Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Understanding Learners and Learning (Wk2)

Deep, surface, strategic?

Activity:
Your task is to think about the general idea of ‘approaches to learning’ in relation to on-line learning. Questions for consideration are:

Have you seen any evidence of these different approaches in on-line contexts, e.g. in technology-enhanced courses you teach? How did these differences manifest themselves in terms of on-line learning behaviour?

Source: Marton, F., Hounsell, D. and Entwistle, N., (eds.) The Experience of Learning: Implications for teaching and studying in higher education. 3rd (Internet) edition. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh. http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/institute-academic-development/learning-teaching/staff/advice/researching/publications/experience-of-learning

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Hmmmm ... the course I am teaching on currently is a course for professional registration, most of the delivery is face to face.
The on-line component provided by the teaching team are primarily supplementary activities and resources. In the flavour of a 'flipped classroom', I have developed a series of on-line activities where students explore the subject in detail at their own pace during individual study time before attending a seminar group where we can discuss and work with the material from their on-line activities.
My reflections on student engagement -  A mixture of approaches to learning. I have learners who appear keen to learn and appear comfortable in their on-line engagement, seeking out on-line activities and prompting their provision when they want a greater challenge.  There are those who are less engaged and appear to do the bare minimum, reliant on their peers having done the preparatory work.
There are also students who have not logged into the module/course shell despite being many months through the module/course?!

Given the 'optional' status of these on-line learning activities, and the competing demands on students time through 'mandatory' and 'required' components of the course I am not entirely surprised by the low engagement in the activities provided. We have had students complain if the 'lecture' time is reduced, identifying attendance as the most important measure rather than engagement or product output from participating in the lecture activities.
In the world league tables and comparing courses to shop around, students need data to measure. Number of hours in 'lectures' is identifiable and measurable! So shouldn't we also specify the hours of on-line teaching and learning so this can be considered openly?

To increase engagement the messages behind the teaching and learning activities needs to change.

"The framework of institution, department and courses, affects students’ perceptions of reading, listening to lectures, writing essays and solving problems. Students do not, for example, simply read an article. They read it for a purpose connected with a course of study and in response to the requirements of those who teach the course" (Ramsden 2005: 198).

My thoughts and opinions*.... institutionally, programme and at course level I/we need to include the on-line teaching and learning as a component of the course/module and not an optional or hidden extra. I/we need to build in the students anticipation to engage in richness of learning in a variety of media and see it as part of the course. There needs to be value in this mode of learning and teaching which is carried across all levels of the institution. I/we need to provide for the range of 'learning styles' in anticipation of the diversity of student learning needs and expectations.

I would live to know your thoughts and opinions? How are you valuing these mode of teaching and learning within your organisation?

Final words...

"This indirect connection between how lecturers teach and how their students learn has a crucial implication for how we should try to develop teachers’competence in higher education. It suggests that staff development programmes should aim not only to improve teaching skills, but also to increase lecturers’ awareness of their students’ experiences of learning. In the last analysis, these two facets of staff development are inseparable. Good teachers have to be aware of their students’ needs and purposes, sensitive to their students’ perceptions of the course—and adapt their teaching and assessment methods accordingly. Our attention should be on the quality of learning, not simply on how to improve the techniques of teaching.
This emphasis on the effects of teaching is, however, not intended to remove responsibility entirely from the student. On the contrary, the decision to use different approaches to studying is largely in the student’s own hands. Different students want different things from higher education and respond differently to similarly perceived conditions. Some cope better than others with adverse assessment and teaching conditions, and only part of the variation in the quality of learning is explained by contexual influences. But it would be a mistake to try to force a dichotomy between student characteristics and context in understanding how students learn: If we accept that individual students’ learning skills will affect which approaches they use, and whether they achieve their goals, we should also recognise that learning skills are themselves influenced by previous experiences of learning contexts" (Ramsden 2005:216).

* These are my personal thoughts and opinions.

Ramsden. P. (2005) 'The Context of Learning in Academic Departments'. In: Marton, F., Hounsell, D. and Entwistle, N., (eds.) The Experience of Learning: Implications for teaching and studying in higher education. 3rd (Internet) edition. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Assessment. pp. 198 - 216.

Week 1 activities

Webinar 0 and 1 ..... stimulating the little grey cells......

Really great having the live webinars cast via #YouTube.

I decided to follow up some of the links shared so here they are.

Digital literacy, what they are and how to attain them...
http://www.bath.ac.uk/learningandteaching/courses-development/current-projects/pride-project.html

The Eight elements of digital literacy are key to this project -http://digilitpride.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/making-sense-of-the-8-elements-of-digital-literacy/

3E Framework
http://staff.napier.ac.uk/services/vice-principal-academic/academic/TEL/TechBenchmark/Pages/Introduction.aspx

A model of ELT at DMU
https://celt.our.dmu.ac.uk/support-using-technology/elt-key-documentation/a-model-of-elt-at-dmu/

Evaluating digital services: a Visitors and Residents approach
http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/evaluating-services/









A further area of digital literacy is 'digital health literacy', as 'patients' and 'health care professionals' we are increasingly reliant on the www for accessing and providing health information, booking health appointments and ordering prescriptions. We are increasingly exposed to innovations in 'ehealth', 'tele health and care', recent live cast of surgery via GoogleGlass . Many of these are aimed at improving health or the opportunity to manage our own health more independently.

But when do our health providers check our digital health literacy? or our ability to use the technology or our confidence and trust in the technology?

I recently attended a conference day for DISCOVER Skills For Carers an exciting initiative to equip carers with digital literacy for health.

Visit http://www.discover4carers.eu/      http://moodle.discover4carers.eu/


Research and innovation in this area is increasing globally, overcoming geographical boundaries and widening access to health information and care.


Links:

W.H.O. Health literacy and health behaviour - http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/conferences/7gchp/track2/en/



























Lurking with intent?

This season I shall be mostly........ Lurking ;-)


Still getting to know my Chromebook and discovering its limitation and opportunities for liberation.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Q: how do you feel?

In response to comment: http://jillianpawlynoctel.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/digital-learner-this-year-i-am.html 

Hi Tracey,

"I'd be interested to know how you feel your developing as a digital learner has influenced you as a teacher."

I am a multi-modal learner (see VARK 2014 post ).

Broadly speaking I consider my development has been growth in 'empathy' and 'technical ability'. I really enjoy 'having a go' and' trying things out'.

As a digital learner I have had many great and not so great experiences but I learn from each.

I have enjoyed the diversity of resources available to me via the WWW. The global network of learners from the courses I have undertaken 'on-line' has been great, I enjoy exploring from both my own and others perspectives.

I value open collections and get frustrated when I can't access recommended or essential readings because they are not available in the 'public' domain or the 'domain of my employer'.

I have encountered a diverse range of technical challenges, resource challenges with incompatible technologies and activities taking longer than anticipated by the 'facilitating teacher' or me as a learner. I love my new Chromebook but it frustrates me that so many 'teaching technologies' don't work inside the browser. Thanks #ocTEL for the live #YouTube stream.


I enjoy the freedom to explore my learning but also recognise I have to maintain focus. I enjoy the diversions the WWW offers but know the importance of a study outline with my key terms to retain focus.

Finally as a professional I also acutely aware of my 'on-line persona' and how this presents to the public, my peers, and students. My mantra is if I don't want the world to know it then I don't put it on-line! I have work persona which is separate from my 'friends and family' this causes some challenges as the technologies don't allow for this level of security within them, or don't provide the confidence level for the security I would like, so I use #Facebook for 'friends and family' and #Google+, #Twitter and #LinkedIn for my professional self. I also value as a student the security and privacy of a closed learning environment such as an institutional #VLE. I want to explore safely and when I stuff up I don't want to worry about the mistake being 'public', I expect the VLE to be a private, safe space in the same way as my 'physical classroom.

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So from these experiences as a digital teacher, I would say I am aware of the potential challenges students grapple with when mastering new technologies or using technologies in new ways. I believe that mastering the technology should not get in the way of the real learning purpose.
I am 'conservative' in that my teaching delivery is primarily via a VLE. I believe this provides students with a 'secure and safe' place to explore and learn without fear of it leaking into the public world. It is also supported by our IT help team so the student isn't 'on their own' when it goes wrong. I test my resources across a variety of devices and browser so I can try and iron out the glitches, or at least for warn students and provide 'help' information.

In the absence of institutional student access document management systems I do use Google drive to share resources and maintain version control. I also use other web2.0 tools as 'optional' tools in my teaching, I believe students should have a choice whether they sign up to the licence and should have opportunity to consider its level of openness before use.

My teaching activities on-line always include some reading, discussion, reflection and where possible some video/audio element (often YouTube) or a resource from our streaming server.

My students are primarily on-campus learners, we regularly get together for face to face discussions. Using their digital learning activities to prepare for the discussion.

I advocate that the on-line learning time is part of the learning time for the module/course and must not be considered a 'bolt' on. I offer face to face, on-line and telephone tutorials so students can engage in location rather than always attending campus.

For me digital learning (and teaching) is a richer, more personalised, and flexible learning experience, the openness of the WWW removes many of the boundaries to learning. I love being a digital learner and a 'conservative' digital teacher. It isn't plain sailing and over the years I have felt constrained by my work environment and curriculum and my professional identity. I carry around a 'virtual soap box' to stand on!

 
Image of a soap box
"A Soap Box." by Matt


p.s. as usual for me this was composed, edited, and then finally posted..... as a rather lengthy response.
I then decided to compose in its own post ....... :-)

VARK 2014

The VARK Questionnaire 


How Do I Learn Best? 

My scores were:
  • Visual: 10
  • Aural: 9
  • Read/Write: 10
  • Kinesthetic: 13 
I have a multimodal (VARK) learning preference.

After I completed the check-list they provided my feedback and links to the following help sheets for study strategies that apply to my learning preferences:



You can find more information about your learning preferences in their downloadable book:
How Do I Learn Best? a student's guide to improved learningMore Information...

I like this graphical overview from the OnlineCollege.org 


What Type of Learner Are You?