Safe bubbles

Yesterday I experienced an adventure. For the first time ever, I had a 5 minutes long presentation in English, at the international conference EDEN. I was invited by Alastair Creelman, who hosted the workshop Collaborative literacy in staff development, to talk about my experiences of being a participant at the ONL course. This is what I said.

 

The workshop focused on virtual mobility and how staff can be prepared for this. Questions like -What barriers are there and how can we overcome them? and -How can we develop collaborative literacy in our staff? were discussed. We used a Padlet as a common pin board. Me and Francisca from Holland, who also participated in the ONL course, attended the workshop via Adobe connect. We had some difficulties to hear what the other participants were saying but it was a fun and challenging experience.

EDEN

One thing that we did hear was a participant who talked about how to prepare colleagues for virtual collaboration by creating safe bubbles. For most of us it is scary to go public, to be judged by others and to dare to take the step out of our comfort zones. Which could be a necessity to experience new things. If the gate to that experience can be opened in a safe and friendly community as the ONL course is I think that is great. I do believe that participation in the ONL course can open up new horizons for lecturers professional world. I hope that some of the participants at the workshop got inspired to try out the next ONL course. It is an experience you don’t want to miss!

Photo: Bubbles by Brandy Hollins (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Self-paced learning

What I should be doing isn´t what I am doing right now. I´m supposed to correct and modify my scheme for next semester. Other things on my ToDo list are,

  • Register participants from CPR-training
  • Construct a new website
  • Fill the new website with useful content
  • Making videos (several) of safe management of central venous catheters
  • Edit a video about parenteral nutrition

Instead of preparing the last things before summer break I found myself searching the internet of how to make learning videos like Khan academy. What software do they use? How do they draw on the “blackboard”? The questions were raised at a meeting earlier this week and I said that I could investigate it and get back to my colleagues. After a quick googling session I now think that I know how they do it.

This is where I would have stopped and getting on with my other commitments. I failed and I couldn’t stop due to lack of self-control.

I remember when Khan academy came, that was long before I was a teacher. It really was a Khan-hype! Salman was everywhere in 2011 and all learning blogs had posts telling the story’s of a former hedge fund analyst. The Twitter feeds were massive about the sensational non-profit academy. A year ago, when I became a lecturer I started to use Khan academy myself and I also recommend some of the videos to my students. It has become a natural resource which I have taken for granted…until now. Today, I realize how amazing the academy is! I´ve been looking on this TED-talk where Salman is talking about humanizing the classroom. He also gives great examples of how videos can be positive for learning. I reflect on self-paced learning and the power of it, because it is essential for understanding and the personal learning curve to learn in a pace that suits you – just you and not someone else. Videos can give students this opportunities.

OK, now I really have to get on with my highest prioritized ToDo task this evening, since I´ve been invited to participate at a Skype connection at the EDEN conference on Friday. I will be talking about my experiences of participating in the ONL161 for 5 minutes. I´m full of expectations!

Photo: Tempo Relativo by Marcelo Maia (CC BY-NC 2.0).

All good things (must) come to an end

First of all I would like to praise Cambridge Dictionaries Online and Google translate for an inexhaustible source of knowledge. Second, I would like to embrace all my group members for being such good friends throughout the whole course period and for making me feel comfortable and safe trying to speak and write in English. In ten fantastic couple of weeks I think I have went from crappy English to good enough English. Thank you PBL group 7!

Yep, so ONL161 has come to an end. It has been an enjoyable experience and some extremely intense weeks. I have loved every second about them but some days I have felt like a violin string due to stress. Just as excited like I was at the beginning of the course just as exhausted I am now at the end. Gosh, I have learned a lot!

I am home from work at 17.30-18. Then it is time to make dinner for the family and homework’s with the kids. Left of the evening is 1,5-2 hours. Twice a week we have had Skype meetings including work before and after. Furthermore, one or two evenings desperately trying to read the suggested articles/videos ect. At weekends trying to catch up what has been missing from last week… The course is far more time consuming then I even could imagine. With that said – the whole course is far more of everything then I could ever imagine!

I have learned to be social in a digital context, both in our great BIG community as well as in our small PBL community. I have made friends with – Beautiful and inspiring smart – Nour from Sudan, Marc – The gentleman – from South Africa, always  – Friendly Darth Wader – Jennifer and – The unforgettable Scottish – Mr Creelman.

I have started my own first blog – The fledglings thoughts – and I think that I have found my way of writing blog post just the way I am (the digital me). I have been practicing my critical thinking by commenting on others excellent blog posts. Learning about openness and sharing. I have participated in inspiring and thoughtful discussions in our PBL group.

There are so many thing that I take with me from this course. One thing that comes into my mind is the positive and sharing atmosphere that has been significant throughout the whole course. I will miss it! Last but not least I would like to thank the ONL-team for designing and facilitating best course ever.

Illustration: Kvinna i färg by Maja Larsson at Knyckenilluku.se

 

Not so digital

OK, so encouraged by my facilitator Mr Creelman and wonderful group member Nour I would like to share a story and an idea for badges with you. It is not digital, it is simple, it is cheap (in a good way) and most of all it works.

A friend of mine is a nurse and works as a care developer. Some of her work includes implementation of guidelines. As a result of this she needed to promote and highlight some topics; nutrition, prevention of injures like fall and ulcer. The whole design of the intervention was less formal. Her ambition was actually to get her colleagues to talk and discuss the different topics. She had set up several stations, at the ward, for the nurses. During the day they could stroll along the corridor and pop in at a station and take part in an education or a discussions group. As an evidence of their participation she gave them a colored paper clip to attach on the uniform (green for nutrition/education, red for ulcer/discussion, blue for prevention of fall injures/discussion ect.)

At lunchtime those nurses who had not kept pace with the others flocked around the stations wanting to participate but most of all get the paper clips in the right colors. What happened next was even more surprisingly – the doctors at the ward started to ask about the paper clips. Why had all the nurses colored paper clips on their uniforms? What did the paper clips stand for? How could they get colored paper clips of their own?

Those patients who were able to mobilize to a station learned about for instance; how to prevent fall when coming home. Even relatives participated in the intervention. They all got colored paper clips.

At the end of the day the the entire workforce including some patients and relatives wore colored paper clip at their uniforms or clothes. The colored paper clips was a sign of their participation in a learning intervention but also a sign of simple motivation.

Level up

Twice a year I am teaching nursing student about how to administrate and handle central venous catheters. One of the learning outcomes is that the students are expected to reflect over risks and how to avoid them. As a motivation factor I will try to add some gamification elements for next term. I have designed different learning activities and everyone of them represent some sort of badge. I´m not sure of that it has to be digital but that would of course be most exclusive. I have to think about how to solve it. Nevertheless, when achieving a task the student earns a badge: recorded lecturer, group discussion, practical skill training (including several skills which merit a badge each), reflection on a dilemma, digital assessment. I am really looking forward to this – let´s level up!

Photo: Medals by Shane (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Safety-net

The big question – Have the students reached the learning outcomes?

When reading about the model “The 7Cs of Learning Design” I fell for the design of the “Consider” activity. At first I was stucked in the thought of reflection but pretty soon I saw something else – feedback!

It is well known that feedback is a motivating factor so why not try to focus on that I thought…?! The more I read the more I came to like the idea of using all the three types of feedback in the same course. Before I had only thought of using one at a time. Now I´m thinking of redesigning one of my courses with feedback from: me as a teacher, peers and by themselves. The three snap links in the picture to this blog post are suppose to symbolize the three different ways feedback can be given. The hand is the students learning process and as I see it the feedback is some kind of safety-net while achieving learning outcomes. So, by designing a course with different sorts of feedback the conditions for learning should be enhanced.

Learning activity with embedded feedback from me as a teacher could be given the student while reflect upon a case-dilemma. Feedback should be given both during and after discussing the dilemma. The discussion could easily occur on Skype. Another way of getting feedback is from a peer. My idea is that a peer observe another peer while solving a task. Afterwards the student can reflect and give feedback on what went well and what can be done better another time. Maybe a checklist, of how the task is supposed to be accomplished is a good idea? Finally the students may use Gibb´s reflective learning cycle as a structure when giving feedback to themselves.

For next term I will try to design something like this and see how that works out.

References
1. Conole, G. (2015). The 7Cs of Learning Design.

Photo: http://www.pixabay.com

 

Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno

Like the three musketeers – one for all, all for one – we teachers can choose to stand together united and strong. I´m thinking of openness and sharing. What if we could share and how do we do it? We have discussed this in my PBL group at the ONL161 course. Our prominent facilitator Alastair Creelman told us about an exclusive fellowship for teachers. The leaders had made a clear and strategic decision about openness. Inclusion into the fellowship was equal to prestige and money. Membership required digital literacy, open to openness and a portfolio of resources shared with Creative Commons.

I talked to the professor at my faculty and YES we do have a policy to “go digital” but as I see it we have a long way to go. It is exciting, isn´t it? The future is ahead of us and we can create it together. I will hereby declare to work for more openness and I will try to be a good example for my colleagues. I have started by contacting a colleges at another institution who is teaching the same topic as I am. We will meet in a couple of weeks and talk about how we can collaborate. Luckily both of us can see benefits by working together. To be continued…

Photo: http://www.pixabay.com

 

Amoeba

Right at the beginning, when I investigated more about open educational practices I came to think of an amoeba. A small and primitive microscopic organism who is single-celled. However the simplicity in this little unicellular organism which may alter its shape as required amaze me due to its flexible and adaptable nature.

Weller and Anderson (2013) is writing about the opportunities and challenges that has occurred in conjunction with the digital revolution. One challenge for higher education and institutions is to have the ability to adapt to digital challenges. The article made me aware of the term “resilience” – how important it is to be elastic and distensible. When reading about different systems capacity to absorb disturbance and to reorganize while undergoing changes I´m back on the amoeba track. How extraordinary for a primitive single-celled organism to adapt to circumstances necessary for its survival. Could we be inspired of this simplicity when accepting the challenge of openness?

 

Reference
Weller, M., & Anderson, T. (2013). Digital resilience in higher education.European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 16(1), 53.

Photo: Amoeba ATC by Tim Ereneta (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Two-edged sword

This week I´ve decided to write about my own experiences of flexible learning. Since I´m new at work as a lecture at Malmö University most of my preferences are from the students point of view. I guess I am a typical non-traditional student (Jones & Walters, 2015). I work full-time, I´m a daughter, a wife and a mother (even a guinea-pig owner).
I´ve passed 40 and the only option for me to study is if the course is being held “flexible”. In other words it has to be web-based without required lectures on campus (at least not daytime). Full-time studies is often too hard to follow so the course pace have to be more slowly. I took my nursing degree for over 20 years ago and meanwhile my life has been going on I´ve been taking my master degree in nursing care and science. Sometimes it has been a struggle and many time it has been pure joy. Without flexibility I had not been able to finally cross the finish line. The more I learn about flexible learning (in topic 4 at ONL161) I realize that flexible is so much more than – Pace, Place and Mode – but I think that my own experiences is giving me the answer to why I would enable element of flexibility into my learning.

Nisar (2004) concludes that one alternative to reach those large groups (of students) in a flexible, cost and time saving way is through learning in a digital environment. The educational material is easily accessible for those whose participation is limited due to their location, which reduces both cost and time (Nisar, 2004). This thing with flexibility is often described as a two-edged sword. For instant it´s great to have access to course content 24/7 but it requires self-control due to the lack of fixed classes and the need of self-discipline to achieve learning (Atack, 2003). Perceived disadvantages with learning in digital environment is the absence of face-to-face interaction compared to traditional learning in classrooms (Atack, 2003; Nisar, 2004). The references are a bit old so this must have been B.S. (Before Skype).

The majority of students that I meet is 20 years old and a traditional “old school student” BUT not all of them are. I wonder if the spectra of student have been different if we offered a more flexible ways to study. At Malmö University´s site  you can read this:

“Malmö University strives to be a university open to all: a university that is structured to cope with our ever-changing job market through a multidisciplinary approach that crosses traditional faculty boundaries.”

Thinking about it – a more flexible approach could be a strategy to reach the goals and to be a university open for everyone. In my own teaching I will from now on try to be even more flexible when I design the learning activities and assessments.

References
Atack L, (2003) Becoming a web-based learner: registered nurses´ experiences. J Adv Nurs, 44(3), 289-297.

Jones, B., & Walters, S. (2015). Flexible learning and teaching: looking beyond the binary of full-time/part-time provision in South African higher education. Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning, 3(1), 61-84.

Malmö University (2016) http://www.mah.se/english/About-Malmo-University/

Nisar T, (2004) E-learning in public organizations. Publ Pers Manag, 33, 79-88.

Photo: Christ of the Apocalypse by Nick Thompson (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Collaboration

In our PBL group, we have discussed about collaboration and if there are any differences between collaboration in digital environments and collaboration face-to-face. The only actual thing that differ is the lost of body languages in some digital environments. Apart from that I can´t come up with much… or maybe also the thing with asynchronous communication. Benefits of asynchronous communication is the possibility for reflection. In digital environments collaborative interactions is made possible by discussion forums, synchronous and asynchronous chats. By comparing the two types of discussion (synchronous / asynchronous) in the digital environment Watson and Sutton (2012) argues that the asynchronous communication is to prefer thus it allows the participants to identify, examine and reflect about problem areas in peace and quiet before sharing their thoughts with others.

Another aspect of collaboration, which has nothing to do with digital environments, is the fact that you have to collaborate with others. You are support to interact with “not of your own choosing-peers” (Brindley et al., 2009). One basic idea with peer-to-peer learning is student activity. The glue of the learning activities the peers are expected to work with is the common goal the peers are sharing. However, in all group work you have to respect the autonomy and independency of the learner. I think this is delicate and a balance act to keep in mind when striving for enhanced learning outcomes. Nevertheless, collaborative learning can contribute in addition to cognitive social learning and motivation to include emotional development. Group processes such as conflict management and feedback are essential ingredients of teamwork and prepare for future cooperation (De Hei et al., 2015). As Wenger (2010) claims, learning is the product of social structure and the learner is a social participant. After all we are only humans…

References
Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. M., & Walti, C. (2009). Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3).

De Hei MSA, Strijbos J-W, Sjoer E, Admiraal W, (2015) Collaborative learning in higher education: lecturers´ practices and beliefs. Research Papers in Educ, 30(2), 232-247.

Watson S, Sutton JM, (2012) An examination of the effectiveness of case method teaching online: Does the technology matter? JME, 36(6), 802-821.

Wenger, E. (2010). Communities of practice and social learning systems: the career of a concept. In Social learning systems and communities of practice(pp. 179-198). Springer London.

Photo: Teamwork by Luigi Mengato (CC BY 2.0)