climbing begins

climbing begins

There I thought I wouldn’t find anybody to participate in the little online PBL trial and now suddenly I am receiving loads and loads of responses, even from far far away and as far as Singapur. Very impressive. Mailing lists do work! At least the SEDA one! So, hopefully, by the end of this month, I should have the 6 participants I need. I am already thinking of increasing the number of the groups but am not sure if I should do it. It is hard to turn people away, especially if they are so keen to participate. I think I might add 1 participant per group, so that we have 4 max in each group, but no more. Larger groups can be problematic in online settings. I have personal (bad) experience and learnt from it. Of course, it doesn’t mean that it would never work… anyway.

My initial idea was to run the trial with people who are starting a new PgCert or have already started a programme last academic year. Should I open it up to other groups, for example individuals who already completed the PgCert? But then the focus of the research project would shift. Perhaps this could be done in the future… think, think, think.

It would be really nice to trial it with different groups. However, at the moment, I need to focus on the group I picked. Why did I pick PgCert participants? Well, I would like to explore if this approach could be used within the PgCert and at some point move beyond the trial and use it with a whole cohort. I am sure changes will need to be done. But first of all I need to investigate how it will work this time. Will it work? We will see. Again, looking ahead, I am thinking that perhaps a whole module could be delivered using a PBL format. I wouldn’t go for the whole programme. Variety is the spice of life!

It is getting exciting now! The PBL tutors are already working hard on the scenario and everything should be ready for the 6th of September. It is happening now… well almost ;o)


no shortcuts!

no shortcuts to get to the top!!!

I have made good progress with my online PBL research project. I am positive that the literature review will be ready by the end of August. Well, the draft is there already and more.

Do I enjoy literature reviews? I know Adam does, he told me the other day! I think I enjoy reading what other people have to say and find out about their studies and experiments. Many times it confirms my own findings and that is really fascinating. Sometimes, however, you read something and think, that can’t be right, no way. But that is ok too. Wouldn’t it be boring if we would all agree. I am getting side tracked here… do I enjoy composing literature reviews? I actually don’t know, if I do, or if I don’t. I have to admit that I find it challenging and always the hardest bit is to make a start and organising materials. Many times I find myself re-arranging things and it feels like moving furniture around. Then of course, some things, end up on the skip too and usually there is too many pieces of furniture… like in real life. The process of writing a literature review is like climbing a huge mountain. My legs get tired as soon as I go upwards on this mountain. Downwards, I feel much lighter and happier, all the hard work has been done.

… I don’t know why I wrote the above. It wasn’t my intension when I started typing this evening. I guess, I needed it out of my system. Maybe it is Adam’s fault who told me that he loves literature reviews and that made me think.

Anyway, what I do enjoy is the experimenting part and recording raw findings. This is the bit that fascinates me most. I am really looking forward to the trial and hope to find my 6 participants. Nobody yet… unfortunately. Just the PBL facilitators and that is great! I know it is summer now and many are on a beach somewhere… but I have to find them soon. The idea and plan was to start the trial in September… this year.

Will send the email again and contact a few people I know within other HE institutions. Looking back, I am thinking that it was probably not a good idea to try and recruit PgCert participants for this trial… I could have opened it up to a wider audience… but, but, but… and there are a few of them. It was important for me that it was for PgCert people. Maybe I should have designed it in a different way and discussed the trial with my manager so that it could perhaps be linked to an assessed task on our programme. Was I too ambitious? Will it be too hard to find 6 PgCert participants from 6 different programmes? I understand that everybody will be busy with the programme when it starts in Sep/Oct and I really would get only enthusiasts who would be willing to spend a few hours a week on the trial. This is the thing! Time! Will I find people who will make the time to participate??? I have to come up with an alternative strategy, just in case I don’t get anybody! While I am writing this now, I start making connections and this might hopefully lead to an idea. We will see.

So, more thinking for me ;o)

Biggest surprise so far? How little I have found about PBL within Academic Development!


biting today?

biting today?

I know, I have been away for some time now but I am still around and surviving. I have to admit that life was, and still is, very stressful at the moment… despite the fact that we went on holiday to France to get some sunshine… and what did we get? Rain and more rain. We also got the boys, all 3 of them with bites… definitely not mosquitos but definitely from where we were staying, not from the sea, or anywhere else. The GP said it might be flease. The guy we stayed warned us of mosquitos but other little monsters live in his house much more agressive ones!!! On top of all my other worries, with moving etc. I am worrying that we brought these mini-beasts with us!!!

Otherwise, no news on the housefront. Unfortunately, the one we found was too problematic so we are back to square zero. My head is going to explode. We will have to move out during the summer! But where will we live??? This weekend is crucial. Let’s hope that there is still hope.

Still working on the online PBL dissertation, not much but I am reading some interesting literature at the moment about networked learning and more about academic development. More too come in the next few weeks.

There must be a light at the end of this end and long tunnel!


no cars

no cars

Still going, very slowly, but I am progressing. I think my brain is a bit tired and maybe it is the up and down on the train and the endless miles and the sleepless nights on the 12th floor next to the A6.

I have started reading about PBL and there is a lot to read, believe me. I have a good picture of a type of PBL in my head, I think, but when I study the different books and articles and papers, I get a bit confused but then again, I guess it is normal. We all put our own spices on PBL as we would do if we would cook the same dish. It would never taste the same. The experience would be unique. All experiences are unique. Even if we would put in the same ingredients. It would never taste the same, would it? Could it? Still need to do a lot of studying on PBL and Academic Development in general and have a look around to discuss if PBL has been used within Academic Development. So far, I haven’t discovered anything.

Beyond the literature review, which I find extremely hard at the moment!!!, I have started shaping a space to be used from September for the trial which is available at http://onlinepbl.wordpress.com Not much is there yet, but I will be adding bits and pieces over the summer and get ready.

Good news! I have my 2 academic developers and yes, they are from different institutions. Now I need 6 lecturers who will start the PgCert in Teaching and Learning in HE/Academic Practice during the next academic year. If you are one of them and are reading this post, please get in touch if you would like to get involved.

flat batteries


I need new duracel

I am trying to get started with my research project for the MSc in Blended and Online Education I am completing at the moment and have to admit that I struggle today to write anything. I have set myself a personal daily target of words I have to write and just feel that I can’t do it today. Maybe it is just a bad day (is my head full of other things???), maybe I am just too tired and my brain doesn’t work properly. Am I too strict with myself?


Ok, I have made a start, using the template and have some information in some sections. Of course, it is just a draft and many things will change until submission but I just want to do some more!

Anyway, I hope to find the energy and the brainpower soon because I have to compile the literature review and start creating the online space to be used from Sep/Oct. I hope I will manage… I have to!!!