Category Archives: Instructional Design

#reflection on Teachers as learners

What did I learn today? Read an article today that resonated with me here How was it useful? It reminded me that we need to craft the experiences for our learners to suit them, not us. But also, we need to reflect on and record the steps we take when we learn something for the first time, especially if we will be teaching. It’s good to capture the thought processes we usedto help our undertanding and build it into our teaching. What thoughts came up ? We don’t often have to learn a new technology ourselve (for teaching) but when we do we should document and reflect on the process. What will I do with the information i.e. what next? Try it out with some new peice of software I am thinking of using in the class, see how I approach the learning and try to think through explaining or sharing that thought process with others. Image of the process a teacher goes through when learning


#reflection on MCQs

What did I learn today? That I have to be careful with the words I use in multiple choice questions. IImage of figure sitting on a large question mark ran an online quiz for first year students but many of them struggled with some words which were not on lecture slides

How was it useful? My focus was on the questions, it should have been on the person giving the answer

What thoughts came up ? I need to check my questions for terminology, maybe use the concept of a persona when testing the quiz

What did I learn? It all comes back to the student and keeping them at the centre of each experience.

What will I do with the information i.e. what next? Include it in my list of checks for assessments, and do it when verifying other’s assessments.

#reflection on Learning and Context

What did I reflect on today? Putting information in context and trying to preface information with some stimulating questions. It’s a technique mentioned by Tyler Griffin here

How was it useful? I always leave a space aftera number of slides for students to ask questions, using this technique I could insert some slides BEFORE the material with questions students need to ask themselves.

What do I think? It could work well but requires a bit of editing of lots of slides, however, if it improves engagement and retention then the payoff will be worth it.

What did you learn? There are so many ways to stimulate thinking and to get students engaged, this one might help, it’s not a magic bullet but is very simple and worth a try, even in one or two classes.

What will you do with the information i.e. what next? Change some slides for the next week or so and see if it works or if I notice any difference (this might be quite subjective) and try work out what are the questions that will make most sense to students?

#reflection on group assessments

What did I reflect on today? That assessing groups, especially large groups of groups manager-308474_960_720needs to be “straegically” managed. I was reading a blog post by Fiona Saunders here and it got me thinking about the assessments I currently use for students

How was it useful? I liked her mantra of “meaningful”, “equitable”, and “manageable”, I think from now on I will put those three words at the top of every assessment I am writing to help me compose something that is appropriate to the course I am teaching (meaningful), fair to the students (equitable), and does not overload me with work to correct and feedback quickly (manageable)

Any other thoughts? The same mantra could be applied to other aspects of my teaching such as lecture preparation, but I am going to start with assessments first and then possibly expand its use.

What did you learn? That lots of Lecturers face the same challenges as me, and the “Equitable” aspect is something I feel is important, after all, it’s about the students not the teacher.

What will you do with the information i.e. what next? I have amended the template that I use for all assignment instructions to include the Three Little Words, as I write each one going forward I’ll take a few minutes to consider if I have met my own criteria, I’ll keep refining assessments as I know perfection will never be achieved which is good because where’s the fun in that??

#reflection on Flexible Deadlines

What did I reflect on today? Allowing Students to set their own assessment deadlines
How was it useful? I gave an assessment in class with a tight deadline – 24 hours and immediately the reasons why people couldn’t do it in time started coming in
What thoughts came up? At first I was annoyed and sceptical, but as I listened I realised some reasons are valid and allowances would have to be made.
What did you learn? There is some research out already on allowing students to set their own deadlines (within guidelines) and it could be argued that the longer they give themselves, the less time they have for subsequent deadlines. If education is supposed address student needs then this is a good option.
What will you do with the information i.e. what next? Next semester I will try this out, I just need to read a bit more about it from sources such as Moscardo (2009), and Pacharn, Bay, & Felton (2013)

Moscardo, G. (2009). Meeting your own deadlines: Introducing flexibility into student assessment. Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism, 8(2-3), 119-138

Pacharn, P., Bay, D., & Felton, S. (2013). The Impact of a Flexible Assessment System on Students’ Motivation, Performance and Attitude.Accounting Education, 22(2), 147-167.

#reflection on Constructivist approaches and Schema

What was covered in the session today? I was teaching about the differences between different equipment types and I asked students to do some research and put it in their own words.
How was it useful? My goal was to get them to start learning about the differences in different pieces of network equipment so they would understand how each device worked and how it handled traffic. I also asked them how they would explain it to a non-technical user, but I found a lot of their explanations were still quite technical and I could’t tell if they understood or were just parroting back what they had found on the web.
What thoughts came up during the session? I was trying to figure how to confirm that they were understanding what they were reading and trying to get them to use non-computing analogies, in other words draw from their existing knowledge and relate it to this new knowledge.
What did you learn? Having debated the question with quite a few groups I came up with a “third person” who they had to use for their explanation – their Mothers!, this is also probably drawing on the idea of pesonas which we used in instructional design.
What will you do with the information i.e. what next? I might use the Mother/persona idea again to help them construct their knowledge from existing models, it was a very useful exercise and did “force” them to think a lot more about what they were reading..

#reflection on TPACK

What I learn today? About a framework called TPACK for evaluating in teaching, it stands for Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge can be found here
How was it useful? Serves as a way of balancing use of technology and teaching and content.
What thoughts came up during the session? That this is a useful way to examing the balancing act that we need to do between teaching, technology, and content. I have mostly just looked at teaching and technology but content and CONTEXT are important and must be considered.
What did you learn? More of an affirmation of my own beliefs that technology is an enabler but not a solution.
What will you do with the information i.e. what next? Read more, especially from the two authors , as it certainly seems appropriate to my current studies.

#reflection of Pre-Class Resources

What I learn today? Found a paper on pre-class resources by Donnelly & Seery (2012)
How was it useful? It could help reduce the cognitive load on students before and during class. If they have some familiarity with what will be coming up, even terminology, it could help with classes
What thoughts came up? This will tie in nicely with feedback I got from International students last semester on the amount of information they are trying to process in class and through my notes
What did you learn? That there is lots of work out there that I can draw on to help prepare for my classes/courses
What will you do with the information i.e. what next? Contact the authors and also examine whether or not this would be a suitable method/model for helping to flip the classroom.

Reference : Seery, M. K. and Donnelly, R. (2012), The implementation of pre-lecture resources to reduce in-class cognitive load: A case study for higher education chemistry. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43: 667–67

#reflection e-Portfolios

What was covered in the session today? We presented our e-portfolios to each other but we also explained the rational behind design choices and content choices. How was it useful? It showed where everyone is in their work but it also generated a lot of ideas that could be incorporated into our own work. It was great to see the different ways to present, organise and most importantly what to include. What thoughts came up during the session? At the moment there is an obvious divide between the content and the presentation with different people falling on different sides of the fence. There is a great opportunity to help each other with our strengths and weaknesses. What did you learn? The portfolio is an important academic and personal resource, I thought if it purely as a piece of coursework but have now come to regard it as a very important personal resource which I need to develop further. What will you do with the information i.e. what next? Schedule in some regular time every week to work on the e-portfolio and look at ways of getting students to construct something similar for themselves. It could also be assessed as part of their web design course.

#reflection on “Millenials”

What did I learn today? That our students are not as digitally savvy as we might think. A few students have issues understanding about cloud storage, file management locally and online services
How was it useful? Made me think about building this into tasks BUT not to over tax student’s cognitive load
What thoughts came up during the session? Could I turn this into a class or an entire module?
What did you learn? Digital stereotypes are dangerous
What will you do with the information i.e. what next? Jot down a few ideas on “digital skills”