Absalon som Medie i Undervisningen på TPU - Hvordan

Student thesis: Master programme thesis

  • Jørn Døi
4. term, Master of ICT and Learning (MIL) (Continuing education) (Continuing Education Programme (Master))
This Master Thesis has its origin in a problem which occurred as a result of my first year assignment, in which a remediation of a clinical-theoretical course at the Dental Hygienist Education at the University of Copenhagen is introduced. It intends to apply the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) of the education (called Absalon) as a medium of education, in a constructivist framework.
Despite that there seemingly would be learning benefits in using this teaching form, it is not a form which is practiced, and the Absalon is used primarily as an electronic bulletin board.

The aim of this paper is to identify the barriers that the Clinical Teachers at the Dental Hygienist Education in Copenhagen are experiencing in relation to having to remediate parts of their teaching. The aim is thereby to organize it as Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) in the educations VLE, and subsequently establish options for how these teachers can be supported in overcoming these barriers.
The focus was initially on the teachers IT technical and pedagogical skills and, through education and exercise, to upgrade a group of teachers so that they subsequently could remediate courses or parts thereof.

Empirical data was collected, partly by own observations and partly by a focus group interview with a group of teachers who are positive about trying to use Absalon in collaborative learning contexts. This group of teachers had been selected on the basis of motivation, formal teaching skills and experience in the use of Absalon.

Through analysis of collected data, it became clear that one of the factors that exist in relation to the use of ICT in the education is that the group of teachers largely lacks skills in collaborative learning theories and methods, as well as knowledge of the cooperation and communication features that are available in Absalon. The teachers are thereby not only lacking purely technical skills, but also experience and background in the use of ICT in learning contexts.

As a solution to these difficulties a workshop was designed, containing theory and practice based on examples and exercises.
The course is designed to provide the participating teachers the necessary background to enable them to commence remediating courses, and thereby use Absalon as media for learning purposes. The group can thus act as pioneers, and through their work generate ideas and gain valuable knowledge and experience. Furthermore they will be able to act as co-facilitors when the rest of the teachers start using Absalon as media for teaching and education.

Through analysis of the empirical data, it became clear that there are a number of structural and more fundamental barriers to the use of ICT, which also affects teachers' possibilities for remediating courses.

The teaching which is carried out is largely based on a knowledge transfer, and the approach to knowledge, learning and teaching is widely obtained from the traditional scientific traditions. The structure and planning of education, gives a very limited flexibility for the teachers, so even though teachers have freedom of method, it will typically be difficult for teachers to use it.
Teachers' time is bound due to mandatory face-to-face teaching, and thereby this "culture" could hamper teachers' ability to involve Computer supported collaborative learning theories in the teaching of students.
This issue is important because it, if not attended, is likely to be a countervailing factor, and ultimately will lead to poor implementation of CSCL and will end up as a dead project.

The concluding remarks points out that competencies in CSCL with teachers is necessary, but not sufficient, prerequisites for remediating courses. These competencies will be achieved through the outlined workshop courses, but they will not do it alone! The education will eventually have to develop a supportive learning and teaching culture. In other words the Dental Hygienist Education as a whole will have to look into how it in the future chooses to look at knowledge, learning, teaching and evaluation in order for the efforts to implement CSCL successfully in the education.
Publication date1 Jun 2010
Number of pages71
Publishing institutionMaster i IKT og Læring, Aalborg Universitet
ID: 32240295