Critical reflection and discussion facilitated by a virtual learning environment across two universities

Carolyn Mair, Jaqui Taylor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

One of the key aims of Higher Education is to develop students' ability to become 'critical reflective thinkers'. This is typically private and ignores the benefits of collaboration. Our project extends innovative reflective techniques to students collaborating at two universities. At Southampton Solent University (SSU), reflective practice is focused on learning, structured in an adaptable spreadsheet via the virtual learning environment (VLE). At Bournemouth University (BU), the VLE Discussion Board facilitates asynchronous online discussion; during which students are encouraged to reflect. This paper describes a project designed to enable users to learn from others' as well as their own reflections. Participants completed a 52-item Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI) and a semi-structured questionnaire on their reflective practice, before being randomly assigned to groups comprising students from a single university or both universities. Via the VLE, participants watched a 20-minute video and then engaged in critical discussion of the content, prompted by four discussion points over a 2-week period. Simultaneously, they recorded reflections on an individual online reflection sheet at least once every other day. At the end of this period, participants were asked to share and discuss their online reflections for a further week. Finally, the MAI and the reflection questionnaire were re-administered. The data are currently being analysed using both quantitative methods (frequency and quantity of posts, changes in scores) and qualitative methods (depth of critical discussion). The results will have both practical and research-focussed outputs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Technology, Education and Development Conference, 7-9th March 2011, Valencia, Spain
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

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