Widening access to fieldwork with interactive livecasts

Cooke, Julia; Wheeler, Philip; Maseyk, Kadmiel and Collins, Trevor (2016). Widening access to fieldwork with interactive livecasts. In: Enhancing Fieldwork Learning Showcase 2016, 12-13 Sep 2016, Reading, UK.

Abstract

Fieldwork is a fundamental part of the curriculum in undergraduate Ecology and Environmental Science, but not all students are able to participate in authentic field exercises. The nature of distance learning students means they are more likely to find fieldwork problematic. We sought to make authentic fieldwork accessible to these students by designing and running an interactive, live field trip for undergraduate Environmental Science students at the Open University. Using the OU’s ‘Stadium Live’ platform we livecast three evening fieldwork sessions examining the ecology of a species rich meadow. Participating students used interactive widgets to make observations, generate hypotheses and design their own field investigation which was carried out and analysed live. This case study shows how new, connected and interactive technology can increase access to fieldwork for all students but particularly those who might otherwise be excluded from it.

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