Just-in-Time Teaching and Technical Skills for Communication Pedagogy

Grant recipient: Frédérik Lesage, School of Communication

Project team: Hannah Holtzclaw and Felix Lo, research assistants

Timeframe: November 2017 to July 2019

Funding: $6000

Course addressed: CMNS 354 - Communication and Social Issues in Design

Final report: View Frédérik Lesage's final report (PDF)

Description: A 2015 survey of SFU School of Communication undergraduate students determined that students felt they had gained adequate research and analytical skills from their education. The respondents also felt they had gained other skills such as public presentation and working effectively in teams. However, this same survey also found that students felt ill-equipped in terms of what the survey analysts referred to as ‘technical skills’ pertaining to graphic and web design as well as video editing.

My goals in this research project are to: 1) explore how to incorporate just-in-time teaching (JITT) for technical skills in a third-year media and communication course that focuses on design-related issues; 2) better understand what kinds of technical skills students have and want. The short-term research outcomes of the project are to better articulate the provision of technical skills as a secondary education goal for this course in a way that: 1) attracts students while meeting their expectations; 2) can be used by faculty and students to communicate the learning outcomes of the course to others.

Questions addressed:

  • How does an instructor design a course using JITT to provide technical training?
  • What kinds of resources do students use for self-directed technical training and how do they use these resources?
  • To what extent do JIYT approaches to teaching and learning adequately reflect and nurture students’ understanding of technical skills?
  • What are students’ perceptions of the impact of JITT on their development of technical skills?
  • What is the impact of JITT on students’ technical performance?

Knowledge sharing: A version of the final report will be shared with the School of Communication (especially with other faculty who have shown an interest in technical training), the FCAT Dean’s office (who has shown considerable interest in Riipen and other platforms for supporting technical training), and SFU Library services (which administers SFU’s institutional account for JITT platforms like Lynda.com). The research team will also submit a poster to SFU’s Fall 2018 DEMOfest.

In addition, we hope to use the project data as the basis for a journal article. We are also in discussions with the Director of the College Internationale de Philosophie in Paris who has signalled an interest in sharing some of the ideas developed as part of an international symposium on the mediation of digital skills.

Keywords: Just-in-time teaching, Just-in-time learning, Software studies, software literacy, software skills, community of practice, social shaping of technology, multidisciplinary research, media anthropology

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