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Journal of Peer Learning ; 15:32-47, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-2169508


This research explores the different types of motivation that inspired students to engage in an online peer-assisted learning (PAL) leader role. An interdisciplinary online PAL pilot programme at a university in the United Kingdom was reviewed to investigate the experience and perceptions of voluntary online PAL leaders. The purpose of the study was to address a paucity in knowledge about the motivations for this role, specifically from an online perspective, and to guide future online PAL leader recruitment.A thematic analysis of in-depth qualitative semi-structured interviews was used to determine emerging and relevant themes. Three research questions guided the interviews, and findings are presented in response to these questions.Findings indicate that different types of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation were key reasons for engaging in the online PAL leader role. The participants expressed an altruistic and empathic approach towards volunteering. Potential personal benefits motivated their participation, including improved study skills, transferable skills, and the possibility of an award. These motivations fell into two significant themes: the awareness of personal gain and the emergence of a desired version of self.Recommendations are made for the recruitment and training of online PAL leaders and the logistics of the scheme to ensure it is well advertised, accessible, endorsed by academic staff, and combines synchronous and asynchronous modes. It is hoped that this research will be valuable given the shift to online study and blended learning in response to and as an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic and the value placed on interactive virtual spaces to minimise isolation.

International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning ; 21(4):238-244, 2020.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1008410


Isolation can affect our well-being negatively. To prevent the spread of the infection COVID-19, many workers, including university lecturers, are required to work from home. In order to maintain high levels of well-being and team cohesion, academics at the University of Derby Online Learning initiated a virtual huddle to briefly socialise and check on their colleagues' well-being every morning. This piece of field notes reports the context (COVID-19 in the United Kingdom), the details of this morning socialization, the first-hand experience of attending this huddle, and possible applications. Perceived positive impacts of our huddles include better well-being, cultivating compassion in team culture, and enhanced team cohesion. These advantages can be also useful in student supervision, wider socialization with colleagues to counter the silo mentality, and other occupational sectors. Our field notes will be helpful for lecturers and other types of employees who work collaboratively yet in isolation during this uncertain and challenging time of crisis.