Virtual carrots, sticks and student engagement: supporting student researchers

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This article describes a three-year research project which aimed to introduce a
technological innovation in working with three cohorts of undergraduate students to support them in completing their final-year dissertations through the use of a Virtual Research Environment (VRE). An additional aim of the project was to establish, amongst the students, a Community of Enquiry. Drawing on evidence from module evaluations, focus group interviews and user logs, the article highlights how students engaged with the VRE to support their research projects and their peers. By examining the activities of the three cohorts the authors were able to apply the seven key factors for building an educational Community of Enquiry outlined in previous research by the first author and colleagues to assert that the third cohort worked collaboratively to the degree that they could be said to have formed a Community of Enquiry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-225
Number of pages17
JournalTechnology, Pedagogy and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • initial teacher education
  • student research
  • community of enquiry
  • virtual environment
  • on-line support


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