Tag Archives: student induction

Twitter and Student Networks

Twitter’s 5 today, so it was nice to hear that, a year after we last had contact with the journal JOLT (the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching), they have just published a paper I wrote with Alan Cann, Jo Badge and Stuart Johnson on our use of Twitter with students in 2008/9.

It would be difficult to repeat the same approach now – Twitter being ubiquitous, with many student users; whereas when we ran the project it was still in its infancy – but there are some interesting results, particularly in the ways the undergraduate and postgraduate student groups used the service differently. There is more work to be done around how microblogging can affect the relationship between tutors and students,  and assist in the formation of small communities of practice – tantalising glimpses of which are included here.

Games in the Midlands

In late May, I joined in a research/workshop event organised by the ARGOSI (Alternate Reality Games for Orientation and Student Induction, based at Manchester Metropolitan University) project team, at Aston University in Birmingham.

As well as wrapping up the project, and working out how it would continue and spread (Brighton may be taking it on next year), we pooled our various experiences together to think about ways in which immersive/alternative reality games could help solve two perennial problems in higher education: induction (ie. becoming a student), and research skills (becoming an effective student). We also looked at new media or digital literacies too, being another hot topic which fits nicely into the ARG-online sphere.

Several coffees, chocolate muffins, Werthers Originals and live-linkups later, we came up with an interesting little project which I can’t reveal too much about, but suffice to say it combines principles from Facebook-style games, online searching and online treasure-hunt style games (like http://thenethernet.com/) to teach prospective students about university life, research skills and digital literacies. More information to follow, I hope.

Nightlife consisted of reimagining various ‘classic’ tabletop games (principally due to lack of instructions) like Kerplunk and a card-based football game, before settling on a grand Scrabble match. The Manchester crew were surprisingly lurid in their choice of words, I have to note…

In addition to the above, we wrote and tried out several sample puzzles for the project – here’s one for you to try from Scott Wilson:

  1. Where Am I From?
  2. Where Am I From?
  3.  Where Am I From?
  4. What links the three locations above?

We also scoped out a new collection of essays, on the use of alternative reality / immersive games in education, covering some very exciting areas: again, more of this to follow.

All in all, an excellent event: many thanks to the ARGOSI team for organising and funding it. These short research gatherings are a great hotbed for ideas – unfettered by talks or strict agendas, but focussed on a particular theme. I look forward to more of the same in the future.