Research forms an integral part of any student experience during their academic studies. The activities involved in research can be broken down as follows:
- Acquiring and organising information
- Brainstorming and mind mapping
- Citations and referencing
Technology has helped support this by facilitating the digitisation of collections, reference material, journals and databases and providing a platform for resource discovery. Mobile technologies have allowed for the process to be available anytime, anywhere providing methods for students to access information, collate and share it.
Sheffield Hallam University - preparing research dissertation proposals
Masters students on allied health professions courses used MyProgress app to prepare for their research dissertation proposals. Tutors develop tasks that students can access in the workplace without concern about NHS firewalls - students can work on the app offline and synchronise their completed tasks when they are in a wifi area.
Tutors developed a number of tasks to help learners through the research process and develop a research proposal by encouraging them to:
- Network and engage with stakeholders
- Work with a critical friend and mentor using university tutor feedback through the app to adapt the proposal ready for ethics approval submission.
The benefits include:
- The ability to support students in a structured way whilst in their work environments
- Opportunity for 'in the moment' reflections from clinical staff (peers and supervisors or mentors) and stakeholders (user representatives) enhancing the quality and usefulness of the proposal
- Allows students to direct their own learning, bring in stakeholders, peers and supervisor to feed into their research design
- Allows students and the university tutor to monitor progress and provide quick feedback by the remote university tutor.
The app allows keys skills from the researcher development framework to be mapped against each task so students can see which ones they develop as they progress through the framework.
A previously designed entrepreneurial pedagogy has been used as the overarching approach for formulating tasks in the research app. This encourages participants to develop the skills required to innovate within the NHS, develop and test novel interventions or services as part of the dissertation process.
North Lindsey College
Dr Dan Peart, programme leader for biosciences at North Lindsey College uses of a range of apps to assist his students:
- iTunesU to share and discuss research
- iBooks to store research
- Creative Book Builder to produce an electronic log of own research (exports as an e-book)
- Popplet for brainstorming research/method proposals
- 'What’s my heart rate', 'Cardio' and 'Tap the pulse' for heart rate research
- Biostatistics2 for statistical analysis
- Twitter to keep in touch with research
- Dropbox for cloud storage to save and share research