What is your role as a teacher? Who are your students? What is the context?
My current role as a teacher is in coordinating post graduate certificate courses and subjects in nursing at a private college. My students are nurses with varying ages from across Australia working in metropolitan, rural and remote hospitals and healthcare facilities. They have a range of experience and educational levels, some have Bachelor degrees and others finished school at year 10 and are hospital trained nurses. The courses are online distance education courses using moodle as the current learning management system.
What role does NGL currently play in that context?
With my limited understanding about NGL I would say that currently the role of NGL in this context is limited to asynchronous discussions within the moodle platform. It could also be said that networked learning occurs because there is a group of people who otherwise my not engage with each other engaging in learning on the same topic, while the topic is the same for all students the context in which the learning is applied is different and through sharing the context e.g. how the principles of care planning are applied where they work further learning occurs.
How do you think NGL might help?
I would like to hope that NGL would contribute to increased peer learning and collaboration between students not only during the course but post the course as it would assist in setting up professional networks for the students.
Healthcare, particularly Primary healthcare (one of the courses I coordinate) is dynamic and constantly shifting, at times it is a political hot potato and therefore I think a NGL approach to the course may also assist in keeping it current and relevant to students. It is currently evident that this course which is currently in it’s first year of being run and some subjects have only just commenced the first semester following a 6 month writing process will have resources and information that is out of date within the next 12 months. A NGL approach may have an impact on the ability to keep this course up to date. But I need to know more about NGL before I can make that call.
What difficulties might you face with implementation?
Implementation could be difficult in an institution that is set in it’s ways, requires courses to be approved by a number of committees and appears to have a significant number of staff who lack understanding around teaching in the online environment and the pedagogy of online learning. Contributing to this could also be a lack of knowledge about our students by those developing curriculum.
Integration of new tools into existing systems could also be a stumbling block to implementing NGL.
Current organisational culture could also create difficulties implementing new teaching and learning methods such as NGL. While the organisation says that it is flexible and change able and is going through a phase of change, many of the staff are experiencing change overload and feel that they need a period of consolidation before tackling anything new. Unfortunately when you work in two areas that are very dynamic and going through rapid change phases such as healthcare and education it is difficult to have a consolidation period where there is no change.