About the methods
Guidelines for the methods that you will participate in
If you would like to participate in this project, please contact us. We will first ask you a few brief questions about yourself and your studies. If you are an eligible distance learner, we will invite you to take part in an online information session to ensure that you understand the methods and the commitment involved in the study activities.
If you return the consent form after this information session, you will be asked to participate in the Charting the Week's Activities and Day Experience Methods, including a follow-up focus group, which will include video or audio recordings and photos.
Please read the participant information sheet for details on the time commitment for the research.
Charting the week's activities
For the week selected you will be asked to keep a record of the amount of time you spend on working, learning, family and personal and social activities each day. Please use the diary included in your kit to assist with this. You will also be asked to keep a record of the place/s you use for learning and the resources you utilised (books, learning guides, short term loan resources, laptop computer, desktop computer, mobile phone etc.)
Day experience method
For the day experience method you will be asked to select one day that represents the day that you generally do the most study. If your study time is equally spread across the week, pick the day that is most representative of your usual learning activities.
For the day experience activity you will be asked a serious of questions at irregular intervals throughout your working day. You will receive a prompt on your mobile phone and the following questions will need to be answered:
• What time is it?
• Where are you?
• Who are you with? (Student friends, colleagues, family members, others or no one)
• What are you doing?
• What resources are you using (mobile phone, desktop computer, laptop, books, etc,)
• How do you feel about it?
Your mobile phone will be used to prompt you to make a record of your current activity. You can use voice or video recorder and a camera (or the print diary if you prefer) to record data relating to each of the questions. If this is not appropriate at the time, you should prioritise your work and make the entry as soon as possible thereafter. If a voice or video recording is not appropriate, use your diary. These records constitute the data, and need to be appropriately detailed.
In the following week, we will bring small groups of participants together online to share photos, discuss the data collected and explore areas of interest to the researchers. Discussion about the challenges and benefits of using ICTs for teaching and learning and other aspects of student life will be recorded using the web-conferencing software used for the discussion which also constitutes data for later analysis.