I am in the middle of the @pgcap marking storm at the moment (but going really well so far!!!) and I am thinking of the near future and what needs to be done, yes, what needs to be done, to provide an even richer learning and even more valuable learning experience to ALL our students across modules! And this is the important bit. We need to model effective and creative practice in the digital age across the programme and while I don’t like the word ‘consistent’ because it can dain the creative elements out of something, I recognise the importance of consistence in securing certain thresholds and common characterists across a provision and have been recognised by colleagues as valuable for their learning and teaching and we have already evidence that these have the power to make our colleagues think, re-think and un-think and learn to transformative learning and practices.
Right, ok, let’s share some of my initial thoughts about how we can move the PGCAP forwards. But before I begin, I would like to emphasise that the below are just my ideas at the moment, which will be discussed in collaboration with the programme team but also with current and past students on the programme. We have already secured a collaboration with some students over the summer to participate in the curriculum re-design of specific modules so that we can start fresh in the next academic year. And this is really wonderful, because colleagues are offering their time and see value in playing an active role in the further enhancement of the programme. I am really grateful for that but also extremely pleased.
Some ideas at programme level have been listed below
1. Pre-induction: so far this is mainly happening for the LTHE module and even then it doesn’t work really well, since not everybody participates. We need to find a way to engage more during this very important phase of the programme that helps students to familiarise with the programme and a specific module but also start getting to know each other and their tutor(s). Starting forming a community is vital!!! We must think of a more meaningful way to engage students! So, I am proposing a pre-induction for all modules from Sep!
2. Sessions: Up to now, only the LTHE module has been ‘heavier’ on face-to-face sessions. From the feedback we keep receiving, it shows that students value these sessions and miss them when they do the optional modules. So I am suggesting to re-think, how all our modules are delivered and offer more regular face-to-face sessions but also combine them with online synchronous and asynchronous elements.
3. Location, location, location: Learning does happen everywhere and most of it outside the classroom. What stops us from changing locations and offer our sessions in more versatile spaces? We need to make this happen in all modules and be more creative and resourceful across the programme. We might book a specific room but also need to think, do we really need to be there? Does it really matter? Yes, it does and we need to do something about it! So far we have used different spaces on the LTHE module. I am very keen to continue exploring alternative spaces on all modules. The opportunities are endless!!! Let’s be more creative across the programme and make learning exciting again!!!
4. We need to practise what we preach and model active and collaborative learning, creative approaches, enable peer learning and develop a robust support network which should involve peers, tutors, mentors but also the wider learning community at Salford and beyond. There is also a lot of expertise out there and I am very keen to bring more experts into the classroom, physically or remotely, so that they share their good practice with us. This needs to happen across the programme!
5. Just talking about technologies is not good practice: We need to adopt an integrated approach to model their use based on a sound pedagogical rationale. There are a number of technologies which have been utilised during the LTHE module and students have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with these and start thinking how some of them could be used in their own practice with their own students. If after the LTHE these just disappear suddenly, not sure what we are trying to do by introducing them just in one module! These is where we do need to be consistent.
- I suggest that Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/pgcap) to be used on all PGCAP modules as a tool to communicate with our students on a regular basis. Not everybody uses Twitter but through embedding the Twitter feed in Blackboard, everybody has access to the communication that is happening there and can engage. I am suggesting using one Twitter account which is @pgcapsalford. At module and cohort level we should then use hashtags, such as #corejan12 for example.
- The PGCAP news blog (http://pgcapsalford.wordpress.com/) will be used to share news around the programme. All tutors will start contributing to this (by direct posting and/or aggregating content from their personal online space) but we will also be able to aggregate portfolio work done by our students all in one place. This can be done through using Google Reader and I am at the moment exploring how this can work. Also all current portfolios from all modules can be added as links to the PGCAP news blog and by using module categories ALT, LTHE, AFL we will be able to keep them all together and access them easily. After a specific cohort has completed a module the links will be replaced with the next cohort. This will make life easier for peers, tutors, moderators and our external examiners as well.
- We have a Slideshare account (http://www.slideshare.net/academicdevelopment). I suggest that this should be used for all modules to disseminate presentations used by tutors and students if they wish to do so. We need to explore the possibility of creating these as OERs and coming up with some basic formatting and guidelines.
- Loads of pictures from all LTHE cohorts so far but NONE from any other module. We have a programme Flickr account (http://www.flickr.com/photos/pgcap) and I see value in showcasing the good work that is happening across all modules. The programme is NOT just the LTHE module. We all need to start using it and also share the account details with our students and encourage them to use it for sharing images. We need, of course permission from our students first before making images available online. Again, I have started making all images available as OER and would like all tutors to do the same.
- Our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/pgcapsalford) should also be used across the programme. So far, we have activities, experiences from students on the LTHE module. Why are the other modules not represented? We would like to share success stories, experiences, activities and create resources for all modules. These can be done by tutors in collaboration with students and released as OERs. We have a good selection in our Food for thought series but there are plenty more we can and should do. Also increasing our playlist collection by finding relevant video resources fro individual modules and around specific themes, would also be beneficial.
- Bookmarking group at diigo is now live (http://groups.diigo.com/group/pgcap_salford) and I see value in using this together by sharing useful resources we find for specific modules and themes. We need to use tags for specific modules and themes and could make two of our students bookmarking monitors. I would like over the summer to grow our collection and have a set of resources for all modules (LTHE, ALT and AFL) there that can then be enriched by our next cohorts.
- Portfolio commenting: We will only use the pgcapsalford account for all modules when accessing all portfolios and commenting. Each tutor will add their name and module at the end of each comment or feedback. This will make accessing portfolios much easier for tutors, moderators and the external examiners. Also, formative feedback should be provided when requested and the tutor need to let the student know by when this will be added to the portfolio.
These are some initial thoughts. I will probably come back and review and add to the above over the next few weeks. Really looking forward to our meeting next Friday to discuss the above and specific modules to be offered in Sep12. We have now at least 2 students from the CoreJan12 cohort who are going to participate in the curriculum re-design of the ALT module about which I am very pleased.
As the PGCAP Programme Leader, I would like to strengthen and enrich the PGCAP programme as a whole and feel that the above steps will contribute to this but only if all tutors and students see value in these and work together to make it happen!
Please feel free to comment on the above and make further suggestions! Thank you.