Reflecting on teaching, teaching and more teaching

Reflections in EssoauiraI’ve got a really busy couple of weeks in the run up to the Christmas break. Last week I started teaching on LSE’s Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education with my colleague Dr Claire Gordon, who is a part time educational developer and a part time lecturer in LSE’s European Institute. Claire and I were tasked with embedding learning technology and information literacy into the PG Cert. We’ve been planning our contribution to each of the five modules since the summer. We are running our sessions twice per week and start off with a reading group on Monday and Tuesday, then run workshops on Thursday and Friday. Last week’s reading groups attracted almost 30 participants in total. Our workshops a similar number! We discussed a reading about what teacher’s think e-learning is useful for: Gonzalez, C. (2010) What do university teachers think e-learning is good for in their teaching,. Studies in Higher Education, 35 (1), 61-78.

In our workshop we have a number of activities where participants are asked to consider their own teaching and their experiences of using technology. We then look at some of the key terms (e-learning, distance learning, blended learning) and definitions. Then we present an overview of three key technologies used at LSE: Moodle, lecture capture and personal response systems (PRS). To showcase best practice in Moodle we’ve worked with colleagues in CLT to design a virtual tour of Moodle, which highlights some of the more interesting uses of Moodle – as opposed to the run of the mill course that simply is a repository for lecture notes and readings. We had a healthy mix of critics and enthusiasts attending our session and everyone seemed to like the final session where we used PRS – partly to showcase it, but also to test the group’s knowledge of ‘support services’ at LSE. So we had devised a number of scenarios where a student had a particular problem (such as struggling with academic writing) and who would be best placed to advise them. One issue that many of our participants have raised is the use of Moodle to provide students with all their readings. There’s a real concern that student’s don’t know how to use the library any more. It’s really interesting to hear information literacy issues described by teachers who don’t use the same language as librarians but understand the issues perfectly.
This week we’re delivering sessions on using technology for assessment and feedback. We’re expecting second year’s to attend these sessions, to will cover some of the ground in last week’s sessions. We’ll also be getting participants to try out creating some audio feedback and slides using the PRS. I’m really enthusiastic about teaching on this course and enjoying team teaching with Claire. Eventually we’re be making our PGCert teaching resources available as part of the DELILA project, via the teaching repository that will be set up next spring.
In addition to the PG Cert, last week I ran a one day course in Manchester for the CILIP Information Literacy Group last Wednesday with Matt Lingard, for a group of librarians on developing your web presence. Our resources from the session are available on Diigo. I’ve also just got one more session for PhD students tomorrow as part of the information literacy course MI512. Maria Bell and I have been working really hard on the programme this term and last week’s slightly over ambitious ‘managing information’ session covered citing, referencing and Endnote. Our final session tomorrow is Keeping up to date and largely unchanged from previous year’s which makes it a little easier! All this teaching is certainly keeping me busy!

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