Case Study: Student Engagement with Theory Modules – Enhancing learning engagement beyond the classroom through Padlet

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
School / Department
Lincoln School of Film, Media and Journalism
Ola Ogunyemi – Professor of Journalism
Start and End Dates (where applicable)
September 2023
Innovation Case Study Categories
Academic experience
Access and Participation
Digital Literacy / AI
Learning environment
Learning gain
Student Engagement / Student As Producer

In the past few years, students’ level of engagement with theory modules has been waning. The reasons for this could be attributed to a number of factors including students finding the academic language tedious to read and understand, students do not create time to read academic works regularly to familiarise themselves with theoretical concepts, and Gen Z students do not access materials the traditional way i.e., physical textbooks, rather, they prefer e-books written in plain language.  

To address these challenges, tutors must constantly adopt teaching styles that resonate with Gen Z. One of these is the integration of new technology into teaching to increase students’ motivation and level of engagement.  

In the theory models that I teach at levels 4 and 5, students are required to bring their laptop or iPad to the lecture and seminar. This is to enable them to access Padlet on Blackboard during the session and to post materials relevant to the topic, thereby, demonstrating information seeking skills.  

Students demonstrate their analytical skills by using the data extraction questions provided by the tutor to review the materials they have posted and post their review. They make a short presentation about their review to the class during the seminar, answer questions from peers and get feedback from the tutor. 

There is evidence to suggest that the approach enhanced learning beyond the classroom where this affords the students the opportunity to learn and post reflection in their own time and at their own pace. The tutor observed that some students post information on Padlet late at night and that the analysis points to increased student confidence to present their work and to answer questions from their peers and tutor.    

Image of two University of Lincoln Journalism students reading a newspaper together.

The impact of the project is evident in the feedback captured from the students below. 

A Level 4 student reflected on the impact of the introduction of Padlet into teaching by stating ‘using Padlet has greatly assisted in the publication and the overall quality of feedback. I feel it gives you a chance to look at our work as a collective and gives us a unique database of ideas and examples to assist each other. This is especially helpful noting how we only spend two hours a week in the room.’ 

Another Level 4 stated that ‘Padlet allows me to look back at past topics to refresh my memory which is incredibly helpful when it comes to writing our literature review.’ 

A Level 5 student wrote that ‘the incorporation of Padlet into the learning environment provided me with the opportunity to gain insights into diverse ideas and perspectives from my peers. It facilitated the exploration of a broader range of theories and articles that might have otherwise escaped my attention. I appreciate the integration of technology in seminars, as it enhances the collaborative and interactive aspects of the learning experience.’ 

Another Level 5 student said that ‘Padlet meant that I was able to gauge a greater understanding of a set topic and collect a plethora of references and research papers to improve my essays and essay writing as a whole.’