Week 12: Final thoughts…perhaps not so final…

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I’ve got to the end! Some final processing and re-writing to do now to articulate my thoughts for the Assignment 2: Reflective Blog. Addressing the final reflective task for this module [and course] I’d have to say that, for me, the best learning experience was the sessions that surrounded flipping the classroom [Gimbar, 2011, Sams, 2015, Peisley, 2014]. Flipping is such a simple idea but for me it really has provided a lot of solutions in my own approach to supporting student learning. I feel that it really has opened up a whole lot of opportunities to strengthen and scaffold student learning. The face-to-face session that I undertook as part of the flipped session was so genuinely successful that it has really encouraged me to continue and develop my ideas for further flipped sessions.

If the course has finished, and the directly assessed component that has added a certain degree of impetus to this blog is no longer there, I will continue to write about my continuing journey in teaching, switching PowerPoints for video podcasts!

Flipped Resources:

Gimbar, K, (2011), Why I Flipped My Classroom, YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=9aGuLuipTwg

Kolb, D, [1984] Experiential Learning: Experience as the source of Learning and Development, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Peisley, A [2014] Lessons learnt from implementing and evaluating ‘flipped classroom’ approaches, YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnjMBzEco1g

Sams, A, [2015] Flipped Classroom: The Next Step, YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSKjMsgXc_Q

Other useful resources:

www.flippedclass.com

http://www.jonbergmann.com

 

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Week 11: Top 10 characteristics of a successful on-line student

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Here they are! As taken from the Falmouth PGCHE course, themselves adapted and taken from the Illinois Network [2007] What Makes a Successful On-line Student :

1. Be open minded about sharing life, work, and educational experiences as part of the learning process.

2. Be able to communicate through writing

3. Be self-motivated and self-disciplined.

4. Be willing to ‘speak up’ if problems arise.

5. Be willing and able to commit 4 to 15 hours per week per course.

6. Be able to meet the minimum requirements for the course.

7. Accept critical thinking and decision-making as part of the learning process.

8. Have access to a computer and the Internet.

9. Be able to think ideas through before responding.

10. Feel that high quality learning can take place without going to a traditional classroom.

Perhaps much of this is self-evident but it certainly the case that on-line is actually more time consuming and requiring of more genuine commitment perhaps than traditional face-to-face education, requiring much discipline, self-motivation and critical thinking.

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In this week’s activities I also really appreciated listening to Federica and Dario’s video podcast about their own experiences of being on-line students as well as tutors. My own experience of the PGCHE course has been helped by working at Falmouth University itself. Chatting with fellow course members who I have come to meet or who I already work with [Tim Leandro, Faye, Phoebe Herring, Paul Mulraney and James Fisher] as well as the great Andy Peisley himself has been really valuable, allowing me [us who study at Falmouth?] to benefit from the real life face-to-face time which I think, perhaps, other students who are genuinely ‘at a distance’, might not have had. Nevertheless, I certainly think that both Fede and Dario have been encouraging course tutors who have really helped all of us in engage with the PGCHE forum, being welcoming and positive in their observations and feedback.

Frederica was interesting on the challenges of establishing a teaching presence on line, which can be achieved partly through the design of the course, but also importantly though how you interact with the students, itself influenced and informed by the type of students that you have [your audience – mature, professionals such as ourselves :)].

I enjoyed Dario’s observation that learners cannot hide and that this, in itself, has an influence on the nature of on-line interaction [versus face-to-face].  Fede’s point about the flexibility of learning on line also cuts both ways – as a tutor being flexible to work anywhere, possibly never in the office even, maybe from abroad. Perhaps one could even envisage being entirely based abroad whist working as on online tutor, residing in, say Provence or Tuscany…. an appealing thought!

Finally Dario’s observations on the non-geographically specific nature of on-line learning and how it encourages more diverse and interesting cohorts [that promotes deeper learning], also echoes the analysis of Gilly Salmon [2013]: “One of the most important lessons about cross-cultural interaction is that tolerance and effectiveness emerge from a greater understanding of multiple perspectives and points of view (Osland, Bird, Mendenall 2012].” [2013:61]

This is, surely, one of the major benefits to on-line, distance, global learning.

Illinois Online Network. (2007). What Makes a Successful Online Student? Illinois: Illinois Online Network. Accessed on August 19, 2018, available at: http://www.ion.uillinois.edu/resources/tutorials/pedagogy/StudentProfile.asp

Salmon, G [2013] E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, Routledge.

https://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage-model.html

Oradini, F & Faniglione, D, [2018] EDU 720 Week 11 videopodcast last accessed 19 August, 2018

https://falmouthflexible.instructure.com/courses/255/pages/week-11-practitioners-in-action-federica-oradini-and-dario-faniglione?module_item_id=13404

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 10: CEG Pedagogic Framework

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 07.29.22This week we were introduced to the Cambridge Education Group’s Pedagogic Framework to help guide us through the activity of designing our own fully on-line learning episode [in this case a week of teaching]. This framework has been used to design our own PGCHE course and is based on the work of Diana Laurillard [2012] in which type of learning are broken down into ‘enquiry’, ‘acquisition’, ‘discussion/collaboration’, ‘practice’ and ‘discussion’. The overall CEG framework idea is that the student learning experience should reflect a 70:20:10 split where 70% of the learning is conducted through experiential approaches [enquiry, practice and production], 20% learning through others [discussion and collaboration] and 10% on learning through acquisition [videos and podcasts employing didactic methods]. Personally I found this to be an interesting process, and a helpful template. Much of my face-to-face teaching practice has been focused through experiential learning – and trying to increase the percentage of this in my sessions – so this framework for on-line is both a validation of that and also encouragement to continue this, as well as a guide to designing my own learning episode, which I have focused around my flipped class plan I utilised in weeks 4-6 of this module.

Overall I found that my split came up slightly short of this idealised module. My split was 63:26:13 – i.e. 63% learning through doing, 26% learning through others and 13% learning through acquisition. Given that we are designing a course that is on-line and the amount of time that students will actually spend undertaking activities is hidden [in the main part] – ultimately the proof is in the pudding. If the outputs suggest engagement with the learning [and given all things are equal, i.e. the module and session activities are congruent and constructively aligned] then that will be a key indicator of whether you have got the balance right as I think the maths ratios, while fascinating, imply a precision which is a bit misleading. Obviously it is a framework after all, not a straightjacket!

Laurillard, D. [2012] Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology, Routledge, London.

Week 9: Padlet Review

Screen Shot 2018-08-18 at 16.55.02As you will know from the previous post one of the areas I looked at this week are tech tools of the trade. I’ve heard a lot about Padlet on the forums so was interested to take a peek at it myself. From looking at the free signup and the video tutorials it looks to be a very useful device that could really nicely support collaborative working.

Its obvious function would be for collective brainstorming, posting ideas, sharing information and research.

As a device it would well help in the support of my own draft on-line version of TV261 [Level 2 TV BA students – 19-21 years old typically] – and I can see myself using Padlet for students to remotely to feed in research about what UK TV commissioners are looking for in terms of TV ideas, share articles and links that have nascent ideas contained within them and generally contribute towards group work. This could also work well for blended learning.

By getting students to also identify themselves on the Padlet ‘wall’ I could also guage the degree or collective team working and participation.

It perhaps replicates some of the features of Google Docs etc, which could be seen as a disadvantage, but from the video tutorials it looks intuitive and easy to use. As I understand it, the Google products necessitate having a Gmail account, and Padlet doesn’t, so that is a distinct advantage. I also have the ability to moderate any particular Padlet wall which I originate. Here are links to the software and a handy ‘How to use’ video:

https://padlet.com

 

Week 9: Choosing technology – content remains king

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I think one of the main conclusions I’ve drawn from this week’s readings and interactions is that you always need to bear in mind that technology is only ever a means to an end. In this case we are supporting student learning, so whatever the tech does, it needs to do that and not get in the way or feel like an end in itself. Simplicity is the key. I agreed in particular with a forum post from fellow TV BA course colleague Tim Leandro – who said he subscribed to the ‘KISS’ philosophy school – which I think I’m right in thinking stands for ‘Keep It Simple Stupid!.’ Wise words I thought.

As articulated in the literature (Jonassen et al, 1993, Salmon, 2013, Littleton, 2004) the key enabling feature of on-line technology from the Open University onwards was the collaborative element that it could foster alongside the independence it also facilitated [the asynchronous aspect). These are the key features that need to be exploited, not so much the razzle-dazzle bells and whistles. It is likely that the students will also bring their own technologies to bear on the process, pointed out on the forum by James Fisher and Ken McMahon. On courses that I run students already use Google Docs as a way of sharing media and work and adding to it. They already use WeTransfer and Vimeo as well as YouTube. Maybe using tools that they are already familiar with is a good way to progress, rather than multiplying the number of apps and technologies needed.

References:

Fisher, James [2018] Week 9 Forum Post:

https://falmouthflexible.instructure.com/courses/255/discussion_topics/5878?module_item_id=13053

Jonassen, D., Mayes, T. & McAleese, R. (1993) ‘A manifesto for a constructivist approach to uses of technology in higher education’, in Designing Environments for Constructive Learning, eds T. M. Duffy, J. Lowyck & D. H. Jonassen, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Leandro, Tim [2018] Week 9 Forum Post:

https://falmouthflexible.instructure.com/courses/255/discussion_topics/5878?module_item_id=13053

Littlejohn, A. 2004. Success factors and barriers to effective use of tools in e-learning courses. In The Effectiveness of Resources, Tools and Support Services used by Practitioners in Designing and Delivering E-Learning Activities: Final Report. UK: JISC.

McMahon, Ken [2018} Week 9 Forum Post:

https://falmouthflexible.instructure.com/courses/255/discussion_topics/5878/entry-29812

Salmon, G [2013] E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, Routledge.

Week 8: Reflections on on-line approaches for a Television BA course

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Well, I’ve put together my draft on-line course. I have chosen to re-design my TV261 Concept Development module as fully on-line as it is largely a written course. The module teaches students the techniques of preparing authentic proposals for new factual television series and how to then pitching them effectively to UK broadcasters. For assessment, the students work in small teams [2-4] preparing a 1500-word written proposal for a factual TV series, along with a 2-minute video teaser. This latter artefact would not be impossible to prepare on-line asynchronously but it would require some co-ordination and modification from its current form [for example, it could be constructed from existing footage sourced on-line, not original material that would require group filming]. Collectively these elements combine for a group portfolio submission worth 40% of the student’s module mark. The remaining 60% is accounted for by an individual journal of practice. I would rework this along the lines of the PGCHE Critically Reflective Journal as a blog [probably using WordPress again – easy to use in my book] which would be formatively assessed and provide the weekly reflective content from which the students would write their final journal.

Overall I have been really struck by the blog as reflective journal on this PGCHE course. It works really well as a learning device. It also also deviously designed! While it is not formatively assessed, of course it genuinely is in a way as it is impossible to write the summatively assessed reflective work without undertaking the blog! From my own experience I posted very little on the first part of the course [when the blog was not directly tied to assessment] but I have been much more diligent this study block [necessarily so]. Good assessment strategy, nicely aligned. The potential is also there [assuming the blog itself is made public] for other students on the course to benefit from reading about each others reflections and observations [outside of those we are asked to post to the forums]. From my own experience I posted very little on the first part of the course [when the blog was not directly tied to assessment] but I have been much more diligent this study block [necessarily so]. Good assessment strategy, nicely aligned!

My existing lectures on the TV261 module would be delivered as podcasts, with weekly e-tivities designed to acknowledge the stepping stones outlined in Salmon’s 5 Stage Model [Salmon, 2013] in terms of on-line learning. There is a wealth of digital material available that could be used to inspire weekly set of motivating and authentic e-tivities that would broaden the knowledge of the students and help them find ways of applying the information and knowledge they will gain from the podcast lectures.

As the weeks progress, and the students develop in confidence [and start to move through the stages that Salmon identifies], I can see that interesting e-tivities could be introduced involving teamwork and role playing. I would set up the students as opposing teams, some representing real independent production companies, coming up with new factual TV ideas in line with the output of these companies, and pitching these to students who will role play as real TV channel commissioning editors, drawing upon the available material that defines the broadcaster needs and commissioning requirements. This work could be pitched as written work via a forum, with students then receiving written critical feedback, or technically we could use Skype as a way of attempting to get the students to pitch directly [face-to-face but remotely] on-line. Likewise, we could use Skype for realtime pitches to genuine TV commissioning editors for formative feedback ahead of final assignment submission for summative assessment.

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One of the critical issues I faced with my draft design for a fully on-line course is that there are certain impediments with my own teaching context. The BA Television course itself feeds into an industry in which much of the activity [in production at least] needs to be undertaken in the same physical space [filming] with teams [directors, producers, camera, sound and editors] either on location or in an edit suite or post-production house. There is no way to undertake these activities separately or asynchronously and in many senses it is impossible to teach students the skills needed remotely as they need direct access to kit and each other in order to produce audio visual work. Nevertheless, there are certain modules that could be shifted to on-line [and almost all the existing TV modules could be more ‘blended’]. These are those that relate to idea generation, proposal writing and screenwriting. This is how my TV261 module om factual programme idea development would work and fit. Of course the fully on-line element could also apply to the critical and theoretical aspects of the course looking at television histories, new platforms and audiences and representation and the writing of essays and final third year dissertations.

I’ve suggested that it might be that fully-online modules could be incorporated into a third semester [that ran during the summer] such that the degree course could be completed in two years rather than three. These summer semesters could focus more on written content [ideation in drama and documentary – where TV261 could sit – scriptwriting and the theoretical essay/dissertation preparation and writing work] with the other terms focusing on the practical, group work. The time saved would enable the courses to be shrunk from three years to two. Controversial perhaps – but it could save students cash [at the expense of our own summer research – so maybe it’s a terrible idea!]

Salmon, G [2013] E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, Routledge.

 

 

Week 8: Designing a fully on-line course using the 5 Stage model

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This week were introduced to the 5 Stage model of on-line learning by Gilly Salmon. I must say that using her structure certainly will help in the development of a hypothetical on-line course of our own [the principal task for this week]. It’s a daunting task to a degree, and yet in many ways many elements are familiar. Also having our own experience of the PGCHE on-line course itself helps reinforce this model with our own practical experience of on-line learning.

Salmon is interesting on the prejudice that one might initially approach on-line learning. She believes that the lack of face-to-face interaction actually provides opportunities for learning and is “a key ingredient of equity and success rather than a barrier” [2013:56]. Rather than on-line being better or worse it obviously has its own “special advantages and disadvantages over face to face”. [2013:59]. I certainly think that this is true given my own experiences on the course, and that fully on-line courses can successfully create a sense of community as strong [if not stronger in some senses] than traditional face-to-face courses, through active participation in on-line forums.

While I find Salmon’s model helpful, I do find the neatness of the stages a little misleading, as there are clearly overlaps between each of them. Nevertheless I’m going to try and apply her principles and recommendations in terms of my approach to designing ‘e-tivities’ for an existing BA Television module, TV261 Concept Development, which I think will convert quite well into an on-line module. The module explores approaches to developing commissionable ideas for factual television programmes and I think it’s largely written nature will work well on-line. Let’s see!

Salmon, G [2013] The Key to Active Online Learning, Routledge.

https://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage-model.html

Week 6 & 7: Flipped class – Evaluation & Feedback

Luke Molloy Feedback notes

Pulling together the elements for the EDU720 Assessment 1 submission, I was encouraged by the really precise and helpful feedback from the students that had formally responded to my questionnaire after my flipped class face-to-face session. In many ways this supported the key lesson objectives of the flipped session – principally that the students would enjoy and benefit from being able to watch the video podcasts in their own time [being able to do this at their leisure and repeatedly], freeing up time for us in the face-to-face session. It also reinforced for me the importance of somehow formalising the feedback in a questionnaire. You could write a PhD on question design I’m sure, and I tried not to make my questions to ‘leading’, but rather give the students the opportunity to express their opinions about what was good and what could have been improved.

What ran slightly counter to the literature [IMPALA etc] was the idea that the clips should be around 10 minutes long, ideally not much longer. I had in fact broken up my video podcast into three sections so as to not give the students one, twenty-minute video to watch. In their written feedback, however, the students said it was more important for them that the videos were in one clip, to save them from the hassle of having to access three clips. I will definitely incorporate this feedback into my future flipped class design.

Whilst I was chatting to the students I also got some useful informal feedback on the flipped class approach. The collective view of two of the students [both very able, first class students] was that, while they enjoyed watching the flipped class videos, they were concerned that other students might not watch them and come to the class without the knowledge that they contained, holding up the other members of the group. The answer to this, they thought, was some sort of participation marking, where students would be rewarded by engaging [in a forum] about what they thought of the videos, and by completing some forum task be rewarded with some fractional mark [maybe 1% each week – for a 10% total across 10 weeks teaching]. This, they thought, would reward engagement and encourage participation. I think this is a really good idea, and could be incorporated as part of a conventional degree/module [with some on-line activities] as well as in an entirely on-line degree [and it was successfully incorporated into an MA at Lancaster, which I have written about here].

I was also struck by how the latest technology really can help you assess student engagement. Not only do you get a clear sense of how the students have engaged by their participation in the face-to-face session [in my case by the way that they drove that session, with me very much as the ‘guide on the side’ (Aron Sams, 2015)] but also I could examine the video analytics from the vimeo links themselves. This gave me very clear technical indicators as to how many times the video had been played, at what times [and whether it was played to the end!]. I could tell that the three videos I posted were each watched 5 times, and completed three times [which was encouraging given that I had three students attend the session!].

My major reflection across these first 6-7 weeks of the EDU720 course is how we really can use blended approached [especially ‘flipping’] to help student learning – and how blended approaches encourage us to teach more ‘intelligently,’ stimulating the students to be proactive and self-directed through video podcasts and real world tasks that we set in the time freed up by the flipped approaches.

The more alarming informal feedback was about student engagement with traditional lectures [delivered by me as a ‘sage on the stage’]. Far from my own estimate that maybe 60-70% of the class were reasonably well engaged, with 30-40% less engaged, one student suggested these ratios might be more accurate if reversed – i.e. 35-40% engaged with 60-65% not really engaged/switched off! For me this highlights the importance of trying to move away from traditional approaches to teaching were possible, to teaching methods that encourage more engagement and participation.

 

PGCHE Week 6: Flipped Class: Face-to-face session

IMG_5360It all passed off well. Admittedly there were a number of aspects that were unusual. First, it was a rather relaxed session where the three [excellent] student participants arrived at slightly different times, but this was a function of trying to set up a session out of term time, partly for the purposes of assessment for EDU720 but also partly as a trial for a new BA TV documentary module I am working on. Also with only three participants it felt more like a tutorial. What was good was that the students had really engaged with the ‘flipped’ approach – watching the podcasts in their own time and undertaking the activities before we met up. At the end of the face-to-face session I also gave them a fairly comprehensive feedback questionnaire that looked at the flipped elements, the tasks and the face-to-face session. I’ve not yet received them back but I think this feedback will certainly be really useful to me for my own critical evaluation of the session and teaching approaches.

IMG_5363I am really grateful to Jon Christie who came in especially to be interviewed by about students employability. Freeing up time in the session by using the flipped class approach, meant we could focus pretty much all the time in the session with genuine task of undertaking a television interview, rather than discussing and planning it. These tasks had been done almost entirely on-line, ahead of the session. Given that I already has evidence [written] that the video podcasts had been watched and digested [and I could tell from the video analytics from Vimeo]. The students also reported back that they liked the flexibility this gave them. They had all watched it late in the evening [viewed 5 times – so they had watched it more than once – on a mix of desktops, tablets and mobile phones]. If I had more tech skills I could probably ascertain the specific times they played the clips too.

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The face-to-face seminar felt more of a workshop than a seminar. By the end of it I was starting to thing that I wasn’t doing any teaching. In some senses I wasn’t, but the students were learning through doing [the objective]. I had prepared a powerpoint but I didn’t really use it – so it really was a case of ‘Life Beyond Powerpoint!’ I guided the students in their interview plans but let them run the session, reshape the questions to the interviews they had prepared and then undertake the interviews. They also set up the cameras and decided on the shots. I certainly was a ‘guide on the side” [Aron Sams, 2015].

The interviews the students did [Luke and Amy, with David undertaking camera] were also revealing. I will feedback to them on the ‘rushes’ that they shot – the unedited footage of the interview. The results were very good though. They certainly got the most out of Jon Christie [who was a terrific interviewee]. The questions asked worked well but the interviews went deeper too. There were genuine points in the interview of what anthropologist Jean Rouch [cited in Rabiger 2009: 477] calls “privileged moments,” which in a formative sense really showed just how much the students had collectively ‘got’ how to conduct an excellent TV interview – which was the overall aim of the session.

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Rabiger, M., [2009], Directing the Documentary, Chapter 30: Conducting and Shooting Interviews p.462-482

Sams, A, [2015] Flipped Classroom: The Next Step, YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSKjMsgXc_Q

 

PGCHE Week 5: The work of others

Unknown-1Today I sat in on Tim Leandro’s face-to-face session on Genre in TV Drama. There was a Level 1 BA TV student present who had clearly engaged with the flipped session task of watching an episode of TV drama and spotting the genre points in that piece after having watched Tim’s interesting video podcast. The student had written and excellent piece in response on the TV forum. Also present was Phoebe Herring, fellow PGCHE  student. It was useful chatting about the course and meeting up with a fellow student who I didn’t know and exchanging perspectives. Certainly managing the ‘part-time’ nature of the course, whilst undertaking a more than ‘full time’ job, was a topic that was well discussed! It made me realise the dimension we were missing in not having face-to-face time with each other as students on the course.

Back to Tim’s session, I thought that his video podcast was great – really insightful on the TV drama genres – comedy, soap and crime drama – and their different conventions and approaches to mis-en-scene. I thought that the students would really get something from that session [and I wondered whether mine own podcast recorded at the weekend was a little too light and informal by comparison].

Even in my own approach to Tim’s video I found myself playing it several times, which underscored the utility of having your tutor at your fingertips so to speak and how much students can get from a flipped approach. Tim’s delivery and podcast style certainly also encouraged me to engage with his task – looking at an episode of TV drama and examining its conventions. I chose the opening episiode of the hit BBC drama Happy Valley [pictured] – part uniformed police drama, part soap, but also with a sense of humour.

In the face-to-face session Tim built really well on the video podcast with a seminar that unpacked the genera concepts and conventions more and we watched illustrative clips together. It was a very interesting and revealing session in terms of the particularities of TV drama and their genre conventions and I could sense that Phoebe also got a lot out of the seminar.

I thought Tim could have improved the session even further by getting us involved in the seminar a little more, discussing our findings from the task which we had undertaken in detail together at the outset. Nevertheless, overall Tim makes for a great ‘Sage on the Stage’ [Aron Sams, 2015] and it made me reflect on how it is important, in flipping the classroom, to remember that the pendulum doesn’t swing too much the other way, away from classical teaching with a tutor at the front.

Tim has a lot of TV wisdom to share and his session reminded me of the utility of leading from the front in a more classical approach to a teaching session.  It’s also encouraged me to thing of my opening session tomorrow and how to properly integrate the on-line with the face-to-face element.