Our #edcmooc paths to finding Information – Results

Our #EdcMooc Path to Information

Screenshot of the survey

Following one of the previous posts explaining the plethora of research questions born during the e-learning and digital Cultures MOOC (#edcmooc), I set up a survey to explore how my peers explored information beyond the material provided by the course team.

I would like to thank all 78 of my peers who responded and took the time to contribute with their reflections and information journeys!

There is still a lot to reflect on and learn from my Personal Learning Network and I hope to find the time to come back to these results in the future. In the meantime, here are the first results:

Survey participants

collage-surveyAs I mentioned 78 fellow MOOCers responded to the survey. The number of responses seems very low in comparison to the  7,392 active #edcmooc participants of week two, as Hamish Macleod reported during the second live Google Hangout. By active participants we mean those who interacted with the Coursera platform even if their level of activity was minimum (e.g. just log in and/or browse).

While the results may be inconclusive, the 78 survey participants approach the the average number of participants in the Twitter chats.

So how did EdcMooc participants respond?

Did you need to follow a footnote in any of the digitized readings or explore more literature about a topic?

53% of the survey participants indicated they needed to either follow a reference from the readings or explore more about the topics, while 19% didn’t feel adventurous and another 15% were completely covered by the readings provided.

Q1-survey

Do you have access to subscribed content in your work or study environment?

Overwhelmingly, 72% of the respondents had access to subscribed content although 10% of those didn’t need to use these resources. A significant proportion of another 28% of participants didn’t have access to subscription services.

Q2-survey

The participants’ comments fed back what seems as the most important element of the survey; the path they used to find additional information and enrich their learning journey. The following Wordlde illustrates the major paths followed.

Google, Twitter and following links provided in other Social Media, such as Facebook and Google + were the dominant channels for finding information.

Q3-survey

Some comments from participants, with subscribed content on their fingertips, include:

Followed up references by running literature searches.

I needed to go beyond what was provided as I cannot learn from videos.

_____________________

On the Internet, using mainly Google Search.

For more academic material: Google Scholar, Academia.edu, Scopus.

_____________________

Surfing the web

_____________________

Mostly by googling them.
I thus have found entries in the good old Wikipedia, but also stumbled upon very interesting blogs of people I don’t know but who obviously are willing to share their own insights with the world
Absolutely fascinating experience.

_______________________

If I want to know anything I pretty much always start with Google. 🙂

_______________________

Googled around.  I have some access to online information services and was able to get to most of what I wanted.  Plus I have a big budget for e-books and books from Amazon.  🙂

_______________________

I have the fortune to work for 3 universities (it’s a strange job, but I love it!), which gives me access to a lot more literature than I would otherwise have been able to read.

_______________________

While participants like myself, with a plethora of resources on their fingertips, chose to either take the path of searching onto their subscribed online collections or not, my main interest focused on the journey of my peers who were exclusively relying on the materials provided by the tutors. I dug a bit deeper to explore this option.

Going for Information hiking…

Q3-No-access-to subscribed-content

I’m mostly “recycling” all the materials that I’ve had or found on FB, Ubuweb, twitter, YouTube & also other types of (musical & photographic) blogs, mostly non educational resources.

Recycling, collecting , structuring new things & new ideas from the everyday life are part of my process of learning though the digital environment & discovering the use of new tools. It might be time-consuming because I rely on visual & musical resources as a non English native speaker. As for (conceptual or ludicrous  video resources, they are as important as any academic texts to me and to those who want to have a further exploration of the ideas/concepts of this edcmooc.

___________________

I used two techninques:
1. Do a Google web search for the name of the author of the specific document. The keywords are the author name and document title.

2. Do a Google scholar search for the author and document. This usually gives documents that cite the document.

____________________

I either went searching around the net until I found what I was looking for, or went to a torrent site and got it that way.

____________________

I collected bibliographical information and will later see which of them I have access to without subscription or at my local library, since I am not connected to an educational institution.

____________________

Google and Wikipedia

____________________

Exploring through social media
Linked through with other resources that were posted by others
Google searches
Sharing the resources with others who then provided other links to other references

_____________________

I sometimes found them from blogs, but mostly from Twitter or Facebook.

____________________

Conclusions:

I’d rather leave the Information Literacy-related conclusions to all of you who may stop by this post. Looking at the responses as an observant, the comments give further evidence of the educational level of the participants as Hamish reported during the second Hangout; a significant percentage of the participants are experienced learners with a high  level of educational qualifications.

Pre-course survey run by the EDC MOOC Organisers.

Pre-course survey run by the EDC MOOC Organisers.

Disclaimer:

The survey was not initiated or supported by the Edinburgh EDC MOOC tutors team. It started from a personal interest in researching Information Literacy behaviours in the MOOC sphere.

Image credits:

To view the images and their licenses for reuse please visit my Flickr photostream

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Widening Participation, Open Educational Resources and MOOCs: In Research and In Practice

  1. It’s main Aims and Objectives were:

  2. To bring together widening participation practitioners and academic staff engaged with research into, and use of, Open Educational Resources.
  3. To start a discussion between researchers and practitioners on developing the use of OER in community settings and outreach work to widen participation.
  4. Today we will draw up a list of priorities and research Qs for WP through free and open resources. Tweet your thoughts! #WPOER #OER #MOOC
  5. Some Lessons learnt while engaging with OER:

  6. Andy Lane: The 4 Ps of effective OER practices: pedagogic support, personal support, peer support, professional support. #WPOER
  7. @OpenUniversity ‘s Andy Lane: Open content can be understood as degrees of openness #WPOER #OER #MOOC
  8. #wpoer – Andy Lane extends #OER discussion: “OER are about open innovation. Put it out there and see what happens”
  9. Prof Andy Lane at #wpoer – open innovation also works in a commercial world. Openness = share & share alike, not protection and competition.
  10. Lane: most significant developments in OER are happening in informal spaces and developing countries rather than western universities #WPOER
  11. Prof Andy Lane speaking at #wpoer – expert reflection & guidance still important for mediating teaching & learning with #OER
  12. #WPOER 0ER resources – if they’re not relevant you can make them so. Issues to consider around Creative Commons licenses.
  13. #WPOER not all OER is in university sector or inside the formal education framewrok
  14. Lessons learnt from Projects:

  15. Dominance of English language in #OER causes disparity of access in developing countries – Andy Lane at #WPOER
  16. Lane: most significant developments in OER are happening in informal spaces and developing countries rather than western universities #WPOER
  17. #WPOER Andy Lane – OER being used for workforce training – employees directed to open learn materials
  18. Lane: Range of different ways that prospective and registered students and alumni might use OER: as showcase/guide/reinforcement etc. #WPOER
  19. #WPOER “OER are fine for confident and experienced learners” Andy Lane quoted by Jonathan Hughes
  20. #WPOER building case studies helps tracking & monitoring the full spread and reach of #oer in communities
  21. Lane: “new policies and practices required at all levels in the HE system to address openness/OER and WP” Is the dialogue happening? #WPOER
  22. #WPOER the content language needs to be adapted to fit diverse audiences.
  23. #WPOER student buddies / student mentors can support WP students’ transition to the university
  24. Lane: geography, ind, social and cultural norms, prior achievements, income and digital divide can be barriers to HE access #WPOER
  25. #WPOER #librarians were champions in OU/reaching wider project in Mid & North Wales
  26. #WPOER mediation between learner & resources an important element in the mix!
  27. Research Questions arise:

  28. #WPOER exciting research questions, projects and discussions today related to #infolit & #oer
  29. #WPOER OER materials are available in some areas/subjects but not others. How will OER be demand led?
  30. #wpoer: research Q by Andy Lane: will we have new ways of recognising educational achievement?
  31. #WPOER why does everyone talk about OERs as lonely online activity and so much that is succeeding is blended, mediated and social learning
  32. Commenting on MOOCs

  33. #WPOER Andy Lane suggests that MOOCs are an extension of OER
  34. Participation rates are the fascination of the UK HE sector in WP terms. Might explain some of the media obsession MOOC uptake #WPOER #MOOC
  35. “Andy Lane: MOOCs as an attempt by HEIs to package up a learning experience..” #WPOER #MOOC
  36. Lane quoting Donald Clark: MOOCs shouldn’t be seen as ‘failure factories’ #WPOER
  37. Is it only grads and postdocs that do MOOCs? What of widening participation? Serious Q, non? #WPOER #MOOC
  38. The Open Research Hub “will provide a focus for research, designed to give answers to the overall question ‘What is the impact of OER on learning and teaching practices?’ and identify the particular influence of openness.”

  39. All project collaborations will address two key hypotheses:

    1.  Use of OER leads to improvement in student performance and satisfaction.
    2. The open aspect of OER creates different usage and adoption patterns than other online resources
  40. Some Conclusions (not mentioned above):

  41. #WPOER Andy Lane talks about openess bringing shared benefits. He feels OER is gaining interest worldwide now
  42. #WPOER accreditation will play a big part in how OER develops
  43. Extending your Reading with Associated Resources

  44. All the above tweets can be accessed on the #WPOER archive.
  45. All the presentations are linked via: 
  46. Journal of widening Participation and Lifelong Learning
  47. and a timely Guardian reading…
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Utopic and Distopic Technology-Enhanced Learning Metaphors: #EdcMooc Digital Artefact

    1. The classification is based on Johnston’s metaphors of the internet  (Johnston , R 2009) 
    2. A visual Introduction

  • Important Note: The link mentioned in the video applies only if you watch the video on YouTube. The link given in the YouTube comments area takes you here in this story. 
    View the transcript of the video.
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Our #EdcMooc paths to Information and knowledge

The last three weeks have been extremely rich and creative although I haven’t come back to the blog to record my thoughts.  #edcmooc Anatomical Reflection

One of the things that keeps coming back in my mind are the words of George Roberts few months ago when I started the first UK-based MOOC “First Steps in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education“.

During the orientation, George encouraged us to dive into the #fslt12 curriculum (the hashtag of the aforementioned MOOC) and make it ours. At that time, his words didn’t make a lot of sense but my enthusiasm was enough to “dive” into the resources, engage with participants and spend a considerable amount of time on further exploration.

George’s words make perfect sense to me while engaging with #edcmooc as a student and while trying to encourage, as an educator, my students to internalize their course content and experience it as a whole.

By internalizing the course content, quite a few questions keep coming up and the “dialogic” engagement via the Twitter chat revealed that I am not the only one with many research questions.

Some of these questions have to do with discoverability of information. I keep asking myself what happens if you want to follow a footnote that is not part of the digitized copy available for reading in the coursera platform. What happens if this “posthumanism” concept caught your attention and you want to read more?

What do you do? Has it happened to you? I created  below a short survey and I would love to know about  your personal paths to information.

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Resolving Planning Reflecting and Inspiring 2013

A"Primer" calendar for 2013

A”Primer” calendar for 2013

The last year has been quite creative and fruitful! The previous post “2012 in review” captured only a fraction of this creativity as I started my blogging journey at the end of last April with the intention to publicly reflect on my first steps in learning and teaching in Higher Education and engage with Open Academic Practices.

This year I will continue the learning journey and …

My next stop is …

Next stop is #edcMooc

Next stop is #edcMooc

Another MOOC, the “E-learning and Digital Cultures” Massive Open Online Course, part of the Coursera platform that has been developed by “teachers and researchers in online education, who run the international MSc in E-learning distance education program at the University of Edinburgh.”

I intend to reflect and unavoidably compare the current learning experience with my previous one, update the links on the blog, aggregate and share content under the tag and category #EdcMooc

While I am setting off on a free online course, I am officially preparing to join the National Fellow Directory of the Higher Education Academy.

Next stop, National Teaching Fellowship of HEA

Next stop, National Teaching Fellowship of HEA

Having attended my first module on “Assessing learning” this week in the Institute of Education, I embarked on a Massive Body of Knowledge and a different professional culture for which I will be reflecting here under the tag and category #FHEA

This year will be a long learning journey but I have many classmates to reflect and learn with … just watch this space, and feel free to comment!

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Planning with the “Learning Designer” Tool

Lesson plan for “Your digital footprint” Planning my Micro-teaching activity

The last few weeks have been extremely busy! One of my tasks to complete was the microteaching activity for the “first steps” MOOC. The actual Microteaching presentation took place last Friday, the 22nd of June, and since I am still reflecting on the experience, I thought it’s not too late to post my thoughts on it.

For this activity I chose to design a lesson plan for a session I would like to deliver to my students in the coming academic year, entitled: “Your digital footprint”. I may modify the title a bit to capture the students’ attention but the aims of the session will still be to

  • Provide a space to the learners for reflection around their digital identity and the trails they leave in cyberspace;
  •  Introduce the idea of the level of control learners can have on what exists on the web about them and how to deal with the uncertainty.

Up until now, I would jump straight to the PowerPoint to use it as a blank canvas for inspiration while designing an Information Literacy session. Ideas, activities and structure were gradually shaped as I was filling in the slides with images, activities and colours.

In this case I decided to do things differently and experiment with a tool called the “Learning Designer”. I had the opportunity to attend a workshop delivered by Patricia The learning Designer applicationCharlton and Liz Masterman, in which all participants brought our thinking about learning designs and lesson planning, and of course used the “Learning Designer” tool (LD in short).

Why I opted for the “Learning Designer” tool

Pedagogic Approach

Despite my long experience in helping Higher Education students to become information literate citizens, I consider myself as a new professional in teaching, mainly because I haven’t been trained to be a teacher. The tool helped me to ensure that the learning activities were designed with pedagogies in mind. It kept me focused on designing with pedagogy theories in mind.

Structure

The tool proved to be very useful for designing a lesson plan in a more structured fashion. I need to admit I like structures because they make expectations and processes clearer. Librarians have been debating on modelling and whether the provision of Information Literacy structures and models is useful or not.  The tool’s aim is designing for learning.

Designing for Learning

This tool helped me retain focus on the learner throughout the design of the session. Instead of only thinking how I am going to teach something, my starting point was how the learners will learn and what kind of activities will ensure that they are learning.

Aligning goals, activities and reflection

While keeping the learner at the centre of my session design, one of my main considerations is how to ensure that my anticipated learning outcomes will be met. The tool helped me align these outcomes to activities that would offer a fertile space for reflection. For each of the activities the tool provided alternative ideas, enhancing the balance between acquisition, inquiry, practice, production and discussion.

Group activity

For example if my initial thought was to provide space for a group discussion, the LD would explain where the emphasis is and how students would use digital tools to get the most out of the activity and interact with digital literacies.

I also realised that a good way for the learners to feel that the designed session was made for them and therefore it’s up to them to get the most out of it, was to provide opportunities for reflection even if that meant we needed to reduce the amount of content.

Get a visual representation of the final product

It is obvious I am in favour of visual aids. I found it very useful that the LD provides a separate screen called “Analysis” where you can see a visual representation of the learning experience.

The “Analysis” provides a graphic representation of the amount of opportunities for acquisition, inquiry, practice, production and discussion the whole session offers the learner.

Visual Analysis of the Learning experience for the "Digital Footprint" lesson plan

Visual Analysis of the Learning experience for the “Digital Footprint” lesson plan

While designing various activities I kept checking whether the opportunities for inquiry and practice were not enough so that I could go back and modify the session by adding more interactivity and space for production (in this case production is the reflection worksheet).

I realised that in order to push the “one-size-fits-all” part to its minimum, I needed to increase the opportunities to bring learners together in groups (social) and for them to "one size fits all"practice individual activities. In theory, it does make sense but how can I minimize the grey “one-size-fits-all” area to meet the needs of mature students who are less confident in group discussions and expect to learn through more didactic approaches of teaching?

Another interesting area was estimating the teacher’s preparation time. The LD can estimate how much time the instructor needs to create the session from scratch and how much they may need if they reuse learning materials. In my “Digital footprint” example, according to the tool I would need 38 hours 12 minutes to prepare everything from scratch or 5 hours and 48 minutes if I was reusing learning materials.

I have to admit that this is another grey area. What do we mean by “reusing learning materials”? Are these our own materials we recycle to serve our purpose or are they OER (Open Educational Resources) which we need to find, evaluate, repurpose and reuse?

If the latter is the case, I actually needed more that the estimated 5 h 12 min to find, repurpose and reuse OER for the specific lesson plan. I also needed more than the estimated time to create the lesson plan from scratch and I am still in the process of refining it. To be honest though, I spent some of my time to get familiar with the software and make sense of the terminology.

Engaging with Open Academic Practice

The LD is an Open Educational Resource (OER) and one of the aims of the creators was to enable educators to share Technology-enhanced learning (TEL) designs and to “complement the value of Open Education Resources”. I am not quite certain how I can share the design of my lesson plan via the LD community but I would like to release it as OER, as a contribution towards my short-term SCORE fellowship.

Designing technology-enhanced learning (TEL)

Talking about digital footprint and digital identity I wouldn’t of course plan a session without engaging learners with digital literacies and technology!

Some of the TEL activities I included are:

  • A web-based reflection worksheet on Google docs
  • A wed-based bookmarking platform for websites only2clicks . Learners will be given a link to visit an online platform where I have saved a collection of website for them to start searching their online identity and footprint.
only 2clicks Bookmarking platform

only 2clicks Bookmarking platform

Detail of plp website for Learners to search their Digital Footprint. The note pops-up when they hover their mouse over the sitcky note icon, to explain why this site was chosen for.

Detail of plp website for Learners to search their Digital Footprint. The note pops-up when they hover their mouse over the sitcky note icon, to explain why this site was chosen for.

The content will include:

  • YouTube and TED videos,
  • Flickr images, and
  • other case studies from online newspapers,
  •  infographics shown statistics and
  • tutorials explaining privacy settings.

What to pay attention to:

  • The current version was designed to serve the needs of the Further Education (FE) curriculum.  Although I practice in Higher Education (HE) I found the tool very useful. You can specify the level of the session you create on the properties screen and choose your desired one from a scale of 1-8. For my Lesson plan on “digital footprint” in the HE context, I chose a level 4, bearing in mind that some of my students will be undergraduates in their first module of studies, without necessarily any prior experience in HE studies.
  • To open the .exe file and use the tool you need to navigate where you have saved the file and find the actual .exe within a folder called bin.

For example:

C:\Documents\Learning Designer\ldfev1.0.2.0419.10.windows\ldfev1\bin

  • You will need to download two more files in order to export your lesson plan as a word document. Make sure you save both files inside the “bin” folder.
  • To use the LD tool make sure you regularly save your work and at the end you export your file before closing the application. (This will have an extension .ldse)
  • In the “Downloads” page of the Learning Designer Support Environment there is an important disclaimer in bold fonts; the tool is still in prototype form and some of the elements may not work properly. In my case, I lost the actual Lesson plan of my session or for some reason the application cannot open it. I was lucky because I had exported the plan in a word document and had taken many screenshots for my microteaching presentation.  It would be fairly easy to re-model my plan by transferring data from my document. So I would personally say that it’s definitely worth playing with the tool but as the Project team advises don’t use it for any work that you can’t afford to lose.”

In my next post I will be talking about the actual microteaching experience and the feedback received from participants.

Resources and further reading:

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Proud MOOCer in the time capsule!

#fslt12 proud MOOCer

Last week’s live microteaching showcase called the end of the “first steps in Learning and Teaching”, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) developed by the HEA/JISC funded OpenLine Project and delivered by Oxford Brookes University.

The Tutor team thanked all the participants for their contributions and I felt like a student at the end of the school year, feeling nostalgia already.

It is interesting because the nostalgia I felt, didn’t take me back to my adult studies and the end of the academic year but in much earlier days when I was a pupil… Being puzzled myself with this feeling from that period, I realized that it certainly relates to my reflecting journey; it took me back to my first schooling experience, especially when I was thinking for the first time what learning is for me and what makes a good teacher.

Going back to these memories I could see myself feeling somewhat relieved and free from studying responsibilities, ready to store my books away, close this chapter and go out with other children in the neighborhood to play for the rest of the summer.  Neither can I forget the nostalgic feeling when the teachers were waving goodbye, wishing us a restful summer. One more year had ended and nothing could turn back the time.

The MOOC proved so very rich experience for me that I feel, even less than a week after, something is missing. It certainly exceeded my expectations.  In the next few posts I will be blogging about my expectations and my microteaching online experience.

___________________

Image Credits: 

“The Proud MOOCer” is derivative work created by Eleni Zazani and shared under a Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-SA. The original, “Scholars in Pyjamas” shared by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com under CC-BY.

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Learn and unlearn …. the Annotated Bibliography

contemplating about an annotated bibliography

Contemplating about how to write an annotated bibliography vs. the ISO guidelines for documentation

Image credits: The background image was taken by me with Canon Powershot SSIS in the jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, a week ago, but the sophisticated blogger was taken and adapted from Mike Licht’s photostream who shared it under CC-BY. The derivative work was produced with Gipm2

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Information obesity, media and other teaching successes! [4]

reflection-in-action

All the previously mentioned questions helped me to engage with the students in a reflective conversation brought up by a “unique and uncertain situation”.  With their answers, I managed to gain confidence, enrich my understanding on the situation and build an atmosphere of trust. As the students had already been in a presentation situation, they knew how it feels to stand in front of an audience and try to manage a situation that didn’t start as planned.

It was very interesting for me to see how their answers helped me re-design the first part of the session. The fact that this “unique” situation helped me to engage with them in a dialogue and turn a passive lecture into a lively discussion was the most valuable experience.

During the session I kept asking myself:

  • Do they learn anything from this situation?
  • Do I help the students take charge of their own learning?
  • Do I challenge their expectations enough so that they reflect on their assumptions?

One of the things I pay particular attention to is the body language. While asking the above questions, I was trying to figure out whether a new meaning occurs through observing the body language of the students.

One of my favorite activities is when all students search Google for a specific term and it turns out that every student gets a different number of results.  In this case the whole class tried their luck while searching for “racism” and initially felt happy with the wealth of results at their disposal, and overwhelmed at the same time. All of a sudden these emotions were replaced by frustration and disappointment!

Can you imagine how it feels to be studying about equality, only to realise that there is no equality in the Information provision!  The students couldn’t believe their eyes and were flabbergasted. They kept looking at their screens again and again and then at the screens of their peers. One of them asked:

“Why am I getting different results from others? Does this mean that there is no equality?”

I felt my job there was done!

Info Iceberg

This drawing on the whiteboard replaced the glossy image of the PowerPoint presentation. Its aim was to explain to the students the concept of the “Deep Web” and the vast amount of information hidden by mainstream search engines.

One of the strong points of the PowerPoint presentation is the use of images aiming to help students imagine, think creatively and to also provide a visual aid to more complex points.

I realised that this situation was not entirely unique. When I prepare a session I always think through all the possible “disasters” and try to have alternative plans. The norm is to experience certain technological difficulties. I need to admit though that I wasn’t prepared for this one. It happened so abruptly that even the technician couldn’t find the corresponding log recorded on the computer to identify the error!

reflection-on-action

ShÖn argues that a “unique and uncertain situation comes to be understood through the attempt to change it, and changed through the attempt to understand it”. (ShÖn, 2009) During the session, I tried to acquire a new meaning with the students in order to change my pattern and to also change a bad day into a successful teaching and learning experience. Would the lesson to be learnt help me change my patterns?

I recall discussions during the SCORE residential course when we tried to identify what makes a good OER (Open Educational Resource). One of the things that struck me was the fact that we don’t need to try to do a perfect job all the time.  OER can be imperfect. The judgement stands to whether it fits to our target audience. It just needs to work for us and the situation. I was surprised by this point as I tend to seek perfection in materials I create and obviously this is something I may need to look at a bit closer.

Thinking about this moment retrospectively, I felt that students paused for a moment when I mentioned that there is no perfection! What would that mean for their assignments? Would they acknowledge the fact that there is always space for improvement and it is OK if we don’t write the perfect essay? Would they have understood that the learning process was meant to make us uncomfortable and it is OK to feel so?

Did they feel that I am also learning?

I was also very pleased to see students taking notes and drawing in their note pads the “information Iceberg”. I have recently noticed that PowerPoint presentations don’t encourage students to note down points of significance to them, although I always encourage them to do so.

colleagues-lens

Despite this “unique” situation I have decided to push my luck a bit; when I met the lecturer of the Sociology group and after I explained my misfortune, I asked her if she could observe my teaching and give me some feedback. As I don’t get the chance of being observed by peers, I saw this occasion as a good opportunity to identify any areas for improvement based not on my assumptions but on the views of an experienced colleague.

The lecturer found the way I turned this situation into a positive learning process very interesting, as well as the way I was paying attention and was listening to the students.

Some conclusions:

Reflecting in-action helped me be more conscious of the present situation. I feel that the ability to observe oneself while fully participating in the learning and teaching process is an art that can be learnt and mastered. It feels as if I had an extra pair of eyes which were objectively (to the extent that this is possible) observing myself and the class.

I also believe that this was the most fulfilling class-experience I have ever been in. The students were totally engaged, talked and reached new meanings.

Due to the pre-during and post reflection process, my experience as a whole was richer and I feel I learnt a few things that I need to work more on, such as:

  • Perfection is just a situation to remind me that there is always room for improvement and indeed, it is really rewarding when after a period of time I can go back to the materials and be able to identify what can be improved.
  • I need to explore how I can make other sessions as interesting as this one, without having to go through a similar stressful situation. In other words, what can I do to connect with the learners so effectively?
  • The overwhelming volume of the Educational theoryThis session was exceptionally delivered in the morning, whereas all my sessions ran during evenings. I noticed that students respond differently between these different times. In this case they came fresh and ready to exercise their brains, whereas in all the other occasions the students rush into the sessions at the end of their day with their minds trapped within the complexity of their life.
The overwhelming volume of the Educational theory
click on the image to visit the original place of the photo
  • What can the learning theories offer to my understanding? For one more time, I realised my urgent need to explore theories but just as I started scratching the surface, I felt overwhelmed by the vast body of knowledge. I don’t know if I should start with early theorists and then explore modern ones so that I can understand the context in which all these theories became important or alternatively start with the ones that interest me. The problem with the latter approach is that all modern and current theorists base their arguments to their predecessors. What would you recommend?

References:

Schon, D. A. (2009). The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Aldershot, Ashgate.

Image Credit: The last image above is a link and not an actual file. It was enitled by the artist Anka Zhuravleva as “the volume with clouds” The link appears on deviantART website.

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