Degree: Doctoral Thesis
Authors: Elisa Pack Jon Fong Rendall Monteiro
Supervisors: Doctor Keith Morrison (Macau University of Science and Technology) Co-supervisor: Doctor Ana Maria Correia (University of Saint Joseph)
This thesis reports a mixed methods empirical research which included a university-wide survey and action research in form of a quasi-experiment in collaborative blended learning (CBL) with Macau undergraduate students. The intervention embodied the principles of social constructivism and investigated the putative benefits and challenges of CBL. The purpose of the study was to identify how to promote effective CBL in undergraduate students and to increase effective learning, motivation, autonomy, empowerment, and communication. It found that only small improvements to students’ CBL took place over time, and found that the students needed specific instruction, practice and development in how to collaborate, both with and without online learning. Despite being in a world-leading, enriched digital environment, the students were new to collaboration and online learning. Students discovered and appreciated the benefits and challenges to collaboration and CBL largely by doing it. The thesis shows that CBL does not release teachers from their instructional and pedagogical roles; rather they place teachers at the heart of effective practice and improvements. The study underpins the need for explicit training of students in CBL. It identifies several strategies and tools which can be useful to promote effective genuine CBL.