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ERIC Number: EJ1079840
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1179-7665
Emotion: The "E" in Engagement in Online Distance Education in Social Work
Goldingay, Sophie; Land, Clare
Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, v18 n1 p58-72 2014
Many social-work students enrolled in a particular Australian university approach the pre-practicum practice skills unit with dread, due to the required role-play exercises. Online distance students could be seen to be challenged even further in their preparation for practicum, due to a perception that they are learning practice skills on their own. A survey of online distance education social-work students who had completed the practice skills course in 2012 showed that a number struggled to remain engaged, and felt isolated. A constructivist pedagogy, involving peer- and self-assessment of practice role plays, was therefore trialled in both 2012 and 2013, alongside the weekly videos produced by the lecturer. The aim was to improve online distance students' opportunity and motivation to practice the required skills before their practicum. Learning management system (LMS) usage data for students in the 2013 cohort showed an increase in the number of times students accessed online readings and used interactive technology. Interestingly, while both cohorts expressed a positive experience in relation to their learning in the end-of-trimester student evaluation survey, and despite both groups being asked the same questions, only the 2013 cohort spontaneously articulated the content of what they actually learnt. These findings suggest that the ongoing peer interaction generated by the new pedagogy resulted in a deeper, enduring learning experience. In addition, data showed that online distance students in the 2013 cohort experienced a feeling of being emotionally connected with the unit and the teaching staff. It is posited that a combination of established video-based content delivery and ongoing formative peer- and self-assessment reduced isolation and alienation and, as a result, had a multi-pronged positive effect on the learning process.
DEANZ: New Zealand Association for Open, Flexible and Distance Learning. Open Polytechnic, 3 Cleary Street Private Bag 31914, Lower Hutt 5040, New Zealand. Tel: +64-3-345-8246; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A