Author note: I am very pleased to be collaborating with these three colleagues in this project that is funded in part from a grant by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).
Brown, G., Newcastle University; Mossop, L., University of Nottingham; Short, N., Royal Veterinary College, University of London; and Robbé, I.J., Memorial University, Newfoundland
The PublishOER project aimed to increase access to published works by embedding them in openly licensed educational resources (OER). A series of four focus groups were held at two different schools (RVC and Nottingham) to explore the research question “What are veterinary students’ attitudes to learning resources and mobile‐learning?”.
An independent researcher conducted focus groups involving 36 students from different year cohorts. Transcripts were thematically analysed using frameworks drawn from the literature to develop a priori codes while remaining open to new themes.
Results found attitudes of high acceptance towards textbooks and teacher provided resources with more sceptical attitudes towards web 2.0 content. Students described “mashing up” more traditional resources with web 2.0 content, followed by extensive sharing of resultant materials, giving scant attention to copyright issues and showing reluctance to pay for online resources. Collaborative learning occurred through social media, especially Facebook, where teacher input was rare.
The groups described some socio‐cultural implications of mobile learning in clinical workplaces that could be positive and/or negative. A new learning approach is emerging of a constructivist, collaborative paradigm using a range of resources. This approach does not suit all students, and even early adopters resorted to more traditional “pen and paper” solitary activities at the learning stage as opposed to the accessing and processing stages. Teachers must consider pros and cons of learning via social media alongside VLE resources and textbooks. Publishers should respond to this emerging paradigm and consider more flexibility in regard to copyright and OER.