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Empowering Staff Empowering Students for Virtual Learning Environments

Empowering Staff Empowering Students for Virtual Learning Environments

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Empowering Staff Empowering Students for Virtual Learning Environments

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  1. Empowering StaffEmpowering Studentsfor Virtual Learning Environments Helen Beetham Research Fellow, SoURCE Paul Bailey Project Manager, EFFECTS

  2. Transformation at three levels • Student learning • Professional development • transformation of individual learning and teaching practice • Organistional development • transformation of collective learning and teaching practice

  3. Opportunities to practice specific forms of communication, (re)presentation, analysis, experimentation, action in the world… Access to learning resources Access to staff know-how Access to other experts and peers… Cultural capital, literacies, critical practices, ‘habits of mind’… Student learning subject-specificcontent subject-specificskills learning skillsmetacognition

  4. New curricula, teaching materials, subject knowledge and expertise New tools for communication, presentation, analysis, discussion, student management… New L&T practices, expectations and standards, learning objectives and outcomes... Professional development resources tools pedagogy

  5. Developing: • C&IT infrastructure • LT funding • LT support • Administration/ management • Developing: • Staff skills • Student skills • Multimedia resources • Networks • Developing: • Status of L&T • Status of LTs • Reward & recognition • Research & development Organisational learning expertise infrastructure culture

  6. Opportunities to practice specific forms of communication, (re)presentation, analysis, experimentation, action in the world… Access to learning resources Access to staff know-how Access to other experts and peers… Cultural capital, literacy, critical awareness, reflection, ‘habits of mind’… Empowering students subject-specificcontent subject-specificskills learning skillsmetacognition

  7. Features of the ‘virtual’ • Distributed • Time- and place-independent • Information saturated • Interoperable • Continuous and discontinuous change

  8. Virtually empowered learners? The proliferation of transactive learning spaces in the age of computer-mediated education signifies that control of the content of curriculum must give place to an explosion of self-crafted, ad hoc, and customized learning modules, where the great historical divide between instructor and student can be found in a state of meltdown... Carl Raschke (1999) Beyond Education: The Age of Transaction and the ‘Scene’ of Digital Learning, Syllabus, Nov-Dec

  9. Virtually empowered learners? [With well designed learning environments] there will be no need for teachers as they are today...instead the focus will be on the employment of the best teachers to assist in the development of computer-based learning using the best curriculum and instructional strategies. Contributor to IFETS discussion list, July 1999

  10. Virtually empowered learners? I reckon it’ll be direct one day. Mind to mind. There won’t be any technology then. Well, there’ll just be that one, the mental one. Student S, March 2000

  11. Virtually empowered learners? While we have undeniably more choice as to what to do in the digital world, it is still not clear that we will be able to filter content in an easy manner, let alone move information back to the sender... The virtual class will be made up of those individuals who have the power, the access, and the best technology Nicholas Negroponte (1992) Being Digital

  12. Virtually empowered learners? It’s just mad now! It’s changing all the time. But it can only go so far, can’t it? What will stop it going any further? People, I guess. But... for every one like me there’s one like him! [Student S] Student A, July 2000

  13. Virtually empowered learners? Sometimes I can’t really find the things that I want [on the web] because... it’s all words so I have to click, click, click and it’s so... frustrating sometimes. I can’t find the right one. Student R, March 2000

  14. What would it mean to be empowered as a learner…? … in a virtual environment • Distributed • Time- and place-independent • Information saturated • Interoperable • Continuous and discontinuous change

  15. activities subject-specificcontent subject-specificskills learning skillsmetacognition interactions New learning outcomes outcomes learner

  16. ‘New’ learning activities • Discovery • Discussion • Analysis and problem solving • Synthesis and design • Reflection, giving and receiving feedback

  17. New learning issues • Functional access • Information literacy • Motivation • Flexibility versus collaboration • Learning styles

  18. Case study: computing science • Large final year module (160 students) • Students did not see relevance of the issues • Poor integration of lecture topics with tutorial discussions • Students had few opportunities to develop critical and social skills

  19. Approach • Seminars splits into sub-groups of 4-5 students • Assessment: 50% group assignment, 50% exam • Lectures introduce theoretical issues • Student groups undertake research into impact areas • Web-based notes provide starting points for research • Students lead seminar discussion • Student groups publish hypertext reports • All students use hypertext archive for revision

  20. Case study: art & architecture • Two student cohorts on different campuses with potential to learn from one another • Complementary practices and critical skills • Different cultures of study and collaboration • Different learning outcomes and assessment criteria • Both cohorts needed authentic, client-based project work with input from professional experts

  21. Approach • Collaboration promoted through joint projects, with outcomes separately assessed • Small number of project briefings • Ongoing asynchronous collaboration through bulletin board and data sharing • Students have write access in project groups, read-only access in all groups • Invited professionals contribute to discussion from their desks

  22. Case study: healthcare • Second year nursing students did not find research methods interesting or relevant • But needed preparation for clinical research in following year • Oriented on a pragmatic, problem-solving approach to learning • Students needed good ICT skills to satisfy professional body

  23. Approach • Problem based learning approach • Research task is broken down into manageable steps • Students required to decide on a course of action each week • Students have access to online resources to support their decision-making process • Decisions are submitted and discussed online, with feedback from tutor and peers • Consensus is reached before moving on

  24. Case study: maths and stats • Compulsory module for a wide range of programmes: large and varied cohort (ca 600) • Current assessment strategy allowed students to avoid stats questions until final exam • Students had poor sense of their own progress • (Hidden issue – at least 10% of students assessed as having some level of dyslexia)

  25. Approach • Computer assisted assessment introduced • Large existing question bank translated • Same question bank used to provide formative assessment and feedback throughout course • Existing inequalities exposed during evaluation • Students can now have time on assessment tasks adjusted to suit individual learning needs

  26. New curricula, teaching materials, subject knowledge and expertise New tools for communication, presentation, analysis, discussion, student management… New L&T practices, expectations and standards, learning objectives and outcomes... Empowering staff resources tools pedagogy

  27. National audit: staff using learning technologies in UK HE • 25% of all HEIs audited • Role analysis of staff • In depth interviews with representative staff • Interviews with senior managers and policy makers • January 2001: final report to JCALThttp://sh.plym.ac.uk/eds/effects/jcalt-project/ • Briefing papers and recommendations to institutions

  28. Key findings: staff skills • Wide range of competences required (40/58) • Generic technical competence • practical application, reflection, critical evaluation… • ‘peer-supported experimentation’ • Interpersonal, pedagogic, strategic skills • mentoring, team working, strategic participation • communities, networks, ‘frameworks for practice’ • archetypal ‘knowledge workers’ • multiple roles and cultures • change agency and staff development

  29. Key findings: staff skills • Academic staff skills • Embed, adapt, translate, review • Curriculum development process • New roles, new collaborations • Scholarship of teaching • Opportunities to innovate, create, move forward institutional practice (as well as meet standards)

  30. Key issues: staff skills • How to promote ‘peer-supported experimentation’ and critical reflection • How to develop collaborative learning within and across institutions • How to develop skills in authentic professional contexts • Short shelf-life of technology-related skills (continuous revolution = lifelong learning) • Accrediting and acknowledging expertise

  31. Professional development • L&T process rather than C&IT skills • Underpinning values & philosophy • Action research • Action learning • ‘a continuous process of learning and reflection, supported by colleagues, with an intention of getting things done. Through action learning individuals learn with and from each other by working on real problems and reflecting on their experiences.’Beaty & McGill (1995)

  32. Generic learning outcomes (7)continuing professional development collective knowledge and practice (2)analyse (1)review individual learning cycle (5)evaluate (3)plan (6)disseminate (4)implement

  33. Empowering staff • New skills and competences • Professional/career development • Research/publication opportunities • Finding solutions • New collaborations with support staff • New learning and teaching dialogues • New peer networks • Control over process of innovation and change

  34. New dialogues in teams … when new ideas are being implemented and ‘non-teachers’ are making the technology work, it is sometimes difficult for me to explain the problems that technology creates within the teaching environment. I have considered learning how to create and use the technologies myself, but I think this would be time unwisely spent …..

  35. New dialogues in teams Practitioner skills required for teaching are different to those required for the development of innovative C&IT. The ability to be able to recognise this difference and employ the skills of people to build programs efficiently and effectively is very important

  36. Coping with student numbers Changes in local practices have also been apparent. There are now dedicated staff to help with the module who deal with the technology and for marking the in-class tests … [This] is also a long term benefit because large student numbers are being managed effectively and expediently. Stress levels of teaching staff have also been reduced!

  37. Transforming practice Sometimes it requires confidence and support to change practice in the face of existing cultures – including the expectations of students: Student: “You mean the lecture is cancelled next week?” Lecturer: “No, it isn’t cancelled. I never planned to have one”

  38. New professional skills [I realised that I needed] to do more work on the evaluation of the learning experience and how the use of new methods of delivery changes this. However, singling out the use of technology for evaluation is, I believe, not appropriate… I am investigating the possibility of more personal development in this area.

  39. Ownership of the process From EFFECTS external evaluation report: in response to the question ‘what were the main benefits of undertaking an EFFECTS programme?’: • ‘‘the opportunity to develop my ideas about this area’ • ‘the freedom to develop a whole course’

  40. New practitioner networks • ‘working with others’ • ‘meeting like-minded people’ • ‘collaborative activities’ • ‘the enrichment of working with (other) lecturers’ • ‘loads of contacts’

  41. Change of role • ‘I’ve become increasingly involved with colleagues regarding the development of online materials’ • ‘I’ve became a member of university PCLI steering group, have now been able to raise funding for a new project’ • ‘I’m now considered the dept expert in LT’

  42. Developing: • C&IT infrastructure • LT funding • LT support • Administration/ management • Developing: • Staff skills • Student skills • Multimedia resources • Networks • Developing: • Status of L&T • Status of LTs • Reward & recognition • Research & development Empowering institutions expertise infrastructure culture

  43. review & research analyse evaluate enable enhance drivers remove barriers Organisational Learning continuing organisational development collective knowledge and practice organisational learning cycle embed

  44. Key findings: institutions • Interdependence of factors • No magic formula • Seven institutional strategies • All require expert staff working in a range of roles and institutional cultures/locations • All depend on empowered change agents, networkers, intra- and entre-preneurs

  45. Conclusions

  46. Empowered students means… • Student learning and ICT skills addressed at every level • VLE integrated into induction process • Starting from learning activities not learning content • Students as creators and designers as well as users of virtual environments • Dialogues with peers, tutors, other experts…

  47. Empowered staff means… • Shared dialogue about practice • Culture of evaluation and critical reflection • Authentic development projects, owned by staff • Collaborative development breaking down barriers • Local drivers and barriers identified with strategic lessons learned • Learning teams and networks (discussion groups, learning sets, mentoring...) • Cohort of innovators and change agents

  48. Empowering institution means • Central vision; local planning and process • Coordination without territoriality • Recruiting, developing and rewarding expertise • Status, credibility and recognition for all staff involved in learning and teaching development • Integrated support for student skills, staff skills, learning resources and infrastructure • Tying innovations funding into professional development • Local lessons, strategic learning • Building internal and external networks