Friday, June 11, 2010

Temasek Polytechnic International Conference on Teaching & Learning - day 3

The last day cosists of two workshops sessions, one in the morning with either Prof. David Boud on 'assessment reform in education' and the other with Ass. Prof. Gary Poole on ' Self-directed projects as assignment options'. The second workshop sessions are in the afternoon. Workshop sessions bracketed with one lot of concurrent sessions along with usual refuel /networking sessions.

I chose to attend the session/seminar Ass. Prof. Gary Poole with the other 1/2 of the CPIT team attending the session facilitated by Prof. David Boud. The objectives of Gary's seesion were to define 'self-direction' in student learning, identify key elements of an effective self-directed project option and to begin designing our own self-directed project option. He is keen to use the workshop, where everyone is prepared to come to do the work and shop for ideas as well :) to achieve the session's objectives.

When self-directed projects are used, the logistics, structure and preparation are crucial to ensure students are provided with sufficient support to complete their project. In particular, the negotiation process to agree to criteria for doing the project, meeting project objectives and assessing or evaluating the project is crucial. This allows for moderation of various self-directed projects to ensure parity between various self-directed projects.

After morning tea, last concurrent sessions take place. I attended the sessions which had an academic/ teacher development focus. First up, Tay Sing Leong & Roger Khoo from Insitute of Technical Education on 'staff active and reflective learning (ARL)' to enhance student management. ARL to assist staff with career exploration, public responsibility, leadership development, intellectual pursuits and professional development. ARL should be a facilitated process. The facilitator's role is to encourage active participation, create a safe space be mindful of power and who has it. Provides a forum for support, building a COP and increasing teaching practice skills.

Then 'exploring transnational approaches to educational integrity: A showcase of work of the work of Asian Pacific Forum of Educational Integrity (APFEI)' by Ruth Walker, Tracey Bretag & Julianne East from the University of Woolongong, Australia. Integrity could be academic integrity / educational values (honesty, trust, equity, respect and responsibility). Generally, the onus seems to be on students to imbibe these values and assumption is that there is a shared understanding of the requirements of academic integrity. However, challenges posed by changing student profile including internation, lower socio-economical status students and changes to social conventions on copyright requires a rethink of perception of integrity. Therefore, need to move beyond 'student deficit' but need ot focus on educative rather than punitive approaches; align policies & practices; recognise need for academics, authors and teachers to model ethical practice; realise implications of using digital technologies & changed 'economies of effort' (competing pressures of popular media culture & pedagogical directives). Approaches to help students come to grips with the concept of educational integrity include various strategies around increasing students' awareness of issues.

Final concurrent session was with Lyn Williams & Robin Graham from CPIT run a workshop on 'the complexities of learning be a tertiary teacher: emerging perspectives on the boundaries between formal & informal learning in tertiary teacher professional development'. The presentation covered the development and initial implementation of a newly developed teaching qualification, research proposal to investigate effectiveness of new qualification and feedback on ideas on how the move forward with this project. Background of CPIT & the qualification within a NZ context was firstly covered. Then the research question 'what do new vocational tutors percieve as the significant influences on and themes of their emerging practice for improving teaching to enhance student learning?' was 'unpacked' to explain the direction & focus of the project. A collaborative participatory model is proposed as a research method. Then the audience asked for feedback and suggestions on what methods, questions, gaps etc. would be useful.

In the afternoon, the concurrent workshops ran with Prof. Stephen Brookfield running one on discussion as a way of teaching and the other with Prof. Diana Laurrilard on 'A learning design support environment for collaborative pedagogical innovation'. I attended Prof. Laurrillard's workshop in order to become more familiar with her ' conversational framework'. Outcomes of this workshop / seminar are to be able to appreciate the complexity of the learning design process; a sense of how this might be embedded in a design support environment and how collaborative online design tools could enable lecturers to act 'like scientists'. Collabortive pedagogy innovation includes teachers collaborating, sharing designs or capturing pedagogy, testing pedagogic design and challenging the technology. Theorectical background includes social constructivism, collaboration, constructionist learning and knowledge building. Need for teachers to be reflective practioners (like researchers as reflective practitioners) which means building on work of other teachers; working in collaborative teams of respected peers; seeking ways of rethinking their teaching; being able to experiment, and reflect on results; and disseminating findings for peer review and use by others. Used SMS aggregation system to provide for interactivity during the session.

Introduced the concepts for capturing good pedagogy (iCOPER - standardised description of instructional model) / and Learning Design Support Enviroment (LDSE) as software developed to try to represent methods of teaching. Founded on work of Beetham (2004) - teachers'knowledge is mostly implicit' Oliver et al (2009) & Dernlet et al (2009) - teachers are not used to recording or sharing their teaching methods and Sharpe & Oliver (2007) - process of course design is complicaed and often remains a private, tacit process. Existing learning design representations tend to not allow 'tweaking' so the two examples presented provide for opportunities by practioners to adjust and customise to their own context, student profile / learning and individual teaching pedagogical approaches. A comparison made of these two 'tools'.

Good pedagogy implies alignment between learning outcomes, assessments and learning activities. Activities are categorised by the nature of the learning activities and there should be a focus on learner time (less directed, more self directed learning time).

There are possibilites for taking an existing lesson and formulating a pedagogical pattern which is generic and can then be customised for other contexts. Example at
Opportunity to work through an example was then used to help the seminar participants come to grips with the concept.