Reflections on NGL and me as a teacher

While I have very much been focused on me as a learner and student so far in this course I have started to think about myself as a teacher.

Currently I teach in an environment which while providing online post graduate education I feel is not very connected and networked in it’s approach.In many respects the courses are straddling the chasm between the paper based distance education of old and the online education on offer now, there is one foot in the old world and one in the new. This may be because of numerous factors that could include infrastructure and limitations related to staff knowledge and experience.

I however am not one to sit idly by and go with the flow (at least not most of the time), in fact I am probably the opposite (and this can sometimes get me in trouble). I love the challenge of identifying something we could do better and come up with solutions to improve the process or outcome. So what does this mean for me as a teacher in relation to NGL?

Firstly it means that if I want to take the concepts of NGL and implement them into my teaching I am going to need to tread carefully and perhaps take a phased approach. The courses I teach into and the culture in which I teach I don’t believe would allow for a networked and global approach such as I have experienced in this course however there are elements of this course that I think would enhance the learning and engagement of students therefore improving the level to which my teaching and the students learning meets the courses graduate outcomes.

One of the elements I would love to trial in my courses is blogging. Currently the students participate in alot of forums. These were introduced to increase engagement by students and while engagement has increased it is limited and often the questions used do not allow for discussion they are more about reflection. When I have previously broached the idea of using the blogging feature on the LMS I was met with resistance and reluctance but my experience with blogging in this course (my first foray into this area) has been really positive and I can see some benefits for my students by using blogs. While I know there are going to be some downsides and perhaps some anxiety and reluctance from tutors and students I think with the right support the benefits will outweigh the negatives.

Another aspect of this course which has me facinated and excited about the impact it could have on my teaching is the automated marking that David has developed for assignment 1. In the courses I currently teach the forums the students participate in are graded for both content and engagement according to a rubric. I must say that grading these discussions is a time consuming and tedious process considering that they are usually worth 10-15% of the overall course grade for 3-4 discussion forums. Now I definately don’t have the tech knowledge to do that I have had some peliminary discussions with a colleague who does and we are going to explore the idea of a more automated marking process further but it is one of those things that is far off in the distance as far as achieving it is concerned.

Deb’s post Student views on networked learning has added further fuel to the fire as it got me thinking about particular issues I have in some of the subjects and gave me ideas for potential solutions using a networked approach. In one of my courses students complete 80 hrs of clinical placement in the nursing specialty in which they are studying, these placements are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain and the professional body associated with the course would like to double the amount of clinical placement. One of the ideas that has been floating around is to increase the number of professional activities the students engage in as part of the course but how do we do that? The video in Deb’s post has given me some ideas as to the types of activities to include eg. interviewing and developing a mentor relationship with a current specialist nurse, attending professional association meetings etc. and then blogging about these experiences, also about adding more collaborative activities to the courses to assist student in developing their own professional networks as many of the students don’t remain in contact once they finish the course.

I am not sure how these activities will go and there are significant internal issues that I will need to overcome but I am excited to give them a go because the current student experience is not adequate.

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4 thoughts on “Reflections on NGL and me as a teacher

  1. […] was reading Musette‘s post today and it got me thinking that some schools or heads of department might be quite […]

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  2. […] agree with Musette’s suggested approach where she is exploring the possibilities of some incremental implementation in her teaching […]

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  3. […] a post titled Reflections on NGL and me as a teacher in my blog I alluded to the fact that teaching my students to do the dance was going to require me […]

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  4. A late comment. Did I read that your organisation uses Moodle? Or did I read that somewhere else (sorry been marking all week and it’s a bit of a blur). If you are, there might be some features or plugins available for Moodle that will help with auto marking of discussion forums. If you ever want to go down the route of using individual student blogs, then you might be interested in BIM. It’s a module for Moodle that I use to manage the blogs for EDU8117 and my other course (Disclaimer: I’m also the creator of BIM and it’s by no means a perfect solution).

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