Connected Learning Research

picture047-002I’m Laura Gogia, a research fellow in the Division of Learning Innovation and Student Success at Virginia Commonwealth University.  We, in conjunction with the Division of Community Engagement, are studying the impact of connected learning* classes such as Collaborative Curiosity: Designing Community Engaged Research (CMST 691).  My research relates to how instructors might facilitate student agency, engagement, digital fluency,  and integrative thinking through course designs and learning activities that involve public and networked forms of digital composition and social interaction.  Your instructors and I have been working to develop these sorts of learning activities. We are requesting your input to tell us what is working and what isn’t so that we can tweak things for the next iteration of the course.

What are we asking you to do?

  • Complete a five minute anonymous survey at the beginning of the course so that we can get an idea about how you use social media for personal and professional use as well as your perceptions of your digital fluency.
  • Complete a similarly short anonymous survey at the end of the course meant to help us understand how some of the strategies used in the course may have impacted certain aspects of your learning.
  • Participation in these surveys is entirely voluntary and will not impact your performance in the course in any way.  Survey results are anonymous to the research. In other words, pre- and post-survey results are matched in Survey Monkey via IP and email addresses and not seen by the researcher. Furthermore, the survey results are collected and analyzed by me and I have no influence over grades or any other outcomes of the course.  You can make your decision to withdrawal at any time prior to submitting your survey results. However, once results are submitted they cannot be withdrawn since we will not be able to tell which results are yours.

What other things are being investigated? 

  • In addition to the survey, I will be collecting blog posts and analyzing how students use certain digital composition components throughout the course assignments.  Although this information is technically public, I will not analyze any of your blog posts if you don’t want me to.   You can ask me not to use it (this is called “opting out”) and I won’t use it.  All you have to do is contact me.  No hassle.
  • I de-identify your blog posts when I analyze them, although since the data is public I could technically go back and figure out who wrote what (but there is no reason for me to do that).  Regardless, I don’t use your name anywhere, even though all the data is technically “public.”  If you wrote something that was particularly fabulous and I want to quote you in my research, I’d still have to contact you first and ask your permission.
  • None of this research is related to your course performance or your grade.  It is voluntary and not required as a part of the course.  You may choose to “opt out” at any time and your information will be removed from the collection.

If you have any questions about Connected Learning research, please contact me. Thank you so much in advance for your willingness to help us learn more about what works and what doesn’t in education.

*Connected Learning means more than using the Internet for class assignments; it is a way of thinking about education.  Connected students learn by making connections across classes, subjects, places, people, and time.  They learn to recognize patterns in the presence of lots of information.  They remix, repurpose, and transform information into new things, and they do it with others (students and non-students) through collaboration or crowdsourcing.  Some of the learning activities that educators use to promote Connected Learning – like blogging and tweeting – are still  experimental.  In other words, people like me are still learning how to use them to create the best, most interesting, most effective learning experiences.  If you would like to see some research recently done on courses like Collaborative Curiosity, you can find that here.


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