Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Future skills

It is not always immediately obvious to my students (or to my friends & colleagues) why I like to use internet based tools for research, presentations and portfolios in my teaching. Many I am sure think I spend all day wasting my time on Google+ and Twitter. Others regard the tools I use as a form of modern day magic and treat them and me with a mixture of awe and fear - then promptly turn away and get back to business as usual. It can be a bit lonely and a bit disheartening (if it wasn't for my virtual personal learning networks that is ☺). It is nice then to come across a piece of work that explains exactly why it IS worth trying to engage with the weird and wonderful world of the web.

Future Work Skills 2010 describes 6 key skills that tomorrow's employees are going to need.

  • Sense-making: ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
  • Social intelligence: ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
  • Novel and adaptive thinking: proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based
  • Cross-cultural competency: ability to operate in different cultural settings
  • Computational thinking: ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning
  • New media literacy: ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication
  • Transdisciplinarity: literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
  • Design mindset: ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes
  • Cognitive load management: ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques
  • Virtual collaboration: ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team

It is interesting that my journey into teaching with web 2.0 began with an exploration of Virtual Collaboration - leading virtual teams and developing the skills needed to operate in them. It was a reality of working life for the students I taught in the Scottish Health Service. More and more Health and Social Care  organisations everywhere are tuning into the power of social media to transmit health messages. The other skills mentioned, it could be argued, are developed using a range of teaching and assessment activities in traditional University teaching, but what is interesting is the focus on using tools for Cognitive Load Management. That is exactly what bookmarking sites like Diigo are designed to do and of course it is also what the PLE is all about. 

So, despite the obstacles, technical and psychological that I often run into, I think  Keep Calm and Carry On is my message to myself for 2012. 

Sunday, 18 December 2011

VLE wrangling - again....

I love my VLE, no honest, I do! It has all sorts of lovely features which I am still getting to grips with and I have not given up on it entirely - I intend to try out some new tips and tricks which I learnt at our recent staff development day. But I also get damned annoyed with certain little issues which irritate and sometimes totally confound students.

Things like links not working properly or having to download stuff when you want to view it, or only being able to view stuff when you want to download it. I don't pretend to understand what goes on under the bonnet so I resort to all sorts of inventive and long winded workarounds.

And then there is this lovely little facility that allows me to link a "Learning Room" to an external url, so now I am rebuilding a lot of content into a wiki which students can access from the VLE. Why? Well, a) it is a damn sight more attractive b)it allows for student contribution and collaboration (it's a wiki after all) c) links are clearly links to external websites and not previews d) lots of yummy widgets available without lengthy and unstable workarounds.

I just hope the students like it....

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Can we diigo it?

I made this Prezi for an in house staff development conference at the end of the autumn term. 8 people showed up (about average for other sessions I went to at the same conference). Undaunted, I tweeted it and 270+ others have now viewed it. I really, really, really love throwing social networking into the HE mix :)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Great Expectations Part 2

Well after a traumatic week of IT "failures" I thought I should report back on the great Diigo social bookmarking experiment.

Firstly - technical: our IT department are investigating the fatal mix that is IE7 and Diigo and "will get back to me". Fortunately for my credibility, the same browser freezing happened when they tried it!

Secondly - the students' reactions: I met up with a small group in another seminar and asked how they had found the IT session. They shrugged, said everything was fine and they had got on with the task quickly and efficiently. They didn't find downloading Chrome a chore and thought Diigo was possibly quite useful.

Thirdly- activity on the Diigo group: 75 out of the 103 students on the course are now members. During the introductory sessions students added some additional links they had researched. The original library has doubled in size. Some joined the site over the weekend and continued to add links (following instructions I had provided in the form of Jing screencasts). Some have added a couple of things into their own libraries, but all of this activity is still limited to the focus of our current assignment. What I hope to see over the coming weeks and months is continued use of the site for saving bookmarks related to other modules.

So maybe not such a disaster after all but whether this proves to be a really useful tool for the students is another question......

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Great Expectations

I have been putting off writing this post all day. Maybe I just had a couple of bad sessions (OK, four bad sessions) but as I see my modest plans (for incorporating social bookmarking into my study skills module) crash and burn, all I really want to do is sit in a corner and weep.

Firstly, trying to demonstrate the beauty of Diigo using the university's PCs in our IT suites failed at the first hurdle - Internet Explorer. For some unfathomable reason, the web browser freezes as soon as Diigo loads. (This doesn't seem to happen off campus).

After a wasted hour with my first group of by now rather bored and cynical students, I managed to work around this by getting the next group to spend the first few minutes of the session downloading Google Chrome, but really - should I have to?

I am trying to look on the bright side - hey! I have by now introduced some 50 students to the joys of Chrome! And most of these have now also joined Diigo, managed to handle bookmarking - and even highlighting and sticky notes using the lovely Diigolet for Chrome.

But there is more. I am witnessing, right in front of me, the workings of the digital divide.The thing is that these groups include international students, "mature" students and those with dyslexia and other difficulties. The 18 year old, straight from A levels, UK born students generally whizzed through instructions in seconds and had installed Chrome, Diigolet and highlighted their first webpage whilst I was still showing our "non traditional" students how to search for the download.

(I should also acknowledge that some new students - including the digital "residents" - have still not been able to find lecture notes on the VLE!)

Over the next few weeks, I will continue to monitor the students' use of Diigo (and the VLE come to that) to see how things progress.

It has been a salutary lesson for me, though what exactly it all means is maybe too early to tell.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Thinking Ahead

In another great centrally driven initiative, all programmes were told this year that they had to produce a pre-induction activity for prospective students. Actually I do agree that some sort of engagement with students prior to starting their studies is a great idea, I just dislike central, marketing driven initiatives that sneak up on you without warning....

Earlier in the Spring I had listened to our acting Dean talking about the importance of careers education starting as early as possible in a student's university life and so - Hey Presto! - these two great ideas collided in my head and my pre-induction activity became a "career investigation" website.

I based it on a wiki and started with grandiose ideas about getting students to collaborate or at least start discussions with one another. Then I chickened out and opted for straightforward information-giving with a structured activity culminating in the completion of an answer sheet which they could print off and bring to Induction Week.

The activity directed them to four skills sector websites which guided prospective employees through interactive quizzes to find the most suitable career or provided detailed information about a wide range of roles. In addition I posted links to some of the main charities who represent the types of care users our students will most likely come into contact with. (This idea came from another colleague and I think it really added a helpful dimension to the site).

Finally, I gave them a few contact points for the course, including a Facebook page which our student mentors had set up for them (no staff involved!).

As I was using Wikispaces I found it fairly easy to monitor site hits and views by individual user. We were averaging about 8 or 9 people a day visiting with a peak of 125 views. The night before the course induction we had 40 visitors and 450 views!

The Facebook site was slow to take off but by the time Induction week came along 28 students had joined up.

On the big day I collected in 25 completed answer sheets - out of around 90 students who attended my session.

On the whole I am pretty pleased with the level of response - particularly as this is my first attempt, but obviously I'd like to work on getting an even larger % take up next time!

In terms of the answer sheets that were returned, the first couple of questions asked them to say which jobs most interested them and which least.

(I should explain ours is a BA (Hons) Health and Social Care and we have "pathways" in criminal justice, counselling, communities and policy/leadership)

I was not surprised to find that most wanted to be Social Workers. The next most popular sector was criminal justice, followed by counselling, advice and mental health and finally other types of social care workers.

The most gratifying part of the feedback came in answer to the question "what did you learn from looking at the websites?"

Almost all responded that they had been surprised and pleased at the wide variety of roles on offer in the health and social care sector. Many had not considered a clinical role but some of our graduates do go on to train to be nurses, midwives, Occupational Therapists etc.

One responded that they felt sure they were on the right degree course because of the choice of pathways available given that they were still undecided about their ultimate career direction.

Another question focused on what further qualifications or experience they would need to reach their career goals. Some made quite detailed replies demonstrating that they had researched this thoroughly and all seemed to have a realistic sense of what they needed to do beyond graduation.

Some of my colleagues disagree vehemently with the idea of embedding careers planning in our curriculum arguing that this is not the university's primary function. On the other side of the argument, students themselves seem to want to be better prepared to get a decent job at the end of their university course and employers are looking to us to provide them with graduates who are savvy about the world of work.

Is it right that we talk to students at this early stage about careers? Are we encouraging them to see education only as something instrumental in getting a job? What about the joy of learning for its own sake? Or is that a luxury only those of us already in employment and who got our degrees in the time of local education authority grants, can afford to entertain?

I certainly feel I owe a duty of care to my students to give them the best possible chance of success in the job market and if realising that their education can help them achieve that success makes them a little bit more appreciative of the course they chose, or makes them want to do well in their studies because they know that will also help them in the long term, then that is no bad thing either.

(image Laenulfean)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Ready Steady Go!

Image: nicecliparts.com

Getting ready for the new term this weekend. I have a number of fears and quite a lot of excitement.

It is exciting to be meeting new students but I am scared because this year our first year students number 110.... and I will be teaching a first year module single handed...

I am excited because this year I get to design and structure modules which last year I took over from someone else with no time to reorganise them.

I am very scared of the new institutionally imposed deadline of 15 days in which to turn around all my marking.....

But I am excited about some of the new tools I am going to be using with my students. In the study skills module I am going to be introducing Evernote as a convenient storage and organising platform, Diigo for bookmarking and sharing resources, Google Sites for creating an e-portfolio.

I have just been setting up some online polls for my introductory/welcome session with the first year students using Poll Everywhere..... get your smart phones out!! I saw a demo of this last week in a staff training session and I think it is brilliantly simple and a great way to get nervous new students to interact with each other (and with me) during their induction. The free plan only allows 30 users so I plan to get them to work in small huddles and post multiple responses.

I was really inspired last week by the Guardian's seminar on using social media to enhance the student experience. So many great ideas for engaging students and enhancing teaching and learning - I particularly liked Alan Cann's ideas about using Google+ and that is something else I might consider introducing at some point - as a platform for micro blogging and sharing learning.

I am beginning the year with a survey designed to find out my students' current confidence with internet based tools. I hope in this way to be able to have a point of comparison so I can show some enhancement in this area by the end of the year.

One of the positives of being forced into tighter marking timescales is that I am having to get creative about setting assignments and giving feedback. I find it much easier to grade very tightly structured work, so am using templates for major pieces of work like reflective portfolios and am going to be experimenting this year with a grading "matrix" like this example.
I will continue to review this and also students' reactions - do they want formulaic feedback in 15 days or something more detailed a week or two later? I am sure many just want their grade, but we are also trying to get them to "engage with feedback", apparently.....

Well, there are probably enough (maybe too many) objectives there for the coming year. I'll continue to post about how it all goes..... (this is why teachers should have blogs)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

the alternative ALT-C 2011

NTU City Campus, Nottingham

Yesterday I attended a learning and teaching conference at my university in the College of Arts and Sciences. I love these sorts of events - brimming with ideas from people who want to improve their practice and - better still - having put the time and energy into passing on tips to colleagues.

Occasionally it is nice just to hear that other teaching staff are struggling with the same dilemmas or thinking along similar lines. Sometimes I garner nuggets of wisdom and sparkling innovation.

So in the spirit of sharing, here are some of the things I enjoyed.

Keynote speaker was Aaron Porter. He used a useful analogy in talking about students as consumers. being a "consumer" of a university education is not like buying a new HD TV set from a high street store, rather it is like taking out a gym membership. You expect a good level of service and all the right equipment to hep you get fitter, but if you don't put the effort in, nothing changes. And there are differences - you can't get your money back for a poor educational experience and it is very difficult to just pack up and decide to take your custom elsewhere.

Food for thought too in some of the findings from the National Student Survey - for example, that students generally are not told what criteria is used to mark their work but would like to be involved in designing it. That they rate teaching quality as low but don't know much about how their University is rated in terms of it. That students don't know what happens to the feedback they give in module evaluation forms, and that some would like to be more involved in course and curriculum design.

Other great ideas from the day include a wiki set up as a pre induction activity for design and technology teaching students. I was particularly interested in this as I have done the same for my course but with a lot of trepidation. I was impressed that the tutors had managed a 80% uptake in the first year and that the wiki had had strong interactive and socialisation properties. In my wiki attempt I had initially decided against getting prospective students to join up and post discussions, fearing they would find it daunting, but I had directed them to a student-led Facebook page. In reality my wiki functions as a web site that encourages them to undertake a bit of research and download an answer sheet which they can bring to the face to face induction, but the School of Education pre-induction wiki seemed to have a very powerful impact on student engagement. They also continued to use the wiki for collaborative group work  in key level 1 activities, which is also something I could consider as I will be teaching study skills to the same group (and indeed, teaching them how to use social networking tools....)

More on the study skills front and a presentation from the School of Arts and Humanities about developing writing skills using very structured exercises - in pairs or small groups,  to increase confidence. So now I am thinking about how this could be developed using the wiki.....hmmm

Over lunch I was discussing the issue of feedback and in particular the new 15 day turnaround deadline being introduced (something which has also emerged from the NUS Student Experience report is that students want faster feedback) It seems that we are going to have to get creative about assessment and feedback methods - interim feedback which is generic and delivered verbally, for example, with marks to follow.

I have been working on a mark sheet which is pre-loaded with grade descriptors specific to the learning outcomes for the task, in a matrix format - similar to this one. This would certainly make criteria very transparent, going back to Aaron Porter's point, and make marking quicker.

Finally, a session on professional tutoring for trainee teachers. Tutorials are being re-introduced and formally timetabled and as one of the staff who will be involved in managing tutorial groups for first year students, I was interested in hearing how this was working. Obviously there are workload and staffing issues to be resolved to make this a reality but case studies presented by the staff in the School of Education showed how the system could support students to improve grades, make the transition between levels, and link theory to practice during work placements. Students do value individual tutorials especially - and it is another great place for giving feedback on assessment - but we should also consider peer support networks and tutorial groups.

So I may have missed out on ALT-C this year, but I have nonetheless come away refreshed and inspired and ready to start the new term!

Sunday, 4 September 2011



I love this idea: and for those who think this is lazy teaching , try it sometime.....

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Skills for study

oh where to begin......?!?!??

I took over leadership of the study skills module this year and began by proposing a few tweaks. Now I am heading for revolution (shakes head in despair).

The modest proposal I first mooted was to change the first assignment for this module from a paper-based journal/photocopying and note-taking exercise into an online search terms/ database accessing exercise, with online submission via the VLE. So far so 21st C.

But still I wasn't happy. Yes I need to show first year students how to use library catalogues and e-searching techniques, but surely they need more? What about social bookmarking as a place to save their web searches?

And instead of a final portfolio in a Word document, how about an e-portfolio? a wiki? a blog?

And if I am going to start telling them about these tools and introduce them to Twitter along the way - well, am I not I really on the verge of describing a PLE???????

So my question is this: is it appropriate to introduce Year 1 students to these tools - will they get it? will they be bored already? will it be just too different given that 99% of the rest of their studies will be based on using libraries, text books, the VLE and handing in their work at 2pm on a Friday afternoon after a lengthy queue to get to the reception window.......

Or are these actually essential life skills?

Anyway I have now pretty much decided on a way forward and though I take this route with some misgivings, I will be blogging as a I go and reflecting on how it turns out.

Last year the task for the first assignment in Term 1 was to find, then contrast, two or three articles on a topic chosen at random from a current issue of a health and social care journal. I then discovered that they do a nearly identical assignment for a different module in Term 1 and another also pretty similar for yet another module at the start of Term 2. I don't feel the task on my module is really adding anything to their learning about techniques for study and writing at HE level.

So this year I have decided to give them as a topic the use of social networking tools for study/learning in higher education. This fits well with some of the key texts we look at in relation to study at HE - for example Study skills for social workers - Stogdon, Chris, Kiteley, Robin, 2010

I have already done some research and put some useful articles in a Diigo group they will be asked to follow/join/add to and I will spend some time talking about and demonstrating this site and a variety of other tools - blogs, Twitter, Google sites, wikis, slideshare, iGoogle etc, which they might want to use to start to build their Personal Learning Environment.

I feel like I am stepping into the unknown: but on my side is my passion and my practical experience of using these tools myself for my own learning and I also know I'll have my personal learning NETWORK to fall back on for advice and support :)

Wish me luck!

Reasons to be blogging - Part 1

Yesterday in the course of doing a bit of preparation for next year's modules (or should that be the modules that start in less than 2 months???), I came across this interesting bit of research on motives for blogging.

Motives for Maintaining Personal Journal Blogs Erin E. Hollenbaugh, Ph.D in the journal Cyberspace, Behaviour and Social Networking (where else?) Vol 14 No 1-2 2011

Basically motives for blogging divide into:
  • Helping/Informing
  • Passing the time
  • Exhibitionism
  • Archiving/organizing
  • Professionalism
  • To get feedback
I started blogging to archive and organize my reflections on learning as a PGC(H)E student; I was encouraged to do this by Richard Hall , but I continued in an effort to bring some additional resources to the attention of my distance learning students.

I think the first of these reasons still holds true for me as I tend now to use my blog as a place to try out ideas - and to keep a record of them - so that at the end of the year I can reflect on how my plans turn out.

I now include a Twitter feed on my blog which adds a bit more of the helping/informing dimension as the feed is from key players in the health and social care sector and often has some great links to articles and websites which I think students might find useful in their studies.

There's a bit of exhibitionism in the mix as I recently added a Flickr feed. And I do love it when I get feedback :) - this is one way of linking into my Personal Learning Network.

Almost never is this a way of passing the time for me as I find it difficult to find time to blog.

What are your reasons for blogging?

Friday, 27 May 2011

And so .... the end is near.....

I have finished teaching for the year and am now on the home stretch as far as marking is concerned.

The reflective assignments from the 3rd year social work students were a revelation. I will definitely re-run this group project next year.

Despite some gripes about the project not being assessed (I am reconsidering this) the level of engagement with the project and with the reflection was tremendous.

Some students clearly started out on this project and on the formation of their groups with the view that the whole process was "fake" and that putting together an online presentation over 9 weeks or so was going to give them very little insight into how groups work "in the wild". Their reflections tell a different story and the sophistication with which some of them have applied theories of group dynamics, team roles and motivation theory has been quite inspiring.

What is more, the projects themselves have provided a legacy - a set of resources about the art and craft of leadership which are going to be invaluable not just for future students, but for me too!

I also feel really inspired by the students' ingenuity - the range of TV programmes and films studied (from Toy Story 3 to Hell's Kitchen) as well as the platforms used (Facebook, Wordpress, Powerpoint) has been enriching and the freedom to be creative is something most embraced eagerly in the midst of a heavy final year.

Some have been troubled by the need to wrangle the technology but the exercise also produced some real "stars" in terms of getting to grips with the on-line platforms.

So what will I do differently next time?

Probably introduce some form of credit for the work actually produced and reduce the amount of reflection to be done alongside the presentation.

Instead, reflection on the group process could be an option for their exam (I HAVE to give them an exam, apparently).

Give them a free choice of platform, film, and even topic (leadership, motivation, group process, team types, organisational culture etc.....)

What I won't do - but would love to - is give them one another's reflections to digest.

The variety of perspectives was dizzying at times and that would be the real way to learn about teams.... however they would (I would!) write very differently if their work was going to be reviewed by peers. But maybe there should be some part of the process where they ARE encouraged to do a group reflection?

Maybe actually all teams should do this from time to time....?

So if you'd like to see the student's work,(with their consent) here are a couple of Facebook Pages (The Beach) (Hell's Kitchen) and a Wordpress site. I'll be adding the Powerpoint presos to Slideshare shortly....

Friday, 15 April 2011

Little footsteps

...it has been a while - sorry, dear blog.

There is just such a lot going on and so many ideas to try and capture...

Firstly, I got my 3rd year leadership students talking about their online projects which focussed on either Avatar or The Apprentice for a discussion of models of leadership. I created a little video about it that I could show to next year's students. I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome - and their enthusiasm for Google Sites and the use of TV/Film sources.

Given how much the social work students are enjoying this aspect of their assessment it is something I will definitely continue with - and be a little bolder next time by giving them the freedom to choose their own platforms and resources.

Ipadio podcasts have been a big hit with the social work students - especially in giving them some tips on the assignment. Again this is something I plan to continue next year and as much of this stuff won't change I'll be able to reuse my podcasts too!

Today I will be starting work on marking the e-portfolios that my second year students are preparing. This has been an interesting process: I didn't make use of the e-portfolio compulsory and I didn't "officially" tell anyone I was using it. That caused some hiccups with school office as I thought I should get students to hand in some sort of declaration in hard copy - and school admin staff just turned up their noses at it! A bit of a chat soon straightened things out. Note to self - consult with the all powerful school admins before trying stunts like that again!

To make the process as painless as possible, I had prepared a template for the students to use (see left).

Responding to a request from the guinea pigs, I set up an extra seminar session in the IT suite to show them how to use the Google Sites tool.

In the end about eight have submitted electronically and the results range from OK (in terms of presentation) to pretty damned amazing.

Oh well - back to the marking now! See you on the other side....

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Making the effort .....

The projects the social work students are engaged on are starting to take shape. I am just so impressed by the creativity here.The truth is I had expected this group to be rather serious and also a little jaded perhaps. I think my invitation to them (right from the start) to have fun with this project has started to pay dividends.

They are a mature and a challenging group - they are not overly keen on my suggestions for topics (the films and TV programmes I put forward) - they would rather come up with their own. They are not all totally sold on the idea of creating a web site - so again they are playing around with different ideas. One group is quite interested in using Google Sites and have asked to see examples. Others want to stick to Powerpoint but will upload those to Slideshare or Googledocs as the deal is there has to be an online presence.

Two groups have come up with the idea of videos: in one case they want to undertake a team building task, film themselves doing it , and then analyse the video in terms of emergent leadership behaviours (wow!). The second group wish to film themselves discussing leadership theory and commenting on the film case study they are using rather than write anything at all (wow, and wow!)

PS A little anecdote: today a final year student told me that he prepares for my seminars (looking ahead at the links I post on the VLE ) and that this is this is the first time he has ever done so. We chatted a bit more about how he likes the "technology" and feels that it is especially good for engaging students who often struggle to engage (his terms - and he included himself in this category!) He particularly liked the videos and podcasts I have been providing to supplement the lecture notes - but what really motivated him, he told me, is that he could see that I was motivated to do more than just the hour of teaching that is timetabled. Now I am even more motivated :0)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Google Sites in the Classroom

I embarked on an experiment at the start of last term to introduce my Leadership students to collaborative working using Google Sites.

My reasoning was that the students would this way have a forum for synchronous collaboration which didn't involve sending round emails of PowerPoint slides; they would learn a new transferable skill in setting up and designing a website. They would produce a revision tool about the key leadership theories and how they can be applied in practice and along the way they would experience the highs and lows of team working which they could then reflect on.

The task was to produce a site which elaborated/ illustrated key leadership theories as applied to a specific setting. As they are mainly undergraduates with little direct work experience I offered them the opportunity of using the film Avatar or the TV series The Apprentice as their "case studies".

Assessment for this part of the module took the form of a reflective piece focusing on the team dynamics which were operating whilst producing the finished site. In addition they would be given individual credit for evidence which demonstrated their participation in the finished site.

In the first few weeks of the module I doubted that I had designed the task appropriately and was unsure whether they would take to the idea, but in fact they readily formed into groups and began assigning roles and sub-tasks with great enthusiasm.

Over the next 6 weeks or so that enthusiasm waxed and waned and there were the usual grumbles about people not pulling their weight. This culminated in a class discussion where it was decided that each team should nominate a "leader" who would take responsibility for "motivating" everyone else to complete their work by the deadline.

After this Team A seemed to make steady progress and, as I had access to their sites, I could see the work being developed and completed in good time for the final presentation. Team A asked me for some technical input early on but then got on with the task and added some really lovely innovative touches like an introductory video and a quiz to finish off.

Team B seemed to struggle to get together, to round up all the members and to get their contributions in to the right place. I made quite a significant technical input to get the site into some sort of order and a week before the deadline I was still showing them how to edit it. Three days before the deadline the contributions were starting to form but the site was a mess. I feared for the group presenting this in public on the due date. However, as their turn came round, the site displayed was unrecognisable. One group member had taken it upon herself to spend hours - the night before - editing, adding images, unifying colours and fonts, uploading YouTube videos all of which combined to produce a really high quality result.

So.... in the end everyone felt they had indeed learned to feel a little more comfortable with the technology and they were justifiably proud of the end results. Moreover, I think they recognised that although the presentation wasn't assessed, it had taught them/helped them revise a great many relevant leadership theories which would feature in their final exam. And finally they had all learned a great deal about effective (and less effective teams) and about their roles in them.

This Module is part of a pilot which is looking at e-assessment/e-submission of assessment. Next week they will upload their reflections via the drop box and I will give them online feedback via Grademark (part of the Turnitin process).

By incorporating Google Sites into the group task I have added another "e" element to the module which, although it is not being directly evaluated as part of this pilot, merits further reflection and research as the University looks at how we can increase the use of technology enhanced learning to develop students' "digital capabilities and information literacy".

And now for phase two - next week I introduce the same exercise to 60 Social Work students - it'll be interesting to watch how this "scales up" from my guinea pig group of 10!

Love, Friendship and Twitter

"Love, friendship and Twitter" by @virtualleader


Posted from Diigo.