Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Flexibility within pedagogical categories

Carrying on from the previous post, I'm now going to discuss the next section of the chapter that has had some relevance to me. Collis has described 6 different pedagogical categories that flexibility may be extended within, and WWW-based applications that may be used to do this.

1. Course Organisation

It's suggested that a course calender is available on the web so that it can be accessed at all times.
  • We're doing that already, but there needs to be some limitation placed on updates to the calender - "Items on the course calender will not be changed unless they are more than 1 week in the future" or something similar

2. Lectures, Contact Sessions

It's suggested that highlights of lectures are captured as digital video and made available as video-on-demand, synchronised with lecture notes for students who are not physically present. While this is a fantastic idea for distance students, there are some issues that present immediately to me.
  • New Zealand's data communication infrastructure is not really up to the task of supporting streaming video
  • The process suggested above entails considerable development time for the lecturer on top of the time which they are taking to support the physical class.

It's suggested that follow-up reflections or questions can be posted and responded to at times that suit the individual student (e.g. the use of discussion boards)

  • I think this is potentially a very useful method of communication, however I have the impression that there's a fair amount of skill involved in managing a disucssion board, and am somewhat nervous about placing anything of signficicance into this context. I'll do it though, as in my experience jumping in the deep end is often the best way of learning.

3. Self-study, assignments

It's suggested that study materials are expanded to incorporate web-based media, and that students may be involved with this process.

  • We already bring our students attention to many web-based resources that we know of, but we probably could use these quite a bit more actively
  • I'm intending to get our students building a library of resources using from the 2nd term this year. We've put some time aside in the first term for students who are not particularly computer savvy to upskill themselves, and I imagine most of them should be up to using from term 2
  • Collis suggests collaborative assignments where students contribute resources to a web-space. If student's work was tagged to identify it I could see this being a beneficial learning experience for some areas of our course. The main problem that I see is that the students would need to learn how to use another software package. I come back to it again - how much time should I expect my students to put into development of skills that they are not directly related to the primary reason they are studying? (i.e. massage therapy practice)
  • Collis doesn't mention the creation of teaching resources. I see real potential in this area. It seems to me that the interactivity that can be provided by electronic media can potentially facilitate a much richer and more effective learning experience for some subject areas. I've started developing some on-line exercises for material that was previously taught in the classroom but should be more effective when students engage with it in an interactive fashion. I'm also interested in developing some e-resources which are fairly visual in nature, but am aware that this type of development will take considerable time. Perhaps this is a project which can be tackled once the online programme is up and running.

4. Major Assignments

The suggestion is that groups could operate within a shared workspace.

  • I'm not quite sure of how this would work, or what resources are available to facilitate this.

5. Testing

It's suggested that formative tests are made available with feedback provided relative to the answers the student chooses.

  • This kind of testing is a useful function of Blackboard. Some of the teaching resources I mentioned earlier that I am in the process of developing are this type of resource.

6. Mentoring, Communication

It' s suggested that the web-centre for the course can potentially provide an easy way to send emails out to course participants.

1 comment:

bronwyn said...

Hello Dave
you bring up a good point about limiting changes to the calendar and in having some rules around it. I agree bandwidth for streaming video is a tricky one - small clips of a few minutes work well. lectures on the other hand can work well on a DVD = we have an example you could look at - this sort of resource is great for students on-campus who want to review a lecture or happened to miss it. Then of course lecturers can get anxious about standing in front of an empty lecture theatre - not usually a worry if the lecture is interesting and interactive because students like to be part of a group in my experience and also like the first hand experience where possible.
I love that you are going to use with your students - it is also aan easy way fro you to monitor their explorations and interest in the topic.