Setting out in December 2016 to provide the first free open online course on mentoring in SIOE our main worry was that if we built it would anyone come. By the start of the SHOOC in January over 400 people had registered from all over the UK.
The success was in part due to the quality of the course team, but what amazed us was the commitment by very busy people to attend (or watch the recordings) the weekly webinars and to contribute to the forums discussing mentoring practice and issues. And the willingness, and generosity, to post tips and ideas to the shared spaces in Twitter, Padlet and Answer Garden. We estimated that the SHOOC would take people about four hours per week but looking at the workbooks produced it is clear that people were willing to invest more than this. Why?
The team mapped the curriculum to the UK National Standards for School-based Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Mentors (2016). In the end 290 workbooks were submitted and 42 people completed all five workbooks and received the digital badges and certificate. This level of participation is in line with practice elsewhere in open online course – there were just over 10% completion of the SHOOC which is above average for this type of delivery. Evaluations of the course showed excellent effect (23%), or very good effect (73%), overall. Against the course objectives the broad indications are shown in the table below.
However it was what people said about the course that pleased us the most and made us feel that our work was worthwhile. Typical was Sarah’s comment: ‘The opportunity to reflect on what mentoring is, why we do it and how we do it has been invaluable in boosting my confidence and in helping me to move forward within my role. Specific examples from case studies and readers have helped me to develop in this area‘ (Sarah Jackson, Wath Comprehensive School). Charlotte saw the course as building her skills and her confidence in mentoring: ‘It has affirmed my ability and improved my own confidence that my practices in mentoring are appropriate and strong‘. (Charlotte Jones, Heritage Park School, Sheffield).
We go again on the 12th June. Come and join us!
Richard is the SHOOC team leader and leads on curriculum development and technology enhanced learning in the Sheffield Institute of Education. He researches the school curriculum and teaching quality in project based learning.