Introducing PELICANS

Participatory learning cultures: a pilot study into digital literacy amongst HE students

PELICANS (Participatory E-Learning: Interactivity, Community And Networking Spaces) is a recent addition to the Media Zoo at Leicester.

pelicans ebsite

PELICANS website

PELICANS is a pilot research project that investigates the level of use and participation by university students in web 2.0 platforms as part of their formal and informal learning in Higher Education (HE). The research project is funded by the College of Social Science Research Development Fund.

Through interviews, questionnaires and simulated recall and observations, the project aims is to identify HE students’ patterns of web use, and their level of web literacy, awareness and skills in using online information resources.

PELICANS will propose recommendations on ways of addressing skills gaps in terms of web literacy, and develop guidelines for supporting the further development of students’ competencies with on-line literacy.

Palitha Edirisingha

17 January 2011

Welcoming 2011

This new year sees a number of changes in Beyond Distance, the most significant being the departure of Gilly to take up her new post as Professor of Learning Futures and Executive Director of the Australian Digital Futures Institute at University of Southern Queensland.

(As an aside, Gilly is now living in flood-hit Towoomba, but has reported in safely, as has her new team.)

While we are sorry to see Gilly go, one silver lining to this particular cloud is the collaboration now underway between our two  institutions on the Learning Futures Festival Online 2011, Follow the Sun. With its non-stop, 48-hour, global format, I’m certain this conference will further cement the institutions’ reputations as technology innovators.

Beyond Distance also continues its main work of researching new technologies and pedagogies. Just yesterday, a research pilot project called PELICANS was placed in the Breeding Area of the Media Zoo, and existing projects CALF, SPIDERSWIFTOSTRICH and TIGER progress well.

The Media Zoo continues to disseminate colleagues’ research and, importantly for University of Leicester colleagues, offer hands-on technical advice. The Friday Workshop, a new series of learning technology workshops held every Friday morning 10-12, has just been launched.

Our own Media Zoo will also be collaborating more with the Graduate School Media Zoo (based in the library on the main campus). With its focus on postgraduate students, the GSMZ offers us a chance to bring academics and PhD students together in a single environment  to learn as much from each other as from the Zookeepers.

I’m always amazed by the achievements and knowledge of my colleagues, so I remain certain that 2011 will see everyone build upon Gilly’s hard work to keep Beyond Distance at the forefront of e-learning research in higher education.

Simon Kear

Keeper of the Media Zoo

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