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October 19, 2016

Case Study: Exploring the use of Note Sharing Using Digital Technology

Note Taking Image

Project Evaluation

The purpose of this research was to determine if Lancaster University is getting the most out of the electronic resources it has at its disposal. We decided to focus on three areas: the first was the usefulness of lecture capture i.e. the ability to view ether video or audio recording. Not all lectures utilise this technology so we wanted to know if this technology is worth expanding and utilising in more lectures. To assess the usefulness of lecture capture technology, we will take a class that is using this technology and give surveys to its students asking about the usefulness of lecture capture technology.

The second focus of this research will look at whether students pool their notes online to create better quality notes. To evaluate how helpful sharing lecture notes between students was, we decided to pay of a note taker to attend a set of lectures and provide a set of lecture notes for those lectures. These notes would then be posted online for students to use. Participants would then be surveyed to assess how useful the lecture notes were how they used them.

Finally, we looked at the usefulness of mind mapping software available at Lancaster University and whether people are using it to its full potential. We integrated training in the use of mind mapping software into a course which allowed students to become familiar with the mind mapping software in conjunction with their current field of study. After their training, students would be asked about how useful they found the mind mapping software and if they would use the software in future. To research this, we will utilise survey software available online called Qualtrics which would allow us to design questionnaires and distribute them online.

Summary of Study Results

Lecture Capture Student’s rated their lecture notes as of a high quality, easy to use, useful and, in fact, more useful than their own lecture notes.

Lecture recording tended not to be used for writing essays but are widely used for exam preparation and in these instances are found to be very helpful.

Students said that providing recordings of lectures would not make them less likely to attend said lectures.

Our findings suggest lecture recordings results in a more enjoyable lecture experience for students.

From our findings we concluded that providing lecture recordings has a vastly positive effect for the students. We recommend utilising this technology as often as possible. Getting lecturers to agree to use this technology in lectures would be a good first step forward.

Pooled Lecture Notes It is difficult to draw any far reaching conclusions for this data set due to the lack engagement by students.

The lecture notes provided to students may have some positive benefit but this study is incapable of discerning this.

Lessons could be learnt for further research in this area namely the importance of having detailed lecture notes relevant to the subject area.

If this study was to be repeated, the person who is taking the notes for the class should be well versed in the subject.

Mind Mapping Students find both the mind mapping software and the training provided very useful.

Nobody knew that this training was available and few are aware that this software is available to use on their own computers.

Students would benefit from being made aware of this software availability as well as the training available to get the most use of this software.

Full details of each study can be found in the Detailed Study – Results document.

Lessons Learned

On reflection, there is little I would do differently if I was to conduct this study again for the lecture capture and mind map studies. The pooled lecture notes study had the most issues relating to the perceived quality of the lecture notes we provided. If I was to conduct this study again, I would insure that the person taking the lecture notes had knowledge of the subject they took notes on. Another thing that became an issue was a reluctance for tutors to get involved in the research especially when it came to recording their lectures. This research would benefit from having whole departments invested in conducting this research as they are the ones to benefit.

Summary

This study focused on finding which study methods students would benefit from using. It focused on lecture recording, lecture notes and mind mapping software. This was done with a view to provide some evidence to justify further investment in these study aids as well as to see if Lancaster University is using these study aids to their full potential. Overall, we found that all of these study aids have a positive impact on how students study. Lecture recordings were found to have a very positive impact on the way students study, namely for exam preparation. Our findings also indicate that providing lecture recordings had no impact on whether students attended the original lecture. Providing lecture notes for students had a slight benefit and half the students used the notes we provided while studying for exams. Students, when introduced to mind mapping software, found it very useful and would be likely to use it again in future. We also found that most students were unaware of this software and the training available through Lancaster University. Lancaster University is paying for this software but is not getting the most out of it and should invest in making students aware of this software.