Using Web2 for peer support and learning

Holden, Georgina (2010). Using Web2 for peer support and learning. In: Learning Futures Festival, 11-14 Jan 2010, University of Leicester - online conference.



This paper discusses the preliminary results of a two-year JISC funded project entitled ATELIER-D: Achieving Transformation, Enhanced Learning and Innovation through Educational Resources in Design. The ATELIER-D project is based in the Design group at that Open University. The Open University is the largest distance teaching university in the UK. The design group, has around 1000 students a year studying its courses and materials are delivered in a variety of ways including print, online, course forums, and multi-media materials. There are six academics and a research assistand working on project, each of whom has, in the first year of the project, explored the use of different web2 based technologies to support student learning.

The ATELIER-D project takes as its starting point the recognition that increasing numbers of Open University students are already using web2 interfaces such as Facebook,Skype and Secondlife. Increasingly familiarity with these interfaces is shaping the expectations students bring to courses.
In its first year the project sought to examine the possiblity of using 5 open access interfaces and one inhouse interface for curriculum delivery. The focus of the study was on student engagement and collaborative working as these are viewed as increasingly important areas for designers. To enable this evaluation a series of pilot studies was devised. Each pilot study was carried out with volunteers drawn from existing design courses and focused on using the interface to support a particular learning objective also taught using established distance teaching methods particularly print and multi-media disks. The interfaces used were, Facebook, Secondlife, Elluminate (conferencing tool), Compendium Knowledge mapping, Flickr. Work has also progresses on the development of an inhouse interface OpenDesign Studio (ODS) which will be used in the second year of the project.

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