Applied Research

Applied research foundations

LINK is essentially applied research, in which the ideas and approaches in the project are:

  1. given a theoretical basis in current thinking in education, conceptualised via internet scholarship
  2. tested in practice within the Internet Studies program at Curtin
  3. evaluated for their effectiveness
  4. generalised for applicability in other contexts

Applied research summary by units

Therefore, there are several specific research sub-projects to be completed as part of LINK which are discussed below.

Simple summary is:

Unit What AR Code
NET101 web presence as a concept; simple OKP; further use of portfolio for assessing participation (only); the OKP is just the single 'web presence' site AR2, followup AR1
NET102 use of portfolio for assessing participation; participation is both discussion and tasks; example of simple 'use' of net forms - graded discussion group AR1
NET204 concentration of fragments of OKP on others' sites, not ours; portfolio critical here; one simple 'group doing' task that could be public; concept of knowledge networking bigger here (links to content) AR4, some aspects of AR1
NET205 first key OKP unit involving some kind of writing at one of our sites; less use of portfolio since there is specific writing AR3
NET206 web presence again, reinforced and essential; more advanced OKP - through their own sites and 3rd party (not ours); portfolio essential AR4, followup AR2, some aspects of AR1
NET300 web presence finally; portfolio very important here, more for internal tasks or processes (note - portfolio assesses process) AR2
NET303 OKP - but also knowledge networking - scholarly writing / dialogue on key issues AR3
NET307 major production unit so patently OKP - perhaps focus on use of online tools to promote effective production; possibly exegesis not portfolio no inclusion at this time
NET308 curriculum design - public development of ideas and resources to learn about subject AR5
  • OKP - Online Knowledge Production

AR1 - In-unit participation portfolio assessment

Detail and discussion of research AR1

Hypothesis

Participation in units of study involving online learning is best assessed by requiring students to present a portfolio of work selecting and analysing examples of their learning activities

Test

Students in NET103/NET12 (being redeveloped as Internet Communications 102) will be required to complete assessment in this manner; this will be done in total 5 times in 2009. Participation is designed to include both compulsory and optional activities, and both specific thinking tasks and general discussion.

Followup

Also will use approach in NET202/11 (being redeveloped as Internet Communications 101) from mid-year. Assess student responses after iterations of using the approach.

Evaluation

Students will be surveyed; staff will be interviewed.

Key Team member

Dr Elaine Tay, unit controller NET103/NET12; also curriculum developer of these units; link to Leaver, controller of NET202/11

Products

A set of instructions for students about how to produce a good portfolio that selects, collates, contextualises and reflectively analyses examples of their in-unit learning activities, including both unstructured discussion and exchange, and a small number of more structured tasks. The focus here is on discussion and tasks that occur online, whether for students oncampus or offcampus. instructions cover both physical production of the portfolio and the kinds of work to be presented, with particular emphasis on reflective analysis.

A set of assessment criteria to be used for assessing the portfolio as well as a set of guidelines for staff about how to assess the resulting portfolios, based on the learning outcomes for the unit.

Examples of the kinds of tasks and the guidance for students that can be used to generate material which is then assessed in this manner.

AR2 - web presence as concept and form of online knowledge production

Hypothesis

Production of online knowledge as part of assessment can be enhanced by explicitly using the notion of "web presence" to provide context; further, creating a core web presence is a form of online knowledge production suitable for assessment.

Test

Students in NET202/NET11 (being redeveloped as Internet Communications 101) will be required to create a basic individual web presence for themselves that will of itself involve online knowledge production.

Followup

Also will use approach in NET305/34 (being redeveloped as Internet Communications 206) from late 2009. Assess student responses after iterations of using the approach; develop more complex understanding of web presence.

Evaluation

Students will be surveyed; staff will be interviewed; results of work will be assessed. Comparison drawn between current and 'improved' version of unit.

Key Team member

Dr Tama Leaver, unit controller NET202/NET11 and NET305/34; link to Stew Woods, curriculum developer

Products

A set of instructions for students about how to produce a web presence, why it is important, and how it will play a role in the management of their ongoing knowledge production and knowledge networking activities.

Instructions that relate web presence to portfolio creation.

A set of assessment criteria to be used for assessing the web presence that students create, as well as a set of guidelines for staff about how to assess it.

Examples of the technologies that can be used for this purpose.

AR3 - online knowledge production A

Specific content on our sites - two different kinds

Hypothesis

Student learning is improved when students engage in the production of knowledge, in various modes, for publication on the Internet, engaging students in a network of knowledge outside of the specific learning community of a unit of study; and that this work requires the maintenance of approved sites associated with the course of study.

Test

Students in NET215/NET25 (being redeveloped as Internet Communications 205) will be required to produce 1-2 published pieces that contribute to knowledge. Students in NET213/NET23 (being redeveloped as Internet Communications 303) will be required to contribute to a publicly available e-conference within the unit. These will be inhouse net studies websites. Two different techniques being used).

Evaluation

Students will be surveyed; staff will be interviewed; results of work will be assessed. Comparison drawn between current and 'improved' version of unit.

Key Team member

Dr Elaine Tay, unit controller NET215/NET25; Dr Tama Leaver, unit controller NET213/NET23; Woods curriculum developer

Products

A set of instructions on how to produce knowledge, in what forms, for what 'publications'.

Instructions that relate the production of knowledge to its inclusion within portfolio, if necessary - it may be that this work is not assessed via portfolio if it stand alone.

A set of assessment criteria to be used for assessing these online knowledge products within a portfolio that students create, as well as a set of guidelines for staff about how to assess. Or, how to do this without pf.

Examples of the technologies that can be used for this purpose; examples of tasks that can be undertaken by students; critical evaluation of the uses of these technologies.

Analysis of relationship between tasks and content of units.

AR4 - online knowledge production B

Fragment / short content on several other sites - two different kinds

Hypothesis

Student learning is further improved when students engage in the production of knowledge which involves interaction with sites and services that are not part of the university nor produced by the students themselves; this work is doing and learning knowledge networking.

Test

Students in NET305/NET34 (being redeveloped as Internet Communications 206) will be required to write for sites external to Curtin in 2010; linkages to these sites and activities maintained through student's web presence. ; Students in NET214/24 (being redeveloped as Internet Communications 204 will be required to contribute in a more fragmented way to various networks of knowledge about online community.

Followup

Internet Communications 300 in 2010 will use this approach, too, perhaps emphasising the management of this kind of information.

Evaluation

Students will be surveyed; staff will be interviewed; results of work will be assessed. Comparison drawn between current and 'improved' version of unit.

Key Team member

Dr Tama Leaver, unit controller NET305/NET34; Woods curriculum developer

Products

A set of instructions on how to produce knowledge, in what forms, for what 'publications'; what 'venues' for collaborative networked discussions outside of the unit.

Instructions that relate the production of knowledge to its inclusion within portfolio; almost certainly, much of this work will be too fragmented for individual assessment.

A set of assessment criteria to be used for assessing these online knowledge products within a portfolio that students create, as well as a set of guidelines for staff about how to assess.

Examples of the technologies that can be used for this purpose; examples of tasks that can be undertaken by students; critical evaluation of the uses of these technologies.

Analysis of relationship between tasks and content of units.

AR5 - online knowledge production C

Another form of content on our site - curricular

Hypothesis

Online knowledge production can include the development of curricular materials that can be made publicly available, with an emphasis on students building, rather than re-creating from scratch, these materials.

Test

Students in the new Internet Communications 308 will be required to create learning materials about networked and virtual organisations; such materials will involve references, annotated bibliographies, tasks and learning outcomes etc.

Followup

Similar approach could be taken in another unit - eg change the type of content?

Evaluation

Students will be surveyed; staff will be interviewed; results of work will be assessed. Comparison drawn between current and 'improved' version of unit.

Key Team member

Matthew Allen, unit controller NET308; Tay curriculum developer

Products

A set of instructions on how to produce curricular / learning materials in this manner; issues relating to re-use.

Instructions that relate the production of of this kind of knowledge to its inclusion within portfolio or other 'overall' assessment.

A set of assessment criteria to be used for assessing these online knowledge products within a portfolio that students create, as well as a set of guidelines for staff about how to assess.

Examples of the technologies that can be used for this purpose; examples of tasks that can be undertaken by students; critical evaluation of the uses of these technologies.

Analysis of relationship between tasks and content of units.

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