Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Compliant students?

By hook or by crook I am determined to introduce my third year students to one networking tool that will stand them in good stead for their studies and ongoing development as new graduate midwives. So I made them join Delicious with the view that it is a tool that will help them with their academic assignments in the research course that I coordinate. So the allusion to compliance in the title of this post comes because I gave them no choice about joining this particular network!

The question is...will they use Delicious; how will they use it; and what will they think of it?

Research project
So my plan is to carry out a very small audit project and review the students' use of Delicious and ask them what they think of it in six months time when their course comes to an end.

On Monday I carried out a session with the students and asked them all to set up a Delicious account. I also set up an account called 'MidwiferyResearch' which will be the account that I feed resources into for the whole class. The only thing I didn't get around to showing them was how to share resources to other people in their network. And I am not sure they realize how they can see all the bookmarks saved by their network. I plan to rectify this by showing them this screencast.

48 hours later
So, 48 hours after I ran the Delicious workshop, here are a couple of facts that I will review in six months time to see how the students have used their accounts:
  • All of the students have networked to each other bar one student (and I haven't looked to see if it is a specific person)
  • Eight of the 13 students have networked with the course account
  • The number of bookmarks saved by the students linked to the course account range from 1 - 12. The average number of bookmarks saved by those students is 6.5
  • The most popular tags are: midwifery and guidelines
  • The course account has 14 bookmarks saved with 8 tags. The most bookmarks saved are tagged: guidelines, nzmidwifery and presentation. As I am the account manager, I am saving the bookmarks that I think will be most helpful and interesting to the students which will be pertaining to research, midwifery practice and academic study.
Is there anything else you think I could include into my analysis? Do you think it would be a good idea to run a very quick survey to ask them what their experience of social bookmarking is up to now? Have you used Delicious either as a teacher or student? If so, how has it gone?

Image: 'alpine strawberry' van swearingen


Anne Marie Cunningham said...

Hello Sarah, I've just started trying to use Delicious with students. I will let you know how I get on. I'm not so sure about the survey. Could you tell me how many students you are working with? It might be better to try and get feedback f2f if it is a reasonable sized group rather than in a survey.
By the way, have you heard of Diigo? Just read this today!

Anne Marie Cunningham said...

PS Your screencast is brilliant. Which software did you use to record it? I am inspired!

Angela said...

Hi Sarah
As you know we love your blog. You put me to shame as your posts are so thorough and well thought out with clear links and some great honest reflections - how on earth do you find the time to do this so often?
Anyway - just to let you know that we have nominated you for 2 edublog awards. Good luck

Sarah Stewart said...

@Angela Thank you so much for the nomination - I love that we learn so much from each other even though we're in different professions albeit in health. That's what blogging represents to me.

As for time, I go back to work full time next year so it will be interesting to see how much time I have for blogging. Having said that, I see it as a valuable part of my professional development so plan to integrate blogging and networking as much as I can into my working day.

@Anne Marie Thank you very much for the kind comments. I have heard of diigo but haven't signed up to it. I suppose I'm comfortable with Delicious and am getting to saturation point with the tools that I use.

I've shot myself in the foot with regards to F2F feedback - the students have now gone off for the summer and then off to their clinical placements. I have asked them to do a very quick online survey to get baseline data - the idea about how to review the use of Delicious came after I did my workshop with them. It suddenly came to me that I really should get some sort of idea of how useful they'll find it so I know whether to keep on recommending it as a research tool.

The tool I used for the screencast is Camstudio which is a free program you can download from the net - it's the free version of Camtasia. I have written about my experiences of using the program in previous posts - if you put camstudio into my 'search', you'll find the posts. And of course you'll get lots of help from sites like YouTube. The other software you may need is some sort of editing tool to either edit the screencast or compress it - I use Windows Movie Maker, which again is a free download.

Anne Marie Cunningham said...

Well, I will leave it to next week to think about my first screencast but thanks for the tips. They are perfect.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks. Let me know how you get on.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah, This is the comment that I left on my blog.
Hi Viplav, Connectirmeli and Sarah,
Many thanks for your response. I think this is really an exciting initiative for us, as revealed by your interests.
If you agree, we will still like to see who else are interested in starting this “network or community” initiative. May be we still have to wait for a week or two to learn others’ views….
I would suggest that we have a go ahead in the coming weeks, with an existing or new wiki or ning to start with.
Some suggested topics could include 1. research in connectivism, 2. use of ICT (Web 2.0 tools) in K-12, vocational and community education and training, higher education, and corporate training; 3. open on-line education, and 4. interested topics in connectivism etc. 5….. etc. Please add your topics of interests
Would you mind me posting your comments left here in the forum? This is to stimulate more interests from others so we could have more diverse inputs, and thus be democratic in such applied connectivism initiative. Agree?
As suggested, this initiative is owned by every one interested, so your voice is important. And power to decision needs to be shared amongst “us”. I hope this is also a contribution to the community and networks.
Your further advice and comments on (a) choice of wiki/Ning, (b) topics, (c) how you would like to have it set up etc. are welcome.
I will leave this comment with your blog.
John Mak

Anonymous said...

There's a useful looking tool that I've just started using. It's called Zotero and it runs as part of Firefox. It helps keep track of books and bibliographic sources and can read bibliographic data from webpages and generate and organize notes on them. I haven't used it long enough to give it a full stamp of approval yet, but I think you might like to check it out anyway.
It's not social networking, but it is a webbased research tool.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Ken. I have heard of it, but haven;t used it at all. What I particularly need for the 3rd years though, is something that lives in the clouds - something that they can use whatever computer they are at - they are very mobile in their 3rd year traveling around all over the place.