Students as co-researchers: a collaborative, community-based approach to the research and practice of technology enhanced learning
 
 

Students as co-researchers: a collaborative, community-based approach to the research and practice of technology enhanced learning


Year: 2013
Authors: Timmis S & Williams J
Editor: Elizabeth Dunne & Derfel Owen
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing
Link: http://research-information.bristol.ac.uk/files/16940394/timmis_students_as_researchers_.pdf
Keywords:
This chapter explores community-based approaches to student engagement in
researching their own practices, in particular, when this involves the use of digital
media in their learning. Student engagement has been described as active involvement
in one’s own learning, emphasising individual agency (Trowler, 2010). We
argue for a relational view of agency (Edwards, 2005) involving dynamic realignment
of thoughts and actions between different actors in response to problems and
challenges. This has led to the development of a collaborative model of inquiry,
with students and staff working on authentic research and knowledge production
projects within disciplinary communities. This methodology involves students acting
as co-researchers in researching their own digital media practices. Digital
practices often cross formal and informal boundaries, making authentic accounts
difficult to obtain. Involving students as partners increases validity and shared
purposes. Students can engage in meaningful research and reflect back on their
own practice. Three co-inquiry projects are presented, reporting on aims, methodologies
and practical implications and challenges, including incentives, rewards,
assessment constraints and equality of involvement. The findings demonstrate the
need for continual re-negotiation of roles, rebalancing power relations and motivation
within co-inquiry models. Addressing these more explicitly would ensure a
more negotiated set of outcomes. We conclude that co-inquiry models are not
quick fixes to student engagement but part of a longer term relational shift which
takes time and mutual commitment to the process. Despite these challenges, this
model offers potential as a more inclusive approach to scholarship and more
authentic forms of student inquiry.
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University of Jyväskylä, Finland
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Instituto politécnico de Leiria
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