Monthly Archives: April 2010

Twitter Dead? Never!

I didn’t go to the Plymouth e-Learning Conference (PELC10) this year. As I only found out about PELC earlier this year, Twitter was a great way for me to get a feel for the conference without being there in the flesh. This provided a great way of getting a flavour of what was going on, who was there and the issues that were discussed around the various presentations.

Twitter was used extensively by many of the delegates via the #pelc10 hashtag and the conversation that ensued added a further dimension to the conference for those only able to participate in silico. All in all I was most impressed by the organisation of the conference and the topics covered. The microblogging back channel certainly extended the impact of this event.

For me this was further evidence of the power of Twitter; an excellent means of social networking and participating albeit remotely in conferences and other events.

Who says that Twitter is dead?

I tried this academic year to persuade my year one students to engage with Twitter. It wasn’t terribly successful, and many of them said they preferred Facebook. That said; maybe next year I’ll think more carefully about what we ask students do with Twitter; or perhaps Friendfeed. The web 2.0 /science nexus has a power for good that needs to be further explored.

In Danger of Evaluation Fatigue

Form A while ago on Twitter I expressed concern that we may be asking our students to do too much. I don’t mean in terms of their learning, reading, assignments or practicals you understand. Rather I’m a bit concerned that for those of us who are interested in developing our teaching we may be asking too much of our students in terms of the evaluation we ask from them.

We now have questionnaires to measure module evaluation; questionnaires to measure student assessment of staff teaching; the National Student Survey and for good measure a few questionnaires to gauge what students think of our latest teaching innovation. While all of these are most necessary it can all add up to, well, evaluation fatigue.

As to the mode of questionnaire to get the most favourable response; I still find the old paper-based system works best. By asking students to complete it just at the end of a lecture means that we don’t intrude on “their time”. They hand it back as they walk out the door and we have useful data in our hands.

That said, I will yet again try an electronic system for evaluation on some of the practices we used this semester; just to see if I can get a higher response rate than last year.

That is what I was working on for part of today and thus probably the inspiration for this blog post. So if anyone has any tips for increasing the response rate for electronic surveys; please let me know.

I wonder what our students really think about all the evaluation we do? Maybe that is a survey for another day!