Assembling the heterogeneous elements for digital learning

More evidence of the limits of student technical knowledge

The following is just a “diary entry” recording a bit more evidence for the story that our students are neither digital natives nor digitally literate. It may or may not become useful in future research/writing. It’s not meant to be insightful, just a record of an experience.

The context is marking of assignment 1 for EDC3100. 300 odd students have created online artefacts via their choice of online tool. Youtube videos, Wix/Weebly/Wordpress websites, Sliderocket and Prezi are the most common I’ve seen so far. There have been some really good ones and some not so good ones. But there’s also been some evidence to suggest limits on the student’s technical knowledge.

Most of the problems appear to revolve around the idea of providing a URL to a post on the student’s blog that includes a URL to the online artefact. The double link caused some problems, but also has the idea of providing a URL. Some examples from tonight

  1. Rather than provide a URL for the post, students are providing the URL for their blog.
  2. A small number of students is providing a URL to their blog, which doesn’t have any posts with links to their online artefact.
  3. Prezi URLs.

    Been a small trend with Prezi URLs not working. It appears that the students are providing a “long URL” generated from something they see. I’m assuming copying from the browser. This URL doesn’t work for anyone but them. If we cut away some extraneous material, we get to a URL that works.

  4. Spectacularly wrong URLs.

    For example, we’ve seen URLs like this

    for blogs that are actually located at

As mentioned previously

  • These are 3rd year students the majority of whom have some significant online learning experience beyond their own typical use of social media.
  • This perhaps says more about the technology and its design and use than the students themselves.
  • It raises questions about some of the assumptions underpinning common institutional e-learning practice within universities.
  • It raises questions about whether encouraging exploration, creativity and student choice can be viable in a course with 300+ students and limited time and support resources.

    i.e. the time I’ve spent diagnosing and fixing these mistakes has taken time away from engaging with student queries about the course content and assessment.

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