Tag Archives: reflection

Engaging online distance students by building learning communities

Helen Donaghue & Helen Thompson

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.3

Short Abstract
Distance students often experience isolation and lack of motivation and instructors designing and delivering online courses also face challenges such as adapting to new learning models, using technologies and supporting and engaging students. This presentation describes how learning communities built for both students and instructors helped address these issues.

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Detailed Outline

This presentation will outline challenges experienced by students and instructors involved in an online distance learning environment. The presenters will describe innovations to an online master’s course which aimed to build a sense of community for distance students. Changes included formalising an orientation package, increasing instructor presence, introducing more interactive and collaborative tasks, exploiting virtual meeting rooms and adding video lectures with embedded tasks. We will also describe how instructors were trained and supported via a community of practice model.

Session participants will have the opportunity to share their own ideas and experiences of engaging online students. The presenters will conclude with recommendations for tutors planning or developing online or blended courses.

293 – Teaching reflection isn’t a science; is it an art? – Richard McCarter, Emma Heron

The teaching and learning of reflection is not a science and the term ‘critical reflection’ is often framed and conceived differently by many tutors and students especially those in a non-vocational setting. This paper explores possible teaching approaches and strategies towards student’s own PPDP and draws on interviews with staff and 2nd year students in the social sciences. Even when the opportunity to encourage students to examine and write critically about their own professional, academic and personal development, tutors are themselves not always active enquirers and may feel challenged by their own role as facilitators.  Equally students feel threatened, distanced or alienated from the reflective process.

The outcomes of our study indicate that students liked the skills element of the module, but declared that they waffled through some areas of an assessed piece of writing when asked to reflect. The study reveals that staff differed in expectations of what represents reflection. A significant outcome of the study suggested that tutors were not reflective practitioners and they lacked a sense of what the reflective process should contain and what or how to promote in the student, critical enquiry and self-reflection.

Larrivee (2000) refers to teachers having an awareness and criticality of their practice and points to the notion of the critically reflective teacher and the ability to have a deep examination of values on action; their own interrogation of practice through critical checks and multiple lenses. Can we teach students reflection without such awareness ourselves? No; in order to teach PPDP effectively, the teacher needs to be (or become) a reflective practitioner.  The paper discusses the tutor’s support role and reviews strategies and approaches to help staff support students undertake a journey of self-discovery and looks at the kind of practitioner that we might become.

283 – Student partnerships and employability: case study of the Course Design Consultancy @ SHU – Manny Madriaga, Luci Cockayne, Andrew Squire, Lizzie Webster, Barbara Gonzalez Jaspe, Neil Morris & Chris Corker

This interactive workshop raises questions about the extent of our partnerships with students in their learning.  How are we ensuring that students are reflecting upon their own professional development in volunteering and/or work-based learning activities?   How transparent are we making the skills and attributes students are developing while working in partnership with academic staff? In pondering these questions, this workshop will include a show-and-share of how students and staff within the institution collaborated on a project to enhance student engagement in the curriculum design process this year.  This institutional initiative, Course Design Consultancy, was supported by the Higher Education Academy’s Students as Partners change programme, which is run in partnership with Birmingham City University.  This presentation highlights how both Venture Matrix™ students and Faculty Student Representatives from the Sheffield Business School were recruited to become course design consultants (CDCs).  It will describe the role of CDCs from students who have taken on this role.  The CDCs will share their experience of working with course leaders and course planning teams to first identify areas of improvement to inform course (re)development.  In addition, the CDCs will share their experience of working alongside their student peers and prepping, organising and running of ‘solution-based’ workshops to develop ideas for course improvement.  CDCs will discuss the work involved, particularly in producing CDC Reports which include recommendations based on student ideas taken from workshops.

263 – Using e-learning to enhance personal and professional development: how reflective blogs can illustrate transformational learning – Emma Taylor, Claire Craig

The module Occupational Approaches to Health   and Wellbeing is a distance learning (DL) module that considers how the   Lifestyle Redesign Model can be applied in the context of health promotion.   The module delivery was structured over five teaching sessions that involved   online collaboration between the students.    The module had a small cohort of 10.
Students were also asked to complete a reflective blog after each session.   The blog was a shared one which allowed other students to read and comment on   it. The students were given directed questions, relating to the session   content, to reflect on in their respective blogs

 Why   did I choose this module?
How does policy impact on both your personal and professional life?
New knowledge and you: has the earning impacted on you personally in any way?
How can you integrate behaviour change principles into your work?
What now? Reflect on your new knowledge both personally and professionally.
What transpired over the period of the module was a clear development of the   students both professionally and personally.

Students consistently applied the principles from some of the sessions to   their work and shared the successes and frustrations of this on their blogs.   Peers offered encouragement via the blogs which initiated further blog   dialogue between the students and supported each other in applying their   learning in practice.

What was particularly interesting was how students started to apply the   theories being taught to their personal lives and also shared these in their   blogs (e.g. joining weight loss programmes). What was apparent was the   support from the other students in making these changes in their lives.   Students that blogged would receive   comments from tutors and students which seemed to motivate them to add   further comments.  The tutor could have   moderated the discussions should this have been necessary.

Student feedback was very positive and so the use of reflective blogs has   been introduced in all the DL modules on the course to help with personal and   professional development.

ref: Cranton (2010) Transformational learning in an online environment. International Journal of Adult Vocational Education & Technology 1(2). 1-9.

 263 Using e-learning to enhance personal and professional development

251 – Peer-Support, Peer-Feedback and Self-Reflection in Assessment – Alison Purvis

Strand: Technology Enhanced Course

Anticipated outcomes: An approach to online peer-supported assessment will be presented and the value of peer-support and peer-feedback will be discussed.

Session outline (or abstract): Assessment is often the driving force for learning and student engagement (Taras 2002).  The alignment of learning activities to assessment outcomes can increase the perceived value of those activities. A level 6 blended learning module (Applied Physiology of Sport Performance, Department of Sport, Faculty of Health and Wellbeing), was developed from a “little-and-often” assessment model to a 2-task model in response to changes in assessment regulations and policies.  The regulatory changes allowed the module teaching team an opportunity to review of the learning, teaching and assessment strategy in the module and as a result significant changes were made to both delivery and methods of assessment. The place of the module within the course and the connections between students as members of a course were also considerations of the module redesign. One of the two assessment tasks was specifically designed to encourage both face-to-face and virtual connections between student course-mates.  A combination of face-to-face groups and online peer-support and feedback groups were implemented as mechanisms to engage the cohort of 74 students with assessment and to increase student collaboration and communication (Boud, Cohen and Sampson 1999).  Following the peer-support and feedback, students engaged in a reflection of their experience which was included within their assessment submission.  Towards the end of the module delivery, students were also asked for their feedback on the peer-support activity (38 responses).  The staff and student experience of the changes in learning, teaching and assessment in the module will be presented.

BOUD, David, COHEN, Ruth and SAMPSON, Jane (1999). Peer learning and assessment. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 24 (4), 413-416.

TARAS, Maddalena (2002). Using Assessment for Learning and Learning from Assessment. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 27 (6), 501-510.

Session activities for engagement: Opportunities for discussion will be encouraged during and following the presentation.

Click to view presentation:  251 Peer-Support & Self-reflection in Assessment

2012 How do you grow yourself? A study of students’ learning behaviours and matters relating to personal development in a module on career management

Richard McCarter and Emma Heron

This session examines student and staff experience of personal development through an employability and career management skills module. The module covers 2 semesters and the first semester deals with theoretical aspects of work and the workplace combined with reflection on learners’ work related experiences. The second semester (from which this paper is largely derived) focuses on career management strategies and is designed to be practically-based, raising students’ levels of self awareness in relation to their own career management needs and necessitating reflection and action on personal attributes.  The student is thus challenged on many different levels: pedagogically through less conventional delivery of teaching and assessment tasks and a heavy emphasis on reflection; personally through the need to embrace the idea of a curriculum that is not an easy fit with their own definition of academic study;  professionally, through the need to accept the reality of an increasingly unpredictable and competitive employment future.  For the teacher of career management, these challenges translate into a polarity of student response; a core of ‘converted’ (where engagement with the module, including the assessment task, is regarded as positive and worthwhile) versus a group of largely unconvinced sceptics, where attitude, attendance and reflection are influenced, and where engagement is at best reluctant, at worst non-existent.

An evaluation was conducted to gain a broad view of student experience, with a questionnaire delivered in a mid-semester lecture, followed by one to one structured interviews with ‘converts’ and ‘sceptics’ alike (the latter through snowballing techniques in order to capture the views of non-attendees).   Submitted webfolios by the students have also been evaluated. One-to -one discussions with teaching staff have been carried out.

The results contribute to a debate for practitioners and academics on the aspects of embedding employability into the curriculum and teaching career management.  Encouraging students to confront, realise and evaluate overtly their own ‘deficiencies’ and/or strengths through structured and less conventional lecture and seminar formats,  class/shared activities and a sense of being challenged, demands personal learning .  Does it work? How does reflection help or hinder?

Questions raised in interviews and data collected from e-portfolios and the module evaluation draw on 3 key areas –

  • an increase of students’ self-awareness of employability either through the  module activities and by undertaking the assessment
  • how reflection and reflective practice augmented students’ understanding of personal development
  • tutors’ and students’ perceptions of the emphasis on work related experiences, lectures and seminar contact time, rather than content delivered through technology (Blackboard and Pebblepad) 

Schön, D, A. (2009)  The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action.

Qualitative Social Work 2009 vol. 8 no. 1 124-129

Ehiyazaryan, E. and Barraclough, N. (2009) Enhancing employability: integrating real world experience in the curriculum. Education and Training. 51 (4), pp292-308. Available from: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=0040-0912

Dacre Pool, L. and Sewell, P. (2007) The Key to Employability. Developing a practical model of graduate employability. Education and Training. 49 (4), pp277- 289. Available from: http://www.uclan.ac.uk/information/uclan/employability/careeredge.php

Zepke, N and Leach, L. (2010) Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action. Active Learning in Higher Education 11(3) 167–177

Click to presentation:  How do you grow yourself? A study of students’ learning behaviours and matters relating to personal development in a module on career management

A4 – (FU37, FU05) 11.00

2012 Independent study in occupational therapy

Petra Klompenhouwer

Based on student feedback and driven by the changes in health and social care provision the independent study in occupational therapy module has undergone change.

Students for years complained about staff inconsistency in the support of this module. This has been addressed by the formation of a small team of staff working closely together.

Instead of writing a report and reflection on their experiential learning students now prepare their own learning objectives, engage in experiental learning, write a business proposal and reflection. Developing their business and entrepreneurial skills and in the process improving their employability.

Future plans involve the engagement of the Venture matrix in helping students find experiential learning opportunities, offer international exchanges via Erasmus and other means, engaging the business school in the writing of the business proposal, developing a database of clinical questions for students to engage in.

C1 EX15 2012 LTA Conf IS

C1 – (EX15, EX13, EX18, EX04) 14.20

2012 What alternatives are available when placement opportunities are limited?

Chris Hill

CANCELLED

Facing a reduction in opportunities for direct placement experience, it is difficult to maintain a dissemination of that experience throughout Built Environment undergraduate cohorts. However, using student presentations of the learning outcomes individually identified with their experience can allow all students to gain a wide variety of current practices in their chosen field. The expectations of students on vocational courses includes a thorough preparedness to enter the ‘world of work’, the correlation with this from employers expectations brings employability to the centre of the curriculum. The divide between notional academic and work related realms is seen to be artificial: the academic work reflects the workplace; the workplace develops the academic disciplines. The opportunity to experience the variety of the workplace, from the professional practice in London to the Local Authority in Derbyshire, the subcontractor in Rotherham to the Olympics village project, is hugely valuable to the student. Few individuals, beyond the tutor, can hope to visit all these first hand, but by allowing the whole cohort to witness the presentations made by returning students, the whole cohort can be exposed to the experience, described from a first hand and student perspective. The variety of experiences presented helps all students, those who have gained experience and those who have not had that opportunity. This benefit is seen in development of interpersonal skills such as reflection and communication. 

Experience of undergraduate Built Environment disciplines in combining explicit links between learning outcomes and professional body requirements has maintained an academic and professional standard for this practice. Cumulative academic conference publication supports the scholarly nature of this work.

C1 – (EX04, EX13, EX15, EX18) 14.20