Monthly Archives: December 2016

Lessons learnt and future directions

This course was not at all what I expected, or maybe I didn’t know what to expect. I signed up for the course because it was about online learning, which I knew very little about, and because it promised interaction with other teachers from other subject areas and even countries. And I did get to learn about online courses and interact with several other teachers from completely different backgrounds.

But that’s far from everything I will take with me from this course. Since I didn’t know much about online learning before I took the course, the most important thing I learned was how big and diverse the online learning world is. Since my course is not suitable to move online, I will not be making any large changes in the layout of the course, but I got many good new ideas about ways to improve the learning environment for my students. For example, how useful a good facilitator can be. In my teaching, I could use olders students as facilitators and to motivate the students to appreciate the material and understand its importance in future studies and their career. Another example is the use of open access videos to start the students to think about a topic and get interested in it. To me, learning is about reading a book or article, but I realize that students today get information from many other resources. As educators, we can pretend that students do not change and thereby placing ourselves in another world than that of the students. Or we can adapt to the changes and help the students to become digitally literate, and to use the web in a manner that we find acceptable and that will foster deep and meaningful learning. I didn’t expect to learn about open resources during this course, but that was very helpful to me. I had no idea about the rules and regulations regarding this. Now I feel much more confident with what I can and cannot use, and I realize that sharing my own material isn’t as bad as I thought previously.

As I have read in many other blogs from other students taking this course, the major limit to using what we learned in the course is time. It takes time to search through open access material to see what I can use for my course; it takes time to implement changes in courses; it takes time to share material in open access. However, I think that it will be worth it. Reading other blogs and interacting with the other students of ONL162, especially those in my PBL group, has made me think about several ways that I can improve my course with the use of online tools.

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Reflections on topic 4 – how can I use what I learned?

When I reflect on how I have designed the course that I teach, I realize that we have, to a large part, used constructive alignment (Biggs 1996) without even thinking about it. Constructive alignment is, to me, the core in designing courses for deep learning. That there should be an alignment between planning, designing learning outcomes, deciding learning and teaching activities, and determining which assessment to use seems quite obvious, but unfortunately this is not always, or even seldom, the case in higher learning. Other frameworks, such as that of Gilly Salmon or the ADDIE model, use the same theory. To me, there is really no difference between designing a traditional or online course in this regard – the course should be designed to match the previous knowledge and purpose of the students, and teaching activities and assessments should match the learning objectives.

I can see several advantages of adding an online component to my own course:

  • the students can join teaching activities from home,
  • future work places will require online meetings,
  • students learn to collaborate with others without meeting face-to-face,
  • students today are brought up in an online environment and feel “at home” with technology.

The idea of blended learning appeals to me as it allows students to practice face-to-face meetings but also allows for time to reflection in text-based communication (Vaughan 2013). My course is for medical students that in addition to learning anatomy, histology and physiology also need to practice face-to-face interaction with other human beings since this will be a large part of their future career. With that said, this group of students cannot go to an online learning environment alone.

After the ONL course, I have two concrete examples that I will use in my own teaching:

  1. The use of chats or videos to initiate a topic (stage 1 Gilly Salmon). I believe that this could help my students to become interested in a topic and to start reading the texts that we want them to read.
  2. We have a lot of group work that sometimes doesn’t work as well as it should. I found that throughout this course, the use of a facilitator for each group can help to motivate all group members to contribute and to catch issues before they become big problems.

 

 

 

References

Biggs, J. Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. High Educ (1996) 32: 347.

jclarkgardner (2011, June 11) ADDIE Model Instructional Strategies [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL20E84CD77B301A20

Salmon, G (2013) The Five Stage Model. Retrieved 2016 November 8 fromhttp://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage-model.html

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press. Chapter 1 “Conceptual framework”. PDF available here