The conference paper 'Students as Creative Producers' written by Laura Czerniewicz, Cheryl Brown and I, has recently been accepted for the International Conference on e-Learning 2013. As lead author, it developed from my research assistant work on the fourth phase (2010-11) of the Centre for Educational Technology’s ‘Students Information Communication Technology Access and Use’ project. It reflects my interest in the use of online media for creative production; it dovetails with my PhD focus on the e-portfolio design choices of Visual Arts learners.
Both student examples featured the core properties of the CL framework in taking advantage of openly networked, online publication services to produce presences that fostered self-expression. Their extramural use of these new media services also expanded the potential social support for their extramural or co-curricular interests with online peers. Through this, the students could experience learning experiences and build their capabilities.
Their examples also demonstrated CL design principles despite being student-led: the well-resourced students learnt through doing, faced continual challenges and could connect different domains. The extent of this varied by student; Vince had socially- embedded, interest-driven, educational experiences across varied domains. Odette had legitimate copyright and feedback concerns that resulted in a more nuanced use of online presences, although fewer indicators were present.
Further, these case studies suggest that interest-powered, online creative production can have important benefits for students: feedback from online peers helped students to improve their creative skills and helped build their confidence; by serving as a space for students to reflect on, and define, their interests, the students experienced personal growth; and in using online publication services to bridge academic, civic and career domains, the students had opportunities to reflect on their roles within, and across, these domains.
To meet an ICEL2013 submission requirement that our article be less than 5,000 words (including its references and appendices), we chose to focus on two students. We are currently investigating journal opportunities to publish an 8,000 word article featuring three cases studies (adding the case of a student journalist and broadcaster, 'Jake').