For my summer project, I am building on a project I proposed for EL6041 (Instructional Design) last semester. My preliminary needs assessment demonstrated a need for an e-learning resource in UL, covering topics related to academic reading and writing, including referencing and presentations. Currently, there are resources available to students via the Regional Writing Centre, the library website and I’m told there is a new Academic Writing module for incoming Arts students in September ’17.
However, I felt there was a gaping hole in digital resources, specifically interactive content, and that the so-called ‘digital natives’ of UL would benefit from an online platform tailored specifically for UL students. I brought this topic forward for my summer project because I am really interested in learning where the exact need lies, and also the English Major in me refuses to die.
Audience Needs Assessment
I decided an online survey was the easiest way to reach my target audience. I tested out Google Forms, however my test participants had trouble using it and appeared confused by the form’s feedback. So for best results, I decided to pay the €35 for the premium options on Survey Monkey. It’s been well worth it, the interface is so user friendly and all the data analysis is done in seconds. The app is also fantastic, meaning I could keep an eye on my results while I was away at the weekend. I started circulating the survey via student mail a week ago, and I have 67 responses (64 complete so far), which I’m very happy with. I think that’s more than enough, so won’t go bothering everyone again. As nice as the even 70 would be…
I haven’t looked deeply at my results yet, but so the data is very encouraging so far, with students showing a lot of interest in the resource.
Subject Matter Experts
As well as carrying out a needs assessment, I decided to speak to some SMEs to get a better overview of the needs from their side. Next week, I will interview one person from the library, and another from the Regional Writing Centre. I’m hoping to speak to them about the issues students bring to them, and what they find works/doesn’t work, especially for first year students during their transition to higher education.
The point of all of this research is to write a strong proposal for RM6011 (Research Methods). Thankfully, having written a detailed proposal for EL6041, I have a lot of the ground work done. I will need to tweak a lot of it as I have changed my content focus, and I think I can do much better interface designs now!