Authors: Daniel Domínguez Figaredo, Ines Gil-Jaurena, Javier Moretin Encina
Topic: Applications of Open Education Practices/Open Pedagogy/Open Education Research
Sector: Higher Education
UNESCO Area of Focus: Facilitating int cooperation
Session Format: Presentation
AbstractIn online higher education, the presence of students in messaging and social networking apps during the course cycle is a growing practice. These digital spaces open to the participation of any student serve mainly to relax and meet peers, but their use as learning environments is also outstanding. In this proposal we present the preliminary results of a research at the UNED (the largest distance university in Spain), which analysed students’ interaction and practices in digital open spaces, and how these practices influence the teaching-learning process within the institutional learning platforms used in the courses. Previous research has shown that students at distance and online universities are increasingly using social networks and digital applications to manage most of the processes related to their presence at the university. In order to analyse the use of these spaces by students and their relationship with the UNED distance learning methodology, we carried out a research project aimed to take advantage of the student dynamics outside the institutional digital campus to improve the quality of distance teaching in undergraduate and master's degree courses. We present the results of a questionnaire to undergraduate and master students, describing what kind of learning practices they carry out outside the official digital classroom and the digital platforms they use in each case. There are two types of practices: — Socialization, related to the constitution of digital communities of practice; — and exchange/development of learning resources, basically textbooks and study guides. It also shows some statistical data that may be of interest to understand student behaviour on open digital platforms and to guide some future pedagogical actions. In relation to the socialization dimension, there are certain platforms that are more conducive to forming communities of practice and facilitating social exchange with peers. And with regard to access and development of learning resources, the platforms used change, and the cases of platforms to consult/share and platforms to develop content are differentiated. The conclusions of the preliminary results are useful to guide future research. And also to put the focus on students' preferences in the development of practices that are key to the process of learning in digitally mediated open spaces, such as socialising with peers and teachers, and accessing and creating learning resources.
Open digital spaces, Digital learning environments, Mobile instant messaging, Online learning design