pre-observation data for #LTHESep12 week 3 to be observed by Frances Bell @francesbell

Pre-observation Form

Observer’s Name Frances Bell

 Date & Time
9 November, approx arriving at 11am

 Location
Pankhurst Room, Faraday House, University of Salford

 Module & Session title Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LTHE module) /
introduction to designing sessions, modules, courses

 Number of learners  17

 Learners

This is week 3 of the LTHE module. This group is really diverse. We have colleagues from around the university and from The Manchester College. Among the students are colleagues who have some teaching experience and others who are completely new to teaching. One thing I would like to add is that we have students from different disciplines in this cohort. Many are from Media this time. All are lovely people and seem, so far, positive, about the module. There are some issues still with accessing Blackboard, especially for our colleagues from TMC, which is very unfortunately. However, I am providing resources and opportunities to engage using social media (our PGCAP news blog and Twitter). These have not been used widely… unfortunately. Also, there seem to be issues with time tables and finding time to do the module. I have noticed that some ‘disappear’ before the end of the session and this is worrying me. Also a number of students haven’t created their portfolios yet. I worry a lot about this, as the assessment of this modules is based on the portfolio which should be developed during the module. A number of portfolio sessions have been organised, unfortunately the uptake was small. Never had that problem before… everybody seems busy with other things…

Learning outcomes to be achieved during the session

 By the end of the session, students attending and engaging in the session will have had the opportunity to:

•discuss and critically evaluate own design process and approaches used

•explore innovative student-centred methods and active learning approaches when planning lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials to maximise engagement
•develop a better understanding of technology-enhanced curriculum design processes and explore applications in own context

Session outline

This session will be highly participatory (like all my sessions ;). A draft plan is ready. We will start exploring the learning environment first through an activity which I don’t want to reveal here for obvious reasons. The activity should make students think about being a student and how it feels to learn in a specific environment and what we teachers can do to make this environment more welcoming and effective for learning. 

We will then progress into finding out how everybody plans sessions at the moment. We will be able to identify current strengths and areas for development and shift-priorities (hopefully!). We will capture our ideas using a mindmapping tool to which everybody will contribute. This will be lead by two students.

Intended Learning Outcomes, what these are and how they help us shape our sessions/modules as well as constructive alignment will be discussed and debated and experiences shared before having a short break.

In the second part students will work in action learning sets (I must remember to re-arrange everybody!) and create a session plan for a specific cookery session based on a series of parameters. Findings will be shared and evaluated by other groups.

Now writing all this, feels already too much… am I over planning? I might but I prefer to have planned for more and use activities depending on how it goes in class. I might therefore skip one or the other activity to move on to what the class finds useful and stimulating.

We will progress to module and course design but will only skim the surface… if time allows. Students will be asked to bring in a module guide and/or programme handbook to critique in action learning sets. And also have a conversation around Quality Assurance and Enhancement of modules and programmes and related processes as well as threshold concepts.

Rationale

Modelling collaborative learning. Challenging existing ideas and enable students to re-think practices. Working in groups throughout. Using low-tech and digital resources, including an electronic mindmap at the beginning of the session. Nobody will be able to hide and not participate 😉 Active and activity based learning in groups. Also opportunities for individual tasks and reflection as well as peer learning. The plan is to facilitate learning and take into account what students already know (this is very important to me). I would like to bring their current knowledge and understandig to the table and help them extend this further, through questioning and challenging current beliefs and approaches. Feedback will be provided throughout, probably verbally bit it won’t just come from me. Peer-to-peer feedback will be a feature of this session.

Are there any aspects of the session you would like the observer to focus on?

  • Group work
  • Use of resources
  • Providing feedback and stretching students through questioning

Message to observer

Hi Frances,

I am looking forward to seeing you in class on Tuesday. There will be a chair for you when you arrive and a camcorder. Please record short snippets that I can use to reflect on the session afterwards and share with my students. Also, it would be useful to organise a feedback session to discuss the observation. Last semester we did this in class immediately after the observation. There were a lots of benefits for the students to do this. However, I felt that I needed some time first to reflect on what happened. I am happy to go with what you suggest and what the students would find useful. We could also record our feedback conversation and then make available to all.

Students have been informed about your visit and I will introduce you when you arrive.

Further info about the LTHESep12 group so far are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pgcap/sets/72157631221114190/

The presentation will be added to this form as soon as possible.

If you need anything else in advance of the session, please let me know.

Thanks again and see you on Tuesday.

Chrissi

ps. A bit nervous now… ;(((

#lthesep12 week 1 reflections @pgcap

Greece

In the spotlight, the programme, the module, you, us

This week was so so rich. We had our first face-to-face sessions for all modules. I am really pleased how all modules started. A lot of hard work had gone into preparing a powerful and creative start to the semester and I can say that we did achieve this across the programme. It was wonderful to see all our students, I managed to peak into all sessions, and see our students’  and tutors’ passion for learning and teaching. I feel that the programme is getting stronger and tutors work now closer together to make this programme a real success. We already had a number of successes but I know that we and our students are able of even greater things and I am positive about the future. The key is to work together in this with all tutors and students but also the support team to make our big dreams become reality.

What were the highlights?

It has to be the seeing my new LTHESep12 group but also all students I had last semester and some I had before then. I could how eager they all are to get started. I hope all our students wil find the journey exciting and learn loads that they can apply in their practice.

LTHESep12 week 1

breakfast is served

During the session we did perhaps a few controversal things such as knitting, playing with Lego and speed dating too. This was on purpose. I wanted to warn them from the very beginning to expect the unexpected, if that makes sense.  But also show them that we should all experiment with different approaches and that the programme is a safe place to do this. I am of course experimenting with my students and this turns learning into a partnership. I loved their laughters how they started already supporting each other, during the knitting activity but also througout the session.

The most wonderful thing that happened is probably that what we did, or better how, made already some students think about their own practice and by the end of the session I heard a few saying that they are going to try some of the stuff we did in their own sessions, others started writing about it in their portfolios. Yes, I am smiling 😉 What else could I have hoped for?

How did I feel?

I felt the buz, the adrelanine was in the air. I was ready for action. It had been too many months without teaching and I have to admit I missed it. I was of course nervous too and each time you start fresh with a new group, there is always the fear or concern that it won’t work, that people won’t like you or won’t get what you want to achieve. But it did work, I think and I am really looking forward to what is going to happen this semester. The grey clouds are gone…

I have to admit that I did feel a bit sad. Sad seeing my previous cohort in other classrooms, with other tutors… I do find it hard to let go especially since we have worked so well together. But I know they are all in good and capable hands and am happy with the progress they have made. I will see them around anyway and I am working on projects with some of them… just need to remember this 😉

What did I learn?

Spending a bit more time at the beginning with a new class to enable us to get to know each other,  can really make a huge difference. It was lovely to see how chatty students were and there were a lot of smiles and a genuine interest in helping others. I loved this.

LTHESep12 week 1

knitting our network

I have to admit that I have trialled the knitting activity with another cohort and it didn’t work. However, I saw value in this and thought that it was a good idea to try again. And I did and it work so well this time. This shows that we might create a learning opportunity, have an idea which we put into practice, that won’t work, but this should not discourage us from trying it again if we feel that there is value in this for our students. I think I learnt from the previous time I tried it, that it wasn’t probably the right group (?) and the wrong time {?)… I should have reflected a bit more in action to realise this and not even do it then.

What would I do differently?

I am concerned that not everybody has a portfolio yet. We have so far offered 2 portfolio sessions and we have stillover 50% of students with no portfolio. I don’t know how to resolve this. A third session is planned but I don’t know how many will be available to attend.

We do need to work on our application process. It all happens last minute and created loads of difficulties. Including the issue with the portfolio. If we would accept applications a semester ahead for the next semester, we would have plenty of time to plan and help our students to familiarise with the programme. At the moment we are looking at streamlining the processes with the whole team. So this is something that we definitely need to do differently next time around.

What else?

Well, this week was also a milestone for me. I was officially accepted to start a PhD at Edinburgh Napier University around Open Learning. I am really looking forward to this new adventure and am keen now to get started development and research. This research project is linked very closely with the PGCAP and our Flexible, Distane and Online Learning (FDOL) Module which will be developed in collaboration with colleagues in Sweden. This is all very exciting and I am pleased I survived the Skype Interview this week. It was actually much easier than I thought and I relaxed as the conversation progressed.

PhD interview prep and safety net? Didn’t use any of my notes…

In week 2 we are going to look at reflection and observations of teaching. My trolley is almost full and ready to roll to Faraday House on Tuesday. If you would like to observe, feel free to come along to Pankhurst Room, 9.30-12.30pm

#lthesep12 pre-induction almost done now @pgcap

waiting

All on board, the journey begins! Let’s have an open mind and discover new worlds together!

The PGCAP programme started again. We have been online now for almost 2 weeks and I have had the pleasure to meet some of my students on the LTHESep12 cohort during our portfolio building workshop. New faces, new experiences, new stories, new adventures. Really looking forward to be learning together and making new discoveries.

However, after the summer break and not having done any teaching for a few months now, I keep thinking and wondering I suppose if I can still do it… I mean teaching. Feeling somehow a bit rusty. How will it be being in class again?

Nervous? Who, me?

Students feel nervous as learners. Teachers do as well. We want to do a good job and create the right environment for our students to learn. Of course at the beginning we don’t know our students. We  are a stranger to them and they are strangers to us. But not for long, if we get it right! I feel that it is so important to reach out and create bridges and pathways that connect teachers with students,  students with students but also others outside our immediate groups that make learning and teaching a more personalised and meaninful experience. Just yesterday, I was called Big Sister and I actually liked that. I do feel like a big sister even if some of my students are older than me. I guess this is the real big sister and mother in me who cares for her little siblings and children and it just feels right that they need me and I will do whatever I can help them. These caring feelings are quite strong and I have to admit, that I have a problem of letting go, just like any mother has when her children grow up and don’t need her anymore, but we can talk about this some other time.

How is anybody else feeling about starting again teaching after the summer? Please leave a comment if you would like to share with me how you feel about this. Thank you.

Ok, back to these 2 pre-induction weeks.

What were the highlights?

Meeting students during the portfolio workshop. Good to see everybody and get a better feel about the different personalities and the group dynamic developing. Also, was pleased that I did remember to start taking the photographs with the names and hope that I will be able to learn my students’ names much quicker this way which I think is vital if we want to show that we care about our students. Some might say, well you can do this, you only have 20-30 students. How could we learn and use our students’ names if we had larger classes? I have an idea but would be interested in your views.

photo

Sample photo with smiley Helen

How did I feel?

Nervous, as mentioned above. I am still nervous about the induction when I will see the whole cohort. But also very very excited. I feel like a little girl who has prepared loads of goodies and can’t wait to share them with my new students.I want to see their re-action! Can’t wait to see what they will think! Will they engage? Will they embrace? Will we have fun? Will we learn? And will we all have an open mind? … going through an(other) emotional rollercoaster at the moment… Emotions are a vital part of learning!

What did I learn?

It is useful to have a pre-induction to extend opportunities for familiarisation and socialisation. However, this worked partly this time, as we are still accepting applications and not everybody had the opportunity to join the pre-induction because of this. Also others, I suspects, have been busy with their own student inductions this week and were therefore less present in our online pre-induction.

What would I do differently?

I need to think about this a bit more but I we definitely need to change the timing of our application process. We should really have a cohort in place in advance of the semester and this is definitely something I need to work on with our Programme Support Team.

Just a few more days until induction… my heart is zooming faster as the day approaches. Everything is ready… all resources in place, even the trolley to take to Faraday House is waiting for me. I have planned the session for loads of interaction, guests will be there too. Will it work? What will work? We will find out on Tuesday morning. Be there if you are a student on the #lthesep12 module.

Looking forward to seeing you all.

music sheet - notes

Let the music begin 😉