Cats and dogs and pheromones: researching the student experience

Watling, Sue and Saunders, Gary (2009) Cats and dogs and pheromones: researching the student experience. In: Athens Institute Education and Research (ATINER) 11th Education Conference, 25-28 May 2009, Athens, Greece.

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Cats, Dogs and Pheromones; researching the student experience
Paper presented at the Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER) 11th Education Conference in Athens 25-28 May 2009.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Pheromone Therapy is a unique online course pioneered by the University of Lincoln and delivered through the university's virtual learning environment. The course adopted innovative practices such as induction activities designed to embed the skills required for successful online learning, a range of interactions with content and focus on opportunities for socialisation including ‘café’ forums and a student gallery. Retention is a key issue with distance delivery (Simpson, 2003) but listening to the student voice is only a comparatively recent initiative. Past studies have focussed on non-completion (Yorke & Longden, 2008) or the student experience on campus (JISC, 2007). Pheromone Therapy was an opportunity to capture data about distance learner’s experience of learning in isolation and collect individual responses to the course design. Findings provided a rich source of information for the construction and delivery of online courses in the future. Social aspects of learning online have been suggested as prime motivators in building a sense of collegiality. Pheromone Therapy was designed to include opportunities for social interaction but students demonstrated how the learning experiences which were situated in practice, with opportunities for shared participation, created the greatest cohesion and sense of community.

Keywords:online learning, distance learning, student experience, pheromones, higher education research, research
Subjects:X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
Divisions:Professional services > Lincoln Higher Education Research Institute
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ID Code:1910
Deposited On:16 Jun 2009 11:41

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