06 Jul

student expectations of postgrad study and resulting challenges for educators

Back in April, I spoke on a panel of educators at the Postgraduate Student Experience Symposium. I talked about our degree, our students, our students’ expectations of the course, and the challenges my colleagues and I are facing as teachers in a multimodal (online and on campus) Masters degree.

The video of my presentation is now available and embedded below.

There were some great presentations on the day, including a keynote from Professor James Arvanitakis. All the presentation recordings are available on the Symposium website.

In my presentation, I spoke about some of the early findings from a project I’m working on with colleagues, called Refining the blend: developing a student centred framework for multimode education. I’d like to acknowledge those colleagues here. The project team is comprised of myself, Professor Helen Partridge, and Dr Elham Sayyad Abdi. We’re supported by a great team of research assistants, namely Katya Henry, Lynn McAllister, Clare Thorpe and Jen Thomas. More about the project.

04 Jun

Using social technologies for connected learning

Last month I presented on using social technologies for connected learning at a QUT Twilight Teacher PD event for school teachers.

It was a lot of fun and led me to discover what I’m sure will be my next hobby: making programmable wearables. I have visions of sewing conductive thread through Miss 6’s Elsa dress and making snowflake necklaces. Zomg!

But programmable wearables aren’t the point of this post. The point of this post is to share a recording of my presentation. I broadcast this live using Periscope on my iPhone and I’ve got Periscope set to automatically save videos to my camera roll. The light was quite low in the room, so apologies for graininess. I’ve retrospectively synced the video with slides. There are a few dodgy edits at the very end where I’ve chopped out questions you couldn’t hear.

In the video, I mention I will make my rubric for assessing contributions to the learning community available. You can find it in an earlier blog post.

03 Jun

The role of academic libraries in connected learning

Earlier this year, I spoke at ALIA Information Online about my approach to teaching and learning, which you might call connected learning.

The presentation was designed to be an overview of my approach to teaching, and a provocation. I wanted to encourage dialogue around the way academic libraries currently engage with students. I told the audience that I don’t want a liaison librarian to run a two hour information literacy training session for my students. I’d rather they spent two hours engaging with my students in our online learning spaces. For example, I’d love to have a liaison librarian comment on my student blog posts, to help them with finding and citing resources in an appropriate way.

Teaching the way I and some of my colleagues do means that traditional approaches to librarians trying to embed themselves in courses just don’t work any more. I do most of my engaging with my students online in a learning community. I need the library to be there with me.

While academic libraries are great at providing static resources to help students with learning, I am increasingly aware that it is personal engagement that makes the connected learning model work. I think we’ve seen this play out in MOOCs, where many of the failings in the MOOC model have been about lack of interactivity. Connectedness and community are incredibly important because fundamentally, learning is social.

In my presentation, I emphasised that while I’m not the sage on the stage, I also don’t want to be the guide on the side. Instead, I am in the learning community with my students, facilitating, managing the community, curating resources and sharing. I’m in there as a co-learner.

I finished the presentation with a challenge. I asked academic libraries to consider where they sit, whether they’re in our learning communities or poised to jump in there, and what role they might play.

I am genuinely interested in having a conversation about this because I don’t have the answers. I’m interested both as an educator who wants to draw on the services of academic libraries more, and as a librarian and teacher-of-librarians.

I believe academic libraries need to rethink the way they do business and find ways to engage with learners that work for new and emerging approaches to online education. The library at my own institution have been very supportive in this. Our liaison librarian has created resources for us and jumped into an online community for one of our units. But I’m not sure to what extent this is the norm.

Do you have ideas about how academic libraries could embed themselves in connected learning communities? Or maybe you’re an academic who sees a need or opportunity. I’d love to have a broader conversation about this. Please share your ideas or questions in the comments.