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Conference Proceeding

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This conference poster was originally published as:

Lounsbury, L., Bolton, D., Mildenhall, P., & Northcote, M. (2015, November). What offline and online technologies do higher education students use to complete assessment tasks? Poster presented at the Sciences and Technologies of Learning (STL) Research Fest, Sydney, Australia. Retrieved from


A Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is a system, usually self-constructed, that enables learners to manage their own learning and may include tools, services, online resources and communities. The aim of the project: to determine which technologies students use when they prepare, complete and submit assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations.

The participants (n=39): 24 students from Edith Cowan University in WA and 15 students from Avondale in NSW. All students were undergraduate, on-campus students from Education and Arts courses, mainly female, most were aged between 20-24 years.

Previous research has defined PLEs (Dabbagh & Kitsantas, (2012), especially in social constructivist contexts using learner-centred pedagogies (van Harmelen, 2008; Wild, Mdritscher, & Sigurdarson, 2008). Gosper et al. (2013; 2014) have outlined the use of technologies for learning in higher education in general. The methodology of the project used a mixed methods approach using a modification of Clark et al.’s (2009) methods:

1) online questionnaire;

2) focus group; and

3) mapping exercise.

Students used a moderate range of formal (provided by the institution) and informal (student-selected) technologies that were used in social and individual contexts, but most technology use was informal. The range of locations in which technologies were used was wide, and reflected a high value placed on mobility and Wi-Fi connectivity.

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