Final Reflections and Summary

For anyone who has read my blog from the start, you’ll recall I quoted from a favourite song ‘Town Called Malice’. Another line: “I could go on for hours and I probably will” reflects quite explicitly what I’ve found to be true about using my Blog.  What a supportive and useful tool it has been, and not least because it’s provided the basis for some final reflections today (and earlier this week) that summarise my thinking and learning from the SBOE module.

As a result of reflecting on my past posts, I’ve found myself creating several reflective entries during this final week and have been able to reflect even more deeply on my participation, learning, and current (and future) online practice.  It’s my aim to keep this final post concise to avoid you, the reader, having duplication of reading effort – let’s see if I can do that successfully.

Let’s commence…

Referring back to the Chinese New Year on 19th February I set myself four LOs to support my learning goals, and provide a platform for reflection and summary. Here is my review of the four:-

LO 1. Explain how my student-led seminar helped improve my literacies?

At first I perceived that my own student-led seminar would have most impact on the achievement of this LO, however I can safely say that I learned and progressed my digital (and other) literacies over the whole suite of seminars. Examples from each:

  • Unit 1 – proved the challenges of engaging students in discussion boards. Also our tutor provided an great example of what a simply constructed Moodle seminar could look/sound/feel like – handy for us in the 1st student seminar as we only had days rather than weeks to complete our seminar design
  • Unit 2 – found me in the role of online teacher and I learned how providing the right technical environment and learning space is critical to student engagement.  Also that copyright infringement must be avoided particularly when publishing online. (also see my reflective Blog posts specific to this seminar on 10th April)
  • Unit 3 – my first seminar as a participant, and it also provided an opportunity to reflet on the participant-impact of my student-led seminar (also see my reflective Blog specific to this seminar on 12th April)
  • Unit 4 – encouraged a look into the online future, this seminar captured my imagination and was inspirational on a few levels (also see my reflective Blog specific to this seminar on 20th April)

LO 2. Incorporating SBOE learning to improve my online and blended practice

As described in other blog posts, not only my own practice but that of colleagues in my team, and wider student support organisation, have benefitted from what I’ve begun to incorporate in my online teaching practice. What I also want to add as evidence for this LO is the opportunities I’m already identifying in my school consultant role to improve and expand online practice and provision. For example:

  • School of Marketing, Tourism & Language’s new Tourism & Hospitality Yr3 Live Project in Hong Kong (HK): this may provide an opportunity to replicate Confident Futures learning interventions provided on-campus in the UK, and the provision already in place for Yr3 Marketing in HK
  • School of Nursing Midwifery & Social Care are due to launch an Adult nursing programme in Singapore: again there may be opportunity to replicate the UK student experience using the 3 annual Confident Futures interventions

Given the opportunity to introduce these interventions, I will approach it using my existing blended education methodology, and the online design I’ve devised during SBOE and described in my posts of 27th February and 20th April  for the workshops: Knowing Yourself & Others and Creating Convincing Proposals. These opportunities will also support the universities strategies: to deliver excellent personalised student experiences and internationalise our work.

Finally for this LO, I have also become more open to, and aware of, new information and practices being disseminated around the university and the wider world of online learning, so I regularly attend webinars and lunch time online sessions.  See my blogs: 1st March and 25th April that explain my experience, my learning and the action I intend taking as a result.

LO 3. Improving my confidence in engaging colleagues in online provision 

As described throughout my blog, I have found a new confidence in not only describing the benefits of introducing / increasing online learning interventions but also in engaging colleagues to utilise existing and new online provision to improve wider teaching practice.  So not only am I in a better position (due to increased knowledge and practice) of identifying what makes an great online teacher but also how I can support others to demonstrate these qualities too.

See my blog post on 25th February for a deeper sense of my personal learning and my blog post of 25th April on how I’ve increased my effectiveness in supporting colleagues, e,g, Careers and the Student Mobility teams.

LO 4. Engaging more efficiently in the suggested reading and practising reviewing the literature clearly into my learning

The two major influences that have supported me in this LO have been the debating team exercises in units 3 and 4 and the use of this Blog.

The debating exercises have supported me to engage more widely with recommended reading than I might have. Because I was encouraged to review from different viewpoints I have experienced the benefits of putting forward an argument in a more academic and less personal way, which also meant that any counterargument was a response to the argument and not the individual. A liberating and eye-opening experience that I aim to practice using in academic discourse with colleagues in future.

Reflecting on my Blog I perceive that as I progressed with my blogging my writing  became more linked to theory and research. I began to link my findings with past, present, and additional reading and research.  My Blog posts have also directed my thoughts on improving teaching practice through reflections on: retention, support, engagement, barriers to learning, and successful ‘collaboration to learn’. I have also recorded how I put learning into practice through practical application of: leading a seminar, gamification and improving my own, and my team’s, online practice.

What I believe I have successfully kept in my Blog posts is authenticity. I have aimed to keep my reflections accessible, and a true representation of what I have gained through this module – not what I think others want/expect to read. My reward has been that I’ve truly enjoyed the blogging experience and also developed my authentic style to include more academic thinking.

NB…For a mid-module update on how I was progressing towards some the LOs through the seminars, see my post dated 8th March

A further 3 key learning areas within SBOE are:

  • In my post on 25th April I summarised my experience as both seminar leader and participant. To do this I used a framework of 10 recommendations from other online professionals to measure both the SBOE cohort’s activities and my own personal practice. I uncovered many good practices and shared the major ones in this post
  • The usefulness of my ‘Between The Blog’ entries are described in my post on 23rd April. I was surprised that not only did these posts remind me of learning challenges I encountered but also that they encouraged further reflection and research i.e. around retention. They guided me to focus on the barriers to learning that online students can encounter, and sometimes leave learning as a result of. Simpson (2013) introduced me to four classifications of these barriers, as put forward by Morgan & Tam (1999) which I’d never previously reflected on in any depth.  The 4 classifications are:
    • Situational
    • Dispositional
    • Institutional
    • Epistemological
  • A model that really resonated with me was Garrison and Anderson’s ‘Community of Inquiry’ (CoI). This model has allowed me to understand and explain that I am very influenced to learn through Social Presence, however I must take into consideration that not everyone is as influenced by this presence as I am. I made several posts referring to this model but the one that includes the ‘so what’ for my future practice is on 12th April where I included some thinking around ensuring that when I design for online, I cover all thinking and learning preferences.

In conclusion…

I haven’t kept this final post short but hopefully, by including direct links to previous Blog posts, I have been reasonably concise. Actually my challenge was not so much what to include in this summary, but what to leave out and I hope, when I reflect back on this post I don’t regret leaving something out.

I have really appreciated electing to use this Blog for my SBOE individual project, so much so that it is my intention to write a Blog for module 3 of the PGBOE to support my reflective and theorist learning practice and development.  Finally, I’ve produced a list of references used over all my posts which I’m providing as an attachment rather than elongate this final post.

M Andrew References used in Individual Project Blog 2014_15 Tri2

Goodbye dear reader, and if you’d like to join me on my journey through module 3, look out for my next PGBOE Blog commencing in September 2015 😀

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