I really enjoyed reading Bill Taylor’s letter to his students about academic integrity. I like the emphasis on a two-way relationship between teacher and learner, based on trust. I agree with the idea that the importance of academic integrity is something that should be promoted at University in preparation for life in general and contributing to a healthy, functional society. This is something I do value in my relationship with my students, and I do have expectations of them and standards for myself when it comes to academic integrity, but I do not make this explicit in the manner that Taylor chooses to. Instead, within each myelearning course shell, I provide them with the University guidelines regarding plagiarism at the beginning of each course (regardless of which year they are in), alongside online resources for how to avoid unintentional plagiarism.
This week in class we discussed using myelearning (moodle) for blended learning. Firstly, I learned what MOODLE actually stands for (Modular, Object-Oriented, Dynamic Learning Environment), and was also introduced to the SEED continuum of online learning, which encompasses all levels of online course, from web-supported, to web-enhanced, web-enabled and finally to web-delivered. Considerable discussion ensued as everyone tried to work out which category each of our own courses would fall into - including me!
As part of our CUTL5106 course, I produced a short screencast for use with my students. This was then shared with three CUTL colleagues for feedback. Here I reflect on how I will use this feedback in the next iteration of my screencast. My draft screencast can be viewed here:
A journal entry from CUTL 5106:
This week in class we talked about approaches for selecting media into our teaching. I have never really considered how I select media, despite frequently incorporating a range into my teaching materials. Currently I feel that my choice of media is largely dictated by two main factors: an ‘instinct’ for what will work for that particular topic (presumably as a result of many different factors), and convenience of use given the limited time and resources I have to prepare my classes. Bates’ SECTIONS model - Students, Ease of Use, Cost/time, Teaching, Interaction, Organisational Issues, Networking, Security/privacy - offers a practical approach to deciding which media to use, which seems a good starting point for becoming more conscious of my choices of media. I am pleasantly surprised that this model, and some of the others that I came across during my reading (e.g. incorporate not just the consideration of the ‘best’ media for teaching, but also place some weight on the practicalities – for example in terms of ease, cost and security concerns.
A journal entry from CUTL 5106:
One of the things I learned about in this unit that has made me reflect most on my teaching practice was Mayer’s Principles of Multimedia Learning (Mayer, 2002; 2005). This consists of a list of twelve principles, based largely on a cognitive approach to learning, that Mayer suggests should be considered when preparing multimedia teaching and learning materials.
A journal entry from CUTL 5106
1. What is YOUR definition of educational technology?
At the start of last week’s class, Dianne asked us to each write down one word or phrase that came to mind when thinking about Educational Technology (ET)’. When we looked at all of the class responses together, it was interesting to see that people tended to either think of specific tools – such as “computers” or “myelearning”, or of the feelings or attitudes they had towards Educational Technology – such as “challenging”, or “enhances learning”.
Strangely, the first thing that sprung to mind for me was “interactive whiteboard”. On reflecting on why this rather random piece of technology was what I thought of, I realised that even though I understand that “technology” spans everything from a pencil to the internet, I still think of it as a physical object or piece of equipment - and primarily as something electronic! I suppose an interactive whiteboard is also a piece of equipment that is specifically designed for use in education, whereas many other technologies that we use in teaching have wider applications. This exercise emphasized that I probably had an overly narrow view of what ET can be, probably because I had not really considered it before.
Bates & Poole (2003) describe ET as “all the components of an integrated system necessary for appropriately using media, tools and equipment for educational purposes”, which is broader than I had previously considered, as “media” implies the actual sources of information, not just the means of communicating it, and “tools” could include the skills and resources needed to use the equipment effectively. This makes sense, given that the word “Educational” can only be applied once the technology is actually being used for educational purposes (i.e. integrated equipment, media and tools), not if it merely has the potential to be used.
It was interesting to hear the perspectives of different lecturers, some of whom debated the need to even have a term such as ET. For me, it seems like a fairly useful way to describe the use of available technology to enhance teaching and learning, in contrast with the other elements of teaching that are more intrinsic to the teacher: style, knowledge, philosophy. Although naturally the two interact.
I have chosen to reflect on last semester’s performance for one of the courses I coordinate and teach: Science Communication.
This first year undergraduate course consists of a combination of lecture and tutorial sessions, although the lecture slots are rarely used for lectures alone. Many guests are invited in during the semester to speak on various relevant topics, usually with an associated activity. The course is assessed by 100% coursework (8 elements).
I recorded a one-hour tutorial slot with my Science Communication students. The class (one stream) consists of about 25 first year undergraduates and takes place in TLC Tutorial Room 4. This recording was taken on 27th September.
This week we learned about the product and process models of curriculum development. The product model was developed by Tyler (1949) and places emphasis on plans, intentions and clear outcomes. The process model, in contrast, emphasizes activities, effects and life skills and tends to encourage more flexible outcomes. In disciplinary groups we discussed which of these two models tended to be more dominant in our programmes. In general, we felt that in the Natural Sciences the approach to curriculum development tends to be based more on the ‘product model’, as there is often a huge amount of information to get across, and much of it isn’t particularly ‘applied’.
This is a place where I can reflect upon both on my teaching experiences as a new lecturer, and on my learning experiences as a student on the Certificate of University Teaching and Learning course.