Weaving together media, technologies and people. Students’ information practices in flipped classrooms

Pages519-540
Publication Date08 July 2019
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-01-2019-0011
Date08 July 2019
AuthorSamuel Dodson,Ido Roll,Negar M. Harandi,Sidney Fels,Dongwook Yoon
SubjectLibrary & information science
Weaving together media,
technologies and people
Studentsinformation practices in
flipped classrooms
Samuel Dodson
iSchool (Library, Archival and Information Studies),
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Ido Roll
Faculty of Education in Science and Technology,
TechnionIsrael Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
Negar M. Harandi and Sidney Fels
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and
Dongwook Yoon
Department of Computer Science, University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, Canada
Abstract
Purpose Students in ipped classrooms are challenged to orchestrate an increasingly
heterogeneous collection of learning objects, including audiovisual materials as well as traditional
learning objects, such as textbooks and syllabi. This study aims to examine studentsinformation
practices interacting with and synthesizing across learning objects, technologies and people in ipped
classrooms.
Design/methodology/approach This grounded theory study explores the information practices of
12 undergraduate engineering students as they learned in two ipped classrooms. An ar tifact
walkthrough was used to elicit descriptions of how students conceptualize and work around
interoperability problems between the diverse and distributed learning objects by weaving them together
into informationtapestries.
Findings Students maintaine d a notebook as an informati on tapestry, weaving frag mented
information snippets from the available learning objects,including, but not limited to, instructional videos
and textbooks. Students also connected with peers on Facebook, a back-channel that allowed them to
sidestep the academic honesty policy of the course discussion forum, when collaborating on homework
assignments.
Originality/value The importance of the interoperability of tools with elements of students
information space and the signicance of designing for existing information practices are two
outcomes of the grounded theory approach. Design implications for educational technology including
the weaving of mixed media and the establishment of spaces for student-to-student interaction are also
discussed.
Keywords Activity theory, Personal information management, Video-based learning,
Flipped classroom, Information practice, Annotation and note-taking
Paper type Research paper
Weaving
together media,
technologies
and people
519
Received31 January 2019
Revised5 June 2019
26June 2019
Accepted2 July 2019
Informationand Learning
Sciences
Vol.120 No. 7/8, 2019
pp. 519-540
© Emerald Publishing Limited
2398-5348
DOI 10.1108/ILS-01-2019-0011
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/2398-5348.htm
Introduction
An increasing number of university courses choose to engage students with instructional
videos and expository course materials outside (and often before) class, so instructors can
apply interactive teaching strategies in the classroom, commonly termed ipped
classrooms(Bishop and Verleger, 2013). As a signicant amount of learning takes place
outside the classroom, ippedclassrooms make heavy use of diverse online learning objects,
in addition to traditional ones. These include, but are not limited to, textbooks, discussion
forums, learning management systems, online homework systems, discipline-specictools
(such as simulations or source coderepositories) and social media back-channels introduced
by students (Gikas and Grant, 2013;Li and Greenhow, 2015;Lin et al.,2013). Common to
most ipped classrooms is the reliance on video as a medium that replaces traditional
lecturing (Tucker, 2012). The heterogeneity of learning objects results in a complex
information space.
This paper is concerned with studentsinformation practices for interacting with and
synthesizing across learning objects, technologies and people in ipped classrooms.
Orchestrating these learning objects and tools is especially challenging giventhat semantic
information often spans learning objects, technologies and people. For example, a topiccan
be covered by the textbook, lecture and homework. By using the term orchestrating, we are
describing a studentsability to make sense of diverse types of information and resolve their
information needs by using or creating various types of information. In many ways, the
ability to orchestrate is closelytied to a high prociency in digital and information literacies.
Synthesizing information spread across learning objects is a challenging task for students
(Barzilai et al.,2018) and an important information literacy to develop (OECD, 2018).
In this paper, we focus on how students annotate and take notes while watching
instructional video,and the ways in which they collaborate in social network back-channels.
We build on earlier work on note-taking and paper notebooks to better understand how
people make connections between information within mixed media collections of learning
objects. The culmination of these lines of inquiry led us to explore the following research
question:
RQ1. How do students interact with the diverse and distributed human, material and
socio-technicalelements of their information spaces?
When we zoom out from a perspective that focuses on a specic medium or tool, we can
elicit new insights into studentsinformation practices and spaces, grounded in students
experiences in ipped classrooms. Suchinsights provide meaningful input for the design of
processes and technologiesthat support students in their learning.
Background
Information orchestration in ipped classrooms
Taking a socio-constructivist view, learning is a process of meaning-making that is
mediated by learning objects and peers (Duffyand Cunningham, 1996). As such, learning is
the product of the interactions between learners and their environments. Notably, one
important aspect of learning is the ability to synthesize information (Bloom et al.,1956).
However, synthesisof information is very challenging(Goldman et al.,2012). Synthesizing is
especially challenging in learning situations: learners are required to not only apply
productive information literacy skills but also apply these skills to materials that are new
and challenging for them.
Asignicant focus has beengiven to the synthesis of textual information. Many of these
studies lookat note-taking practices (Schraefel et al.,2004;Shankar, 2007;Tabardet al.,2008;
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