by T Dune · 2016 · Cited by 8 — Using popular culture to catalyse active learning by engaging students in the by a Western Sydney University Catalysing Innovation in Learning and Teaching.

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Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice(:F˝>>=?Communication Idol: Using popular culture tocatalyse active learning by engaging students in thedevelopment of entertaining teaching and learningresourcesTinashe DuneWestern Sydney University0>?0=9>D/90D0/@,@John BidewellWestern Sydney University-4/0B07>0/@,@Rubab FirdausWestern Sydney UniversityI=/,>0/@,@Morwenna KirwanWestern Sydney University4=B,,47.:8ˆ:77://4?4:9:=6?3J:@:B0/@,$0>0,=..0>>?4?@?4:90;:>4?:=94A0=>4?:77:92:9@=?308,?:9?,4-=,==0>0,=B0/@,@$0.:8809/04?,?4:9ˇ@90494/0B077:394=/,@-,B,:=B099,:88@94.,?/:7’>49,@7?@=?,7D>.?4A,=94992,249?@/09A07:;80909?0=?,49490,.349,=9490>:@=.0Journal of University Teaching & Learning PracticeA,47,-?J:@:B0/@,:>

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Communication Idol: Using popular culture to catalyse active learning byengaging students in the development of entertaining teaching andlearning resourcesAbstract=49249,@7?@=0=?4,=/@.,?09?4,70,>?@/0992,20809,=949,>6>,:9?09?>;0.4,730,=949?@/09:/@.49:9?09>49:@;49?0=A09??0>>470809?0A,7@,?0;:>0A07:;0,=9499/?0,.349A,?;4?,74>49,:9>@80@7?@=:8:?.?4AA0,>>4A,=9497,=20?0=;=:10>>4:9.409.?@/090=A4?0A0/@.,?4:94/00>09?,?4:9>=409/:8;0?4?,>0,?49070A4,709>4E0>-,>00,?49?0=A09?4:9=:3:=?@/09=2=,/@,?740/30:2=,8?@/090A00,8?@/09:/@.00A04?4/0-:@?.:88@94.,?:10>>4:9,.?4.00.:=/0;0=409.049:,?49B0/,5:=4?:.0>>?=@.?4A49,=/0,90C;0.?0/:>;04E0?=494A,?:=0=0,>:9:/@.494/0:@=?30=?@/0940B0:/@.?4:9?=,=6:8;70?0A,7@,?4/0:>/@.,?4:9,7A,7@04/00==.04A0/@.,?4:9,7,7@,-09?0=?,4949,92,2:9?09″=:/@.0=4/0,?00,.349,=949;0=409.294I.,94A0,?@/0949A:7A0:/@.?4:94?,?4A9,7D>49/00>;:9>0@;;:=?0070A,9@80=492>,==40=:/@.494/00=9?4I04800>:@=.0:9I/09.,0,80>09.:@=,2/@.,?:=:9?08;7,?497,4,?4A0>:50237423,=90>>49,=209=0?@/099?41D9.:@=,2A:7A0809:/@.49/@.,?4:9,7?4I,-:9?09??3,0B,=/=1:=80@/409.0:50B,=949:9?09,>60,?09/;=0>09?08474,9?0=?,49498,?,7D>?@/09?>209?92,208090=?4,=@==4.@7,Keywords49?0=;=:10>>4:9/@.,?,@7?@=0:9>@80=4>,9>1:=8,?:=/,2:2D?@/0992,20809?>?@/09?,=94920=?4,=/@.,??@/090,?4A4?D4/0:/@.?.409.0Cover Page FootnoteH4@;;:=?00>?0=D94A0=>4?,?,7D>4999:A,?0,=9490,.3492˙=,9H4:@=9=?A,47,-:@=994A0=>4?0,.3490,=949=,.?4.3J:@:B0/@,:>

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1 Introduction Within an increasingly competitive higher education market, universities must cater to needs and wants. The pervasiveness of consumer culture (Sandel 2012) and its influence in higher education (Brown & Carasso 2013) have led student s to perceiv e themselves as consumer s, and academic teachers as service providers. As noted by Lippmann, Bulanda and Wagenaar (2009, p.199), the wishes and interests of students, including better and more interesting food choices, 24 -hour fitness centres , expansive new residence halls with no shared bathrooms, on -campus writing and learning centres , and student unions that resemb le resorts and This consumer orientation governs students university experience, extending naturally to curriculum and course content, and to engagement with learning tasks and assessments. Student s now understand themselves to be purchasing a ready -made experience (Barnett 2011; Furedi 2010) within a n economic transactional model where by student customers pay the tertiary institution to make an effort (Lippmann et al. 2009) . ng at university are more influenced by information technology (Lippmann et al. 2009) . With little effort from the user, online educational technology provides instant information and communication (Everhart 2009) . At its most basic level of functionality, online technology caters for t he consumer model of education whereby students download packaged educational materials , and o nline communication facilitat es access to university staff ; this is consistent with students expectations of universities as service providers. The consumer model of education departs from the concept of the agentic learner , in which responsibility for effort resides mostly with the student. Reeve and Tseng (2011, p.257) define Agentic engagemen t is argued to be a fourth component of learning, along with behavioural, emotional and cognitive components (Reeve & Tseng 2011) . Engagement relates to motivation and positively predicts course achievement (Reeve & Lee 2014) . Throughout the relevant literature, agentic learning is considered preferable to the information -receiver alternative. tive contribution as agentic learners is clearly at odds with the passive consumption that typifies traditional methods of tertiary education , and with the rudim entary application of online technology for transfer ring prepared materials to student s. Perhaps surprisingly, traditional university teaching complements the new consumer model in that , traditionally , students were expected to consume information from lectures and slide presentations or by reading books and articles, all produced by academic instructors and other expert authors . Online delivery of lecture s, slide s and published content merely facilitates unidirectio nal information transfer . Information technology alone does not make learning agentic. Traditional university teaching , in which students learn from extended monologues delivered in lectures or in print or online , is definitely incompatible with contemporary popular culture , for which a common currency is the brief, visually and aurally dynamic video clip. Popular culture through its social -media ally is increasingly participatory , and thus has the potential to counte r passive consumer culture in education . The rise of self -published multimedia productions distributed through online channels such as YouTube challenges passive consumerism by empowering amateurs with limited resources to reach mass audiences with their own productions , which can often be quite sophisticated . 1Dune et al.: Communication Idol

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2 However, a gentic engagement will not be cultivated by tertiary educators , in resigned deference to popular culture, producing and distributing their own MTV -genre content for students to download and view. Properly embracing popular culture in tertiary education (where popular culture might formerly have been regarded condescendingly as vulgar and intel lectually vacuous ) will promote creative opportunit ies and outlets for students , against the expanding notion of the student as passive consumer , and instead energising agentic learning . Agentic learni ng has the student creating the content in a manner compatible with popular s turning consumers in to producers. Participatory trends in popular culture coupled with online technology have potential to transform passive online consumer -learners into active, agentic online learners. Towards a goal of transformatory curriculum and pedagogy, this paper describes and eva luates a specially developed learning and teaching innovation enlisting pop ular culture to engage undergraduate students in agentic learning . The task had student volunteers scripting and producing their own music -video clips to convey educational message s for a unit of study , and the active appraisal of those productions by the student -producers peers. The project was inspired by literature showing that students who develop their own learning conten t acquire a sense of ownership over the information and how it is taught, as well as agency over its delivery (Quinlan 2014) . Students producing their own educational video content is not new (EdTechTeacher Inc. 2016; Greene & Crespi 2012; Willmot, Bramhall & Radley 2012) . The innovative aspect for this project was it s deliberate incorporation of popular culture into the exercise through replicat ing locally televis ed singing contests . The talent -quest format for learning and content delivery was likely to appeal to university students, as the category was familiar to students and likely to hold their attention (Anikeeva et al. 2010) . The project aimed to convert educational consu mers into ardent producers of educational multi media content within a large, interprofessional health -science unit. Given the typically young age of undergraduate students, the ir characteristic passion for popular culture , electronic media and communication and the current selfie craze, we expected a high level of student engagement and positive appraisals of the project. Methods This intervention study employed a descriptive, exploratory cross -sectional des ign with a single group of participants . Volunteer students scripted and produced multi media presentation s featuring music, vocals or dramatisations, and with pre scribed educational aims and content ; this activity was the intervention. The multi media film clip format was chosen for its familiarity and acceptance among young pe ople . Over and above the vernacular nature of the medium, t hese productions would force students to grapple in tellectually with the educational content in a manner consistent with agentic learning . Student evaluations of their experiences in developing and viewing the video presentation s served as the post -intervention evaluation , as well as the measured outcome and a further agentic exercise for the student audience . Unit of study : Communication in Health The Communication in Health unit runs within an undergraduate health -science program for students at a large, metropolitan university in Australia. The unit develop s written, oral and non -verbal communication skills to prepare health -science students across 10 allied health disciplines 2Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, Vol. 13 [2016], Iss. 5, Art. 15

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3 for therapeutic or rehabilitation work with individual client s in clinical settings , educating com munity members about health and working with other health professionals in a multidisciplinary team. As a communication unit, the subject was wholly compatible with scripting and producing educational content . All students enrolled in the p roject were eligible to participate as content producers and as the audience who evaluated the video presentations and thei r experience of the project . Project description : Communication Idol The so-called Communication Idol project r esembled well -known vocal -entertainment talent contests such as Australian Idol and The Voice . These broadcasts attract large viewing audiences on Australian commercial television. Student s enrolled in the unit were invited to create an original music video or a parody with an educational theme for any one of five concepts taught in the unit : 1) verbal and non -verbal communication; 2) active listening; 3) the role of empathy in communication; 4) communicating with people from a variety of cultur es; and 5) communi cating in an interprofessional t eam. For each of the five concept s, as many as three groups of students , with a maximum of three students per group , could submit a video conforming to these guidelines : 1) describ e the communication concept presented; 2) adhere to a maximum three minutes duration ; and 3) be entertaining . All students enrolled in the unit were encouraged to rat e the video s they had seen for their educational and entertain ment value . Students further complet ed an online survey about their overall experiences with the project and its ability to promote active learning and engageme nt; in effect , the students evaluated the agentic properties of the task . This involvement benefitted agentic learning not only for the relative minority of students creating the content , but for all students through active participation similar to televised talent quests where winners are chosen by viewer polling , such as the Eurovision Song Contest (European Broadcasting Union, 2016) . For a competitive element, and authentic to televised talent contests, winning videos in Communication Idol were chosen by the peer audience of other students in the unit and awarded cash prizes. The actual ballot resembled those used in Australian Idol and The Voice , in which viewers vote to retain their favourite performers in the race for the ultimate prize. Student w inners of the first prize , crowned Communication Idols , receive d AU$750 cash . The second place d team receive d $600 cash , third place receive d $450 cash and fourth place received $150 cash . Students who submitted a video but did not place in the top four received a $100 department store voucher for their effort and enthusi asm . Students who participated fully by watching all videos and completing the evaluation survey received an extra five marks out of 100 toward their grade in the unit. The additional marks were planned to encourage participation and interaction with the videos and their evaluation, especially among the more instrumentally minded student s for whom marks are the major incentive to action . The token extrinsic reward was not so large as to enlist genuinely unwilling students, as evidenced by the partial response rate described in the Results section . The project was funded by the u Catalysing Innovation in Learning and Teaching Grant. Ethic al approval , including for the prizes and extra marks, was obtained from the u human research ethics committee. Rec ruitment of contestants A short promotional video resembling those on television promoting Australian Idol was developed to encourage students to produce their own videos . Author and unit coordinator TD acted as host of the newly coined and fictitious Communication Idol contest , explain ing the 3Dune et al.: Communication Idol

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4 contest, its rules, prizes and bonus marks and the need for volunteer contestants. To heighten the authe nticity of the promotional video , chroma -key compositing replaced a green screen background with the Australian Idol stage. Further supporting the popular -culture aesthetic of the promotional video, author MK designed a Communication Idol logo based on the Australian Idol logo and s ourced an open -access version of the Australian Idol music. The promotional video was played at least twice to students enrolled in the unit between Weeks 2 and 6 of the 14-week teaching semester during tutorials and lectures as a commercial break , and made available on the online learning -management system (LMS) . Students wishing to express interest in producing a video register ed their team and nominate d their preferred concept via an online form . Fourteen students across seven teams registered as video -producer contestant s (Error! Reference source not found. ). Seven contestants were female and six male. All teams were interprofess ional except for one group of three podiatry students. All individual students and teams who registered submitted a video. Error! Reference source not found. Percentages sum to more than 100 because some students were enrolled in more than one program. A wide variety of programs are evident, with clinically oriented allied health predominating. Table 1. Teams and concepts for Communication Idol productions Team composition Specialisations Chosen concept for production 1 student Traditional Chinese Medicine Communicating in an inter professional team 1 student Physiotherapy Verbal and non -verbal communication 1 student Physiotherapy The role of empathy in communication 2 students Podiatry Health Science Active listening 2 students Paramedicine Communicating with people from a variety of cultures 3 students Physiotherapy Physiotherapy Podiatry Active listening 3 students Podiatry Podiatry Podiatry The role of empathy in communication Recruitment of voters When the Communication Idol contestants had uploaded their completed videos to the unit LMS site, students were advised via a mass email that they had one week to watch, evaluate and vote on the videos. Students were also advised of the steps required to secure the extra five mark s on their final grade for the unit: 1) read the participant information sheet online, 2) watch and evaluate each video, 3) vote for their top three videos and 4) complete an online survey about the learning and teaching innovation. Video delivery, evalua tion and voting Contestants were allowed from the time of their registration until two weeks after the completion of their final exam at the conclusion of the semester to submit their video as a computer file to author RF and to upload it as a YouT ube link . LMS a folder housed the submitted Communication Idol videos and the evaluation and voting resources . Th ese materials were presented to students using Adobe Captivate , a rapid -respons e authoring tool for creating e-learning content. Within Captivate , each video was displayed on a virtual iPad and prefaced by the 4Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, Vol. 13 [2016], Iss. 5, Art. 15

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6 scored responses to these items from 5 to 1, with higher scores representing more agreement. A final item sought open -ended comments about the Communication Idol contest itself and , the associated videos, activity and learning processes ; the responses to this item fed into qualitative analysis. Data analysis Sample characteristics were summarised descriptively. Numbers of students producing or not producing videos, and reasons for their decision to produce or not produce a video are presented in this section . The experience of producing a video was evaluated using closed responses from component of the unit, whether or not the student produced a video , is presented using continuous variable summary statistics (means, medians etc.) along with pe rcentages of agreement for the 12 questionnaire statements about Communicate Idol . Student ratings of their experience overall were compared for those who produced a video and those who did not, using a Mann -Whitney test effectively comparing medians; thi s non -parametric test was employed because of a large disparity in group sizes. The internal consistency of the 12 learning and teaching items was principal axis factor analysis exploring the homog eneity of items and identifying any items with ratings unrelated to those from other items. Responses to open -ended questions were typed and analysed thematically in accordance with Flick (2014) iden tified in s objectives. Analysis focused on topical responses and coding particularly for word repetition, direct and emotional statements , as well as discourse markers including intensifiers, connectives and evaluative clauses. Coding was done independently by authors RF and TD , who then discussed their coding before reaching a consensus on the final themes. Results Sample characteristics Surveys were returned by 299 out of 569 students , a response rate of 54.5% . The mean age of student participants was 22 years, whilst 19 years (n = 85 students aged 19 years, 28% of the sample) was both the most common and the median age . Eighty percent of students returning surveys were aged under 24 years, with 7% aged over 30. Sixty -three p ercent identified as woman , with the remaining 37% identifying as man . Ninety -three percent were in their first year of study, with the others fairly evenly distributed across the second , third and fourth years. Thus the sample was predominantly young and in their early years of undergraduate study, with the majority female. Eleven (79%) of the 13 students submitting a video were aged 21 years or under , and eight (57%) were female , which, in percentage terms, roughly correspond ed to the age and gender profile of the sample (72% aged 21 or under; 63% female , N = 299). Error! Reference source not found. shows the programs of study for all respondents and the subset of students producing videos , with multiple responses all owed. A wide variety of programs was evident, with physiotherapy and podiatry students featuring strongly among students producing videos. 6Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, Vol. 13 [2016], Iss. 5, Art. 15

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7 Table 2. Programs of study All respondents N = 299 Students producing videos N = 14 Program Occupational therapy 21% 7% Paramedicine 17% 7% Physiotherapy 17% 29% Podiatry 15% 36% Therapeutic recreation 10% 7% Health promotion 9% 14% Health and physical education 8% 0% Health -services management 6% 0% Health science 5% 7% Sport and exercise 2% 0% Traditional Chinese medicine 2% 7% Other 3% 0% Reasons for producing or not producing a video Of those submitting a video, 64% were externally motivated by wanting to win a prize , 79% liked the idea of students developing content, 50% considered the unit and its content relevant to health, 50% liked projects with an intellectual component, 29% were encouraged by peers and 14% gave other responses, with multiple responses allowed. Multiple reasons were also allowed for the 284 students not producing a video: 81% did not have time, 16% did not feel confident, 12% stated working with other student s as too difficult and 8% gave other reasons. Evaluating the process of video production When asked to evaluate the Communication Idol development process by selecting multiple -response items from a list , the 13 students who produced a video agreed that t and The s upport provided by the staff unit coordinator and research assistant during the development Evaluating the learning and teaching experience Error! Reference source not found. shows descriptive statistics for the 12 learning and teaching experience items. For any item the maximum score was 5 ( Strongly agree ) and the minimum 1 (Strongly disagree ). Average ratings tended towards agreement with each item ; yet there was noteworthy variation in the percentage of students agreeing or strongly agreeing with each item. The s trongest agreement occurred for participating in the questionnaire and voting so as to receive extr a marks. Rating -scale items suggest ed generally that the exercise of video production and learning from this effort was viewed favourably by the sample as a whole. 7Dune et al.: Communication Idol

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8 Table 3. Rating -scale responses Learning and teaching items M SD Mdn Mode % Mode % Agree or Strongly Agree Valid N The videos were a fun and engaging way to learn or review key concepts within the unit . 4.05 0.79 4 4 53% 81% 295 I enjoyed engaging in the videos because the concept and contest were based on popular media (i.e., Australian Idol) . 3.58 1.00 4 4 41% 58% 296 Having other students produce the learning content supported the content delivered by the lecturer(s) and tutor(s). 3.98 0.84 4 4 51% 78% 294 The videos helped me to learn more than other learning activities within the unit. 3.44 1.03 3 3 32% 48% 295 The fact that the students were from various disciplines allowed me to see how the concepts were relevant to many health disciplines including my own. 3.68 0.96 4 4 40% 60% 293 The Communication Idol contest was a good way to engage students to teach one another . 4.07 0.84 4 4 50% 81% 292 Voting for the videos that I liked made me feel I had control over the content available to future students. 3.71 0.96 4 4 43% 64% 292 When students have control over the content delivered in a unit it is more meaningful to them. 4.10 0.78 4 4 48% 81% 293 This type of teaching and learning innovation should be used in other units. 3.78 0.99 4 4 44% 67% 291 Doing this activity made me enjoy the unit more than if I 3.53 1.03 4 3 34% 52% 296 I participated in voting and this questionnaire to get extra marks in this unit . 4.27 0.80 4 5 44% 86% 293 I participated in watching the videos and voting on them to review, consolidate and test my knowledge in this unit. 3.68 1.08 4 4 38% 63% 295 A Mann -Whitney test found the students who produced video content score d significantly higher on ratings averaged across valid responses for all 12 statements compared with students who did not produce a video ( p = .0077). Students producing videos averaged 4.28 ( SD = 0.51, Mdn = 4.25, n = 14 ), which is well into the agreement zone of the rating scale. Students who did not produce a video averaged 3.80 ( SD = 0.65, Mdn = 3.88, n = 282), just below agreement on the rat ing scale. From the statement wordings in Error! Reference source not found. , the only item not describing learning and teaching positively is the second -last, referring to participating and voting to get extra marks. The exceptional meaning of this item was also demo nstrated empirically, via reliability and factor analysis. Reliability analysis for the rating – alpha of 0.90 indicating high internal consistency. The average inter -item correlation was a moderate .44, suggesting that the item s were related , but not excessively redundant. Correlations between each item and the scale total averaged a high .62, whereas the item about voting and filling in the questionnaire for marks correlated only a low .12 with the total score for the scale. Th so that removing the item increased alpha for the remaining items to 0.91. Along similar lines, principal -axis factor analysis yielded a single factor accounting for 46% of th e shared variance. This factor is plausibly interpreted as a general measure of satisfaction with the teaching, learning and process 8Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, Vol. 13 [2016], Iss. 5, Art. 15

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9 aspects of the initiative . Factor loadings onto this s atisfaction factor averaged a high .66 for all 12 items , but only .13 for voting and completing the questionnaire for marks , much lower than for the other 11 items . These analyses show that all but one of rating -scale items constituted a homogenous set that was conceptually and empirically coherent in the ratings of agreement . The single odd item did not appraise educational aspects and process ; instead , it addressed external motivation for participating in the evaluation , which the responses reflect . Qualitative findings Emergent themes were related to Communication Idol catalys ing and engag ing students in learning; the developmental value of producing a video ; staff support for students making a video; and how the learning activity could have been improved. Respondents valued Communication Idol as a means to cata lyse learning and improve understanding of understandable Female , 21 years, physiotherapy Male, 18 years, sports and exercise science ). Students could reflect on their learning and identify key characteristics of communicati ng health concepts: I was able to learn a lot about the importance of empathy within communication in health care setting and the distinct differences between empathy and sympathy . (Male , 21 years, sports and exercise science ) Learning through watching or making a video was an male , 17 years, occupational therapy ) way to consolidate learning. The videos enabled students to feel more competent about communicati ng health concepts. One paramedicine student wrote: All of the video[s were] wonderful, they helped me learn more and made me remember more clearly about what is communication . (Female , 18 years) A physiotherapy student noted that the learning activity show ed how interprofessional teams can function , and the value of this demonstrat ion before entering the workforce. It was great to see all disciplinary teams working together and was an awesome way to get some extra practice on communication st yles before entering the real world . (Female , 26 years) Learning through audio – male, 19 years, podiatric medicine ) and enjoyable way to engage with the content. Two physiotherapy students wrote: It may have helped people understand the content better. I learnt so much but in a fun way . (Female, 26 years) This way especially with meaningful movies and songs incorporated into learning is extremely effective . (Male, 19 years) Students who made videos indicated that doing so encouraged a deeper understanding of the communication of health concepts and their relevance in real life: 9Dune et al.: Communication Idol

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