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Research impact case study: ICT and Instructional Design

Ann Marcus-Quinn (School of Culture and Communication) recently wrote for the Irish Humanities Alliance on her research impact. Read her full piece here.


ann2Dr Ann Marcus-Quinn is a lecturer in Technical Communication and Instructional Design at the University of Limerick. She is currently the Course Director for the Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing. Dr Marcus-Quinn has been awarded both national and international funding for her research. In a previous role Ann worked with the National Digital Learning Resources service (NDLR) as a national advocate for Open Educational Resources. Since 2004 Dr Marcus-Quinn’s research has included site visits and in-depth interviews with stakeholders in Irish post-primary education.

Her ongoing research impacts upon four primary groups: academics, policy-makers, schools and the educational publishing professionals. The research is also of interest to the general public.

Research description

Despite attempts to integrate ICT across the curriculum of all post primary education systems in the developed world, levels of use remain low. One of the major reasons for this low level of use is the availability of curriculum relevant software. In recent years the availability of high quality authoring tools has provided opportunities for the low-cost development of highly reusable curricular relevant materials. The increasing use of educational repositories can now facilitate the wide-scale distribution of these resources. This has the potential to reconceptualise the use of ICT across the curriculum in schools, particularly in the humanities area. Dr Marcus-Quinn’s research explores the design of curriculum specific educational software and investigates the ways in which it can be used by Irish post-primary teachers in their teaching of English. Her research has raised a number of issues for the development of such tailor-made solutions and highlights opportunities for future developers.  Her research presents a tentative conceptual model of the nature of use of Open Educational Resources and the implications for future development and use of reusable learning objects. Her research found that teachers used the software in different ways largely mirroring existing pedagogical practices.

Dr Marcus-Quinn is involved in an ongoing project with the University of Reading and the Department of Education focussing on post-primary student use of eLearning for reading-based activities. Today there is still very little known about the impact of typographic presentation on e-learning. This project explores whether different degrees of visual differentiation applied to typographic signalling (e.g. the visual signalling of changes in content, structure, emphasis, or navigation cues) influence learners’ motivation and recall when engaging with digital interfaces. While many studies compare digital and print formats, our study takes e-learning as a given and investigates how typographic presentation can optimise users’ experience of learning from screens. The research will contribute to shaping cross disciplinary knowledge and methodological approaches to the study of e-learning. The findings of this project will also contribute to developing guidelines that teachers (who have increasing responsibility for creating e-learning materials but no design experience) can use to inform their practice.

Read more here.

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