105–2114.

Perlman-Dee, P. (2014). Vignettes of TurningPoint use within humanities: Case Study 1 – TurningPoint usage: Fun, engaging, enhancing. Turning Technologies User Conference 2014, Manchester. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/N4L97bLALuE

Shulman, L. S. (2005). Pedagogies of uncertainty. Liberal Education, 91(2), 18–25.

Simpson, V., & Oliver, M. (2007). Electronic voting systems for lectures then and now: A comparison of research and practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(2), 187–208.

Stephens, D. J. (2013). Hacking your education: Ditch the lectures, save tens of thousands, and learn more than your peers ever will. Penguin.

Walker, R., Voce, J., & Jenkins, M. (2013). Charting the development of technology-enhanced learning developments across the UK higher education sector: A longitudinal perspective (2001–2012). Interactive Learning Environments.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10494820.2013.867888