Category Archives: Supporting Virtual Communities

#reflection on Flipping the Classroom

What did you learn today? Reflecting on running an online course and realised that it would be good practice to use online tutoring skills to prepare to flip a classroom
How was it useful? Flipping the classroom involves freeing up class time to deal with assessments and get the students to study in their own time. Lots of literature on this (Herreid, Schiller, 2013), (Tucker, 2012), and loads of websites,( ) raving about it
What thoughts came up ? That if I can do this properly, I could turn each of the subjects in some of my full time modules into short online courses, and use the materials etc. to support flipped classrooms in future semesters!What did you learn? Online courses take a lot of time, but if I can make good re-use of the material then I can reach a wider audience with less work in the long term.
What will you do with the information i.e. what next? Try it out with one subject from my full time F2F courses.

Herreid, C. F., & Schiller, N. A. (2013). Case studies and the flipped classroom.Journal of College Science Teaching, 42(5), 62-66.

Tucker, B. (2012). The flipped classroom. Education Next, 12(1), 82-83.


#reflection on Online Groups

What did I learn today? That working in groups online helps avoid learners falling behind. If one of the group has to step back or is busy with work etc. the group can carry them – but only for so long
How was it useful? I want to try run a short online course, so basing the large activities around group working should increase the chances of success
What thoughts came up during the session?Online communities can be just as strong as F2F ones, the groups I have been involved with so far have been very understanding and great at helping me catch up on my own work…
What did you learn? That it is harder to hide in an online group. There is an online “audit trail” of everyone’s contribution which makes it more obvious who the passengers are
What will you do with the information i.e. what next? I run some project groups and they have been using Google drive for all their documentation. I’m going to start using the activity tracker in Google Drive as one of, but not the only, ways of measuring individual contributions to a group project.

#reflection on Webinars

It’s Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 01:02PM. Time to reflect on the online session.
What was covered in the session today? Attended a webinar with two guest speakers one from Industry and one from Academia.
How was it useful? Very useful insight into online learning and not only seeing what works well but where things are headed.
What thoughts came up during the session? that lots of short sharp bite-sized pieces of information are better for learners and that you really have to be on your game to keep your learners engaged. There is a lot of interaction and input required from the tutor, especially at the start to get things rolling
What did you learn? Yet again the massive time commitment required for an online course. I might see if I can create a small online course to run over the summer, a light SOOC? (Small open online course, you heard it here first folks) What will you do with the information i.e. what next? Pick a subject, find some participants, and create and run the course. Maybe a four week short course…

#reflection on Online Screensharing

What did I reflect on today? That online screensharing is an area that can definitely benefit/change the way we help students. I was reading this article on managing large numbers online
How was it useful? I realised that if I help a student in class with a problem on their screen then only they, and maybe the student either side, get to see what the problem was and what the solution was.
What thoughts came up? That if the student shares their screen online then all participants get to see the issue and the resolution,
What did you learn? That online learning/teaching can be exploited to increase opportunities to teach and to learn, you just need to think about every process/interaction and where the opportunities lie.
What will you do with the information i.e. what next? I need to assemble a number of these “scenarios” and situations and see if I can assemble them into a handbook/toolkit/list of tips

#reflection on online interaction

What did I learn today? There is a great onus on the student to proactively do work and be self-directed for totally online courses. Although I thought the once weekly sessions were not much contact they are surprisingly supportive compared to fully online even with live webinars
How was it useful? I have to build this in to any planning for online courses, the dynamic is different, the connect is different and the online “presence” of the tutor must be very obvious
What thoughts came up ? I need to look at techniques for staying connected to students, live “feeds” twitter visibility, slack, whatsapp, maybe multiple channels.
What did you learn? Online teaching is not just about putting up material, send a few emails and posting in forums. I am doing a bit of that with my face to face students and I can even see loss of engagement if I don’t respond online in a timely manner
What will you do with the information i.e. what next? Practice more with my face to face, maybe flip a class so that material etc. happens online and I can still support and get feedback in the classroom.

#reflection on Wikis for group work

What did I learn today? That getting students to create Wikis is a good way to get online students to collaborate. This was posted by Alan on the MSc discussion boards and it struck a chord with me.Why was it useful? It can potentially solve two issues for me, namely getting my first year students to do group work, and collating a list of technical terms for new and non-native english speakers to use.
What thoughts came up? Happy that I could help the students on a basic level, and improve their learning experiences and maybe even male it an assessment????
What will I do next? I am going to note how the exercise is run on our own course and use it as a basis for creating wikis on my first year networking course.

#reflection on doing assignments

What did I learn today? That group work and assignments can be very rewarding or can get messy, the group I am working in is really pulling together to get everything over the finish line in time. However, some of the student groups I supervise are struggling to act as a group and it is really showing in their output, there is a reduced amount compared to high-functioning groups and the quality is not good.
How was it useful? shows me where we are going right and perhaps apply some of the practices we used to some of my student groups for part two of their projects, things like smartsheet or some other project management tool, a “bonding” exercise?, a few small easily achievable tasks to rebuild confidence.
What thoughts came up? I need to stop every so often and analyse how I feel as a student and relate that to my own students. In every assignment there should be a clear and easy to follow marking scheme which details deliverables, without providing answers of course!
What did you learn? Sometimes as a course progresses the student get pushed to the side in the rush to assess and mark and feed back
What will you do with the information i.e. what next? Over the break I will re-assess my assessment timetable fo rthe upcoming semester and see if there are ways to make it more “sympathetic” and more streamlined for feedback.