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CLeaR Fellows 2015 – Dr Jason Stephens

The SEALLS project: A case of blending in technology to enhance student engagement and achievement in large lecture settings

Dr Jason StephensJason is a senior lecturer in the School of Learning, Development and Professional Practice, where he teaches courses on human development and learning. His research focuses on academic motivation and moral development during adolescence, particularly as it relates to the problem of academic dishonesty. Jason is a co-author of two books on schooling and moral development (Educating Citizens and Creating a Culture of Academic Integrity) as well as numerous journal articles and other publications related to academic motivation, moral judgment, self-regulation, and cheating behavior among secondary and post-secondary students.

As an educator with a long-standing interest in the promises of learning technology, Jason has often found himself in the position of an “early adopter” on the “leading edge” of educational innovations; particularly so with respect to “classroom response systems” (aka “clickers”) as well as online “learning management systems” (such as Moodle).

As a 2015 CLeaR Fellow, Jason will investigate students’ use of the online learning components offered through digital learning technologies (e.g., Moodle and GoSoapBox) in large lecture courses and the extent to which the use of these components is associated with important academic outcomes.

The objectives of the study would be two-fold: first, to observe and describe how often students use the various learning components afforded by these learning technologies (e.g., the ability to register opinions and ask questions in lecture, and to download lecture notes, listen to lecture audio recordings, read/post messages in discussion forums outside lecture); and second, to describe the relations between the usage of these various components and students’ academic outcomes (e.g., course assignment marks, final grades, and, ultimately, their continuation at University). In doing so, he hopes to better understand which learning technologies are most strongly associated with student engagement and achievement. Such an understanding could make a significant contribution to the design and delivery of other large lecture course at The University of Auckland and beyond.