MA Research Project

Very-Raw-DataMA Research: Overview

These webpages form the assessed artefact of my MA in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education dissertation research, entitled “An exploration of key factors influencing (promoting or hindering) current & future use of technologies in Learning and Teaching, with relevance to metropolitan universities”. All work involved in the project is available here, and is the submitted work. To accompany this work, a ‘critical commentary’ is submitted in hard copy (PDF document, and printed out) to the assessors, for assessment and grading.

Concept

What influences the uses and further adoption of technology in learning and teaching? Many aspects are considered, from institutional spend and policy through to technical skills and efficacies of lecturers or support staff in the institution, as well as other key aspects such as the digital divide and the changing society we live in. Student expectations may also be of increasing importance.

A variety of university staff take part in the research – e-learning support, lecturers, researchers, administrators, librarians. It might be that many staff roles are ‘in the loop’ of potential influence, so work will endeavour to establish more clarity on how different staff perceive the role of technology in higher education. Feedback from students has been gathered to inform and contrast with those staff perceptions. Use of social media channels to carry out part of this research has also been a part of research methods, for staff and student respondent groups.

See Aims, Focus and Method for more details.

Areas of Interest

By proposing a set of themes gathered from a literature review as well as other ‘potential’ themes that may become apparent as the work progresses, an attempt to weigh up each theme’s significance as an influencer is made. That data is then contrasted and collated with data gathered from 3 distinct respondent groups, to confirm or challenge initial findings from the literature.
See Areas of Investigation for more details.

A Problems and Benefits Hierarchy, which includes two strata of ranking for the most popular themes found in the literature is developed, showing whether the theme is ‘a problem’ or ‘a benefit’, and how it ranks in terms of  five key factors: ‘real, ‘imagined’, ‘intermittent’, ‘persistent’ and ‘legacy’.

The initial proposed Problems and Benefits Hierarchy diagram is below, which expected clear problems or benefits, and whether they were real or imagined etc. The actual hierarchy turned out somewhat different, but may tell us more. With more time (and funds) a hierarchy such as the one below could be developed for a number of themes, with more data available as each theme was drilled down.

Theme Hierarchy 01

Fig 1: showing early Problems and Benefits concept hierarchy