Using Collaborative Technology for Service Learning in Blended Environments
Concurrent Session 8
This session will provide an example of how service learning has been achieved in a blended environment through the use of collaborative technology. The session will be used to facilitate discussion with fellow attendees and elicit ideas on how to move forward and expand the project in future semesters.
This presentation will detail how the researcher has been able to use a service learning project to teach students about research methods and technologies in a blended learning environment. The presenter teaches Quantitative Methods in Business to accounting, finance, marketing, management, and entrepreneurship students. These students must learn how to use quantitative research methods and technologies for decision making in business environments. The course uses case study scenarios for student practice, but this project has given them a real-world scenario to learn.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s (SWOSU) Dobson School of Business and Technology has developed a Strategic Plan to guide its faculty and leadership as they move toward a number of goals for the future. The Strategic Plan includes the following goal: “Strategic Goal 1: Advance student learning and impact to society.” This goal includes a number of initiatives including: “survey potential employers about possible collaborations and expectations of SWOSU graduates.” The researcher is seeking to achieve this initiative with the help of Quantitative Methods students as a service learning project. The required task is to develop and administer a survey. Students will carry out this task from start to finish using evidence-based research practices and technologies.
The project has been carried out in blended learning environments where student groups collaborate in the learning management system. Students in the course were put into teams based on a preference survey administered through the LMS. Once in teams, students used the LMS to collaborate and complete the following research tasks: develop the survey, validate the survey using a Delphi approach, create the survey in a software program, draft a list of participants, solicit feedback from stakeholders, draft an application to SWOSU’s Protection of Human Subjects Committee, and apply for university funding from the Office of Sponsored Programs. The service learning approach also includes asking students to complete a reflective journal assignment on their experience as well as a survey administered through SWOSU’s Service Learning office at the end of each semester. Whether working online or in person, students have experienced the benefits of such a service learning approach by using collaborative technologies. Students have also been required to use other various technologies throughout the project including Microsoft Excel and Survey Monkey. The students will use these technologies more extensively as they administer the survey and analyze the results.
This project has been an excellent opportunity for students to achieve real-world experience while providing a service to the university. Various technologies must be utilized to carry out the many phases of this project. Students have had the benefit of learning about these technologies as well as using them to support collaboration. This project serves as an example of how students can experience service learning in non-traditional learning environments. This presentation will detail the project so far as well as facilitate discussion with attendees to elicit ideas on how to move forward and expand the project in future semesters.