Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Facebook Addiction

Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale

Andreassen, C.S., Torsheim, T., Brunborg, G.S., & Pallesen, S. (2012) Development of a Facebook addiction scale 1, 2. Psychological Reports, 110(2), 501-517
The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS), initially a pool of 18 items, three reflecting each of the six core elements of addiction (salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, and relapse), was constructed and administered to 423 students together with several other standardized self-report scales (Addictive Tendencies Scale, Online Sociability Scale, Facebook Attitude Scale, NEO–FFI, BIS/BAS scales, and Sleep questions). That item within each of the six addiction elements with the highest corrected item-total correlation was retained in the final scale. The factor structure of the scale was good (RMSEA = .046, CFI = .99) and coefficient alpha was .83. The 3-week test-retest reliability coefficient was .82. The scores converged with scores for other scales of Facebook activity. Also, they were positively related to Neuroticism and Extraversion, and negatively related to Conscientiousness. High scores on the new scale were associated with delayed bedtimes and rising times.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The 3 P's of Good Feedback

Butterfly Yet another paper about feedback in higher education - because it's still one of the major problems.

This fairly low-power study uses a budgeting methodology to ask what students value, in other words gives them a notional budget and ask them how they would spend it.
For "Lecturer qualities", Good feedback comes top, Interactive lecturing style bottom. So all those years of being told to be interactive in lectures don't mean much - students want your boring PowerPoints (and to know what's in the exam).
For "Feedback information" Highlights the skills I need to improve for future assignments is top and Corrects grammatical errors is bottom.

For me however the most striking message from this paper is an almost throwaway comment in the Introduction on what students want from feedback:
  • Prompt - fair enough, although I suspect that for students prompt means 21 seconds or 21 minutes after submission, not 21 days.
  • Personal - group feedback for that class of over 300 is a stopgap which really isn't going to satisfy demand.
  • Positive - it doesn't matter if they can't write (in spite of what employers say), you can only engage them if you give them good news quickly.

Winstone, N.E., Nash, R.A., Rowntree, J., & Menezes, R. (2015) What do students want most from written feedback information? Distinguishing necessities from luxuries using a budgeting methodology. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 20 Aug 2015 doi: 10.1080/02602938.2015.1075956
Feedback is a key concern for higher education practitioners, yet there is little evidence concerning the aspects of assessment feedback information that higher education students prioritise when their lecturers' time and resources are stretched. One recent study found that, in such circumstances, students actually perceive feedback information itself as a luxury rather than a necessity. We first re-examined that finding by asking undergraduates to "purchase" characteristics to create the ideal lecturer, using budgets of differing sizes to distinguish necessities from luxuries. Contrary to the earlier research, students in fact considered good feedback information the single biggest necessity for lecturers to demonstrate. In a second study, we used the same method to examine the characteristics of feedback information that students value most. Here, the most important perceived necessity was guidance on improvement of skills. In both studies, students? priorities were influenced by their individual approaches to learning. These findings permit a more pragmatic approach to building student satisfaction in spite of growing expectations and demands.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Assessment and feedback - what do students want?

Ray os sunshine We have moved to online marking (mostly via Turnitin) substantively over the last 18 months. In reality, it's probably the only way we could cope with numbers of students we have. But what do students think of this change? We don't know (because we haven't asked them, although they have not complained). Has this change helped with the NSS feedback question? (No.) This new paper addresses some of these questions and comes up with some interesting findings.

Individual students like or dislike online marking - individual preferences are negatively correlated. That means that as a population, students are broadly neutral, which has been our experience.

On the question of feedback, the findings are more interesting. Students who like online marking tend to view it as a gateway to staff contact - the start of a conversation. This is problematic because online assessment is primarily seen by staff as a file and forget exercise. So even with the students who are pro-online marking, we are not meeting their expectations. But most importantly of all - STUDENTS HATE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK ... which explains the NSS results.
"We suggest that markers should consider developing a small bank of brief but positive comments (for example “nicely written” “good argument” ) that can be readily added to the assignment in the place of the ticks that might have been given on a traditionally submitted assignment. Appropriate positive comments specific to particular sections of the assignment could then easily be added to a pdf (through annotation), word document (in a comment box), or included in the suite of QuickMarks used in submission services such as Turnitin. These recommendations notwithstanding, we also advocate that university budget centres acknowledge that although online marking has many benefits, relative to offline marking, more time will be needed by markers if students are to receive appropriate positive feedback on their work, and for the benefits of online assignments to be fully realised."

Assignments 2.0: The Role of Social Presence and Computer Attitudes in Student Preferences for Online versus Offline Marking. The Internet and Higher Education, 8 August 2015. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2015.08.002
This study provided the first empirical and direct comparison of preferences for online versus offline assignment marking in higher education. University students (N= 140) reported their attitudes towards assignment marking and feedback both online and offline, perceptions of social presence in each modality, and attitudes towards computers. The students also ranked their preferences for receiving feedback in terms of three binary characteristics: modality (online or offline), valence (positive or negative), and scope of feedback (general or specific). Although attitudes towards online and offline marking did not significantly differ, positive attitudes toward one modality were strongly correlated with negative attitudes toward the other modality. Greater perceptions of social presence within a modality were associated with more positive attitudes towards that modality. Binary characteristics were roughly equally weighted. Findings suggest that the online feedback modality will most effectively maximise student engagement if online assignment marking and feedback tools facilitate perceptions of social presence.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Hello World

Hello World
As of today I am no longer a member of the Department of Biology (which doesn't exist any more), I am now a member of the Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour.

What does that mean? Well I am still a member of the School of Biological Sciences and of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology, so in the short term, it doesn't mean as much as you might think. In the medium term, we are under new management, and in the long term ... well, what does anyone know of the long term?

But as of today, Hello World.