Now that the DIVERSE project is underway I thought it would be a good idea to further elaborate some of the possible applications of the DIVERSE tool. As already outlined in the overview of this project, DIVERSE at its core is a virtual learning tool for student engagement. The idea being that DIVERSE should provide both students and lecturers a whole host of benefits and advantages.
From the students perspective the immediate benefit of DIVERSE is that it allows students to share relevant resources on a module topic. This sharing of resources is particular beneficial for first year students, as one of the biggest difficulties first years find with assignments and academic work is the need to reference their work. This is because students before starting university are used to just regurgitating facts and viewpoints in essays, rather than present underpinning to their arguments as is expected in assignments. So DIVERSE provides a means of students accessing a pool of relevant and hopefully useful sources they can use to underpin their work. The overall outcome hopefully being a positive improvement in the quality of assignments, at least in terms of referencing then previous years. Although it may be somewhat difficult to ascertain the direct effect DIVERSE actually has, but this falls out of the scope of this post and will be covered in depth at a later date.
Another similar benefit DIVERSE could bring is that DIVERSE allows lecturers to get a sense of how well their class understands a topic. As if for example a lecturer has set an assignment on ethics for example and the lecturer notices that the ethics resource cloud contains prominent links to inaccurate/ out-dated sources the lecturer can address this and hopefully prevent students from using bad sources. Following on from this another application for DIVERSE which lecturers can use is that the tool can be seen as a tool to help spark more interactive lectures and engage students more.
The final application of DIVERSE that has been considered so far is based around the stats a tool such as DIVERSE can gather and the use of these statistics. The type of statistics DIVERSE could be used to gather could prove highly valuable and useful in a variety of ways. One such application would be to use the statistics on popular journals and books students choose to share and that these stats can influence the availability of these resources, and so popular resources can be given more of a priority when it comes to buying more books or renewing journal subscriptions. In contrast resources which receive a negative view by large amounts of students could be discontinued in favour of the more popular resources.
This post has just provided a brief overview into some of the applications and advantages DIVERSE can provide to students and lecturers alike. Over the coming weeks as DIVERSE develops i am sure the applications of the tool will grow as well, i hope this post has provided a taste of what to expect from DIVERSE in the future.