Using ‘Visitors and Residents’ model to engage new students

This week I used the Visitors and Residents (VandR) model (see links below to resources) as an ‘icebreaker’ with a new cohort of postgraduate students. The VandR model provides a framework to have discussions with students about how they use digital resources both socially and in their education and/or professional life. In essence, it prompts students (and staff!) to examine all of the digital resources they use and reflect on how they use them.

If you use a resource in the’ visitor’ mode of working, you use the resource as a tool, i.e. you have a particular reason or task for selecting the tool, and once the task is completed the ‘tool’ is returned to the ‘toolbox’. In the resident mode, you see the web as a ‘place to live’, you can be readily contacted and you have a digital persona or presence.

Visitor and Resident map for postgraduate student in Life and Health Science

Visitor and Resident map for postgraduate student in Life and Health Science

After developing their own maps I asked them to discuss their maps in small groups and then feedback to the class. This encouraged a lot of interaction and discussion, which was great for a first meeting of the cohort.

Some of the outcomes from the discussion were:

  • VLE: Only used discussion board for assessed activities, when it was required as part of a module
  • Most had Linked In accounts, but were not used or updated
  • None of the cohort used twitter
  • The majority had Facebook which they used extensively in social context
  • Some had set up their own Facebook groups within study groups to share ideas/ resources / information with peers
  • Most felt that they were distracted by social media when they were carrying out study activities on-line
  • Most felt that they did not make best use of technology in either learning or promoting their professional identity
  • This week they will be looking at the Exeter University Cascade project quiz: What type of digital learner are you? and we will be reflecting on the outcomes.

    More information on the Visitors and Residents Model is available here:
    1. The original V&R blog post which outlines the idea in about 500 words.
    2. The original V&R video which goes into a bit more detail.
    3. The mapping process video .
    4. A paper (White and LeCornu) on V&R for First Monday.


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