The beginning of a new Faculty role

So after the summer break, students have arrived on mass to be introduced to the new city, the university, the various student associations, the student culture by the older students dressed up in some colourful boiler suit covered with patches from various interests and activities the student has accomplished over their time at the University. The woop… wooping has died down, the different types of music blaring out in different locations at campus are replaced by doors shutting and the learning begins.

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I can’t help but reflect on the different leadership roles they will be meeting whilst learning in their different learning styles and wonder how they will perform, conform or quite simply leave and pursue another direction all together.

They will most likely meet a Hierarchical Individual leader, some one who makes sure they focus on clear performance targets, bringing the external requirements from Academia into the work & practice of their teaching, they will also meet many that are a Hierarchical collective leader who will add values and norms to their lessons building relationships with their students so that they build a strong community together based on trust (but only the trust that does not require input from all the students), before a decision can be made.
But there are 2 other leader types they will meet if they are lucky, (though I am biased of course) which are very few and far between:
The Distributed individual leader, a leader that responds to learner needs, who is not afraid to embark on new entrepreneurial ways of teaching and who likes to inspire a team of collaborators with diverse knowledge and skill-sets.
And the Distributed Collective leader, someone who inspires individuals to operate in networked relationships, motivating the students to share resources they have found and create a community of practice.

The beginning of the new leadership/faculty roles in education has begun. I am facilitating the course at KTH I took last spring, we have 12 enthusiastic faculty members that will be starting a new Open networked learning course in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet, Lund University, Linnaeus University, (Sweden) and Independent Institute of Education (IIE) (South Africa).
This course is to teach our faculty to involve inquiry into their own practice, give them an opportunity to explore and try collaborative learning in an open online learning environment with colleagues from different universities, disciplines and cultures (nationally as well as internationally).

It’s a matter of choice of what type of organisation we want to work in, what type of learning environment we want to work in, but also as a leader we need to be responsible in shaping that environment.

As EdX Rob Lue Faculty director quoted in Leaders of Learning
“I’m quite convinced that leading in digital education does require a taste for uncertainty. That ultimately, actually, I think leading in general requires a taste for uncertainty.There’s nothing I can think of where everything is certain. I do think what’s important, or exciting, in fact, about the space that we’re in right now in terms of digital education, is that the landscape is changing. So that we need to build an organisation and a leadership style that allows for a process of learning, a process of deep adaptation, as the environment changes very dramatically”.

References

 

The future of Higher Ed

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The last 6 weeks ONL course has turned out to be enlightening, provocative, fascinating and engaging on how to pedagogically use technology in the classroom. We went through the benefits and advantages of using technology and also the conceivable risks and pitfalls. I really enjoyed every week, writing my personal reflections on a blog, reading what my worldwide colleagues had to say and commenting on their views of the topic.

We have read articles by famous educational developers, watched films, attended webinars, learnt about new tools, collaborated and discussed our learning’s within our groups. We have also created presentations using various tools about our findings to the whole community and giving and taking feedback. Before I went on this course I already knew a lot about technologies & tools in both business and institutions but what I learned from this course was the “why” we should use them and the “how” we can use them especially for deeper learning.

We know that today’s students are pretty much the same as yesterday’s students but the only difference is that they know more about technology than we do right now, but what they haven’t learnt yet, is how to do the thinking part.

This is where the teacher role comes in; a lot of teachers still need to learn about how to use the technology to promote the “thinking process” in students. The one topic that sticks out in my mind and one that I do have a bit of a passion for is blended/flexible learning: today in 2016, I believe that it is still important to have the social face-to-face interaction for the students to reflect & think, alongside with other colleagues of learners and of course a teacher that is a good leader or mentor.

How do we get there?
I work at a Swedish university and can only reflect on what I see here in Sweden but what I do see is that there needs to be a huge change in these institutions and sooner rather than later because the waves of the new generation of students are knocking on the doors (or in todays terms searching on the web) already wanting to learn about facts, figures and how to think so that they can get a good job.
Institutions are lagging behind and are in need of a new teacher role definition, a new support structure to help them move into 21st century education, not just support on the tools provided, but also learning design support. Some more importance and investment is needed on the value of teachers & pedagogy in higher education whether online or blended, so the teachers are motivated to make the design changes in their classrooms.

If we move now not only will the Institutions see the ROI (Return on Investment) by increased student pass rates but also the new target group of Millennial students will also see their ROI and how they can shape the future of human civilisation.

Some thoughts on the future of education:

 

 

A sustainable future with Flexible learning

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The education system is in need of a complete face-lift. We really have to start believing that there are students with different learning styles just as we know today in our every day lives that people have different cultures, religions and backgrounds.

Much of the heavy lifting will need to be done by governments reinvesting more money in higher education, as universities and colleges have already done much of what they can do to become cost-effective. In the view of many colleges and university presidents, the three main factors in higher education—cost, quality, and access—exist in what is called an iron triangle.

To improve the student success and throughput rates = flexible learning.

Dr Martha Cleveland Innes, Professor and Chair of Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University and a guest professor at our university KTH (Royal Institute of technology) held a webinar on Flexible learning. Here are some of her reflections and experiences on how to move forward.

What does flexible learning look like?
“There is no commonly accepted meaning globally; rather flexibility is a wide range of responses to different situations, to different needs, underpinned by different discourses. Therefore, “flexibility” needs to be clearly defined and articulated institutionally, or it can lead to division, multiple contesting discourse and the duplication of efforts and resources…” (Jones & Walters, 2015: 65)

Flexible Learning in a Flexible Society
Boland H. G. (2005) “Whatever happened to postmodernism in higher education? No requiem in the new millennium” The Journal of Higher Education 76 (2): 121-150.

  1. The learner is empowered and can assist in the customisation of learning.
  2. Flexible learning needs to be wrapped around the students’ needs
  3. Flexible learning that can fit around students’ complex lives
  4. Flexible curriculum design with flexible assessment (offered through choice)
  5. Flexible admission criteria
  6. Flexible delivery options (on-line/on-campus; accelerating and decelerating)

At Athabasca University they are already one of the forerunners in using flexible learning in the classroom and have an open course called Learning to learn online
to help their teachers through this process, they even have instructional designers to help them with the course design to including flexible ideas, how fabulous is that? Something I believe all Universities need to invest in so the teachers can get up and running into flexible learning.

Some of the challenges she mentions in flexible learning were:

  • Getting faculty on board to Identify these new ways of teaching,
  • Lack of time to redesign courses
  • Leadership investment, we need to know about leadership so we are ready for the changes that are coming.
  • The need for Instructional designers

I like the way Jones, B., & Walters, S. (2015)  describe the delivery of learning in their article:

  • Pace, includes accelerated and decelerated programmes and degrees; learning part-time; arrangements that allow learners to ‘roll on/roll off’ (‘stop in/stop out’);
    Place, can relate to work-based learning with employer engagement; learning at home, on campus, while travelling or in any other place, often aided by technology which can enable the flexibility of learning across geographical boundaries and at convenient times.
  • Mode’ includes the use of learning technologies to enhance flexibility and enrich the quality of learning experiences, in blended or distance learning and in synchronous and asynchronous modes of learning (Tallantyne, 2012: 4; Gordon, 2014).

In a previous blog post on  Designing courses to facilitate meaningful learning I wrote here on how we need to think about what the Intended learning outcomes are and which teaching and learning activities we could use with technology enhanced learning. It was written last year but now after this ONL course I can see many more new ways of being flexible with IL’s & TLA’s.

References:

Digital Literacy and the digital me

As part of our #ONL161 course course we have been told to blog a post about our digital presence on Social Media, Here is my overview with the Xmind mindmap tool

Digital Me

Before I started working at KTH, I had been working with social media strategies for private companies for 8 years. I organised social media events and worked with the company’s online presence mainly for sales & marketing reasons increasing their online presence and online sales. When I started at KTH I was quite eager to use what I had learned from the private sector and put it to use for learning but soon realised that most of the teachers had little or no digital presence for their professional purposes.

As part of our group work we are working on Digital Literacy, I found it very interesting so decided to post on this area as well.
Several universities have started projects in Digital Literacy for both students and teachers. Coming from the private sector and in the role of employing new staff, I know how important it is for our social media natives to have a professional presence online.

All universities are confronting the same difficulties with digital literacy, so I believe we really need to start learning from each other.

So what does Digital Literacy mean?
Digital literacy is “The capability to use digital technology and knowing when and how to use it.” (Rubble, M. and Bailey, G.  (2007). Digital Citizenship in Schools. Eugene, OR: ISTE, p. 21)

The main issues that we need to cover are:

  • How do we inspire our teachers to do it?
  • How could we make digital literacy support sustainable
  • How can we make digital literacy a desire instead of just a couple of teachers being passionate about it?

Cornell University in Ithaca New York has created a great website with information about Digital Literacy this is an excerpt from their page:

“Digital literacy is an important topic because technology is changing faster than society is. The rules of appropriate behaviour in these digital contexts may be unknown or unknowable. Well-established concepts such as copyright, academic integrity, and privacy are now difficult to define, as their meanings are in flux”.

They have a FAQ page on using the Internet to research topics which I found a brilliant source for information.

A guide to help teachers in mapping out digital literacy with students
This video created by David White, researcher, University of Oxford uses the mapping process which is an output of  Jisc funded by ‘Digital Visitors and Residents’ project in collaboration between Jisc, Oxford, OCLC and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
“We need to understand learners personal digital literacies before ploughing into ‘supporting’ them” David White
Here is a great overview on how you can map it out with your students from David White

 

Developing digital literacies for working in a digital world
I love to listen to podcasts whilst on my journeys to and from places here is a radio program that was recorded for the Jisc project
http://jisconair.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2012/05/23/developing-digital-literacies-2/

“Universities and colleges have a responsibility to develop students into individuals who can thrive in an era of digital information and communication – those who are digitally literate are more likely to be economically secure. But it’s not just about employability – increasingly digital literacy is vital for learning itself”. From the radio program page.

A vision of students today

This video made me reflect……  we have a lot of work to do.

The students of today and the future are already learning online via youtube, Wikipedia, google etc… Top world rank universities have started adapting to the trend by integrating online education into their system and even MIT announced in October 2015 to take a big step to combine free online classes MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) with its traditional on campus instruction.

Designing courses to facilitate meaningful learning

Education is about conceptual change, not just the acquisition of information, the acquisition of information in itself does not bring about such a change, but the way we structure that information and think with it does.

(Biggs what the student does 1999).

It has been a while since I taught so I chose the 2 activities that I used with my students previously. After reading John Biggs “What the Student Does teaching for enhanced learning” It’s not what teachers do, it’s what students do that is the important thing. I can see now when I taught that a lot of the time the students didn’t always have a clear picture of what was expected of them. If I was to design the activities differently now in the role play activities I used in classes:

  • I would have considered them to re-act the role-play in their own language.
  • Have them maybe modify the role play activity themselves instead of me feeding them with the content and situations

 

Teaching and learning activities – 2 of the activities I used a lot see picture below 

What the teacher does

The activity

What the student does

  • Decide which reaching materials are to be used
  • Select a situation
  • Dialogue initiation
  • Evaluate effectiveness

Role plays

  • Interact
  • Decide on the roles
  • Improvise a dialogue
  • Listening to each other
  • Create a situation

What I wanted

  • Enable the quieter students to be heard
  • Listening, and understanding
  • Practice applying their new knowledge before they have to face the real world.

 

  • Set the writing task
  • Walking around
  • Observing
  • Encourage
  • Relate the students ideas to topics learnt

Group activity

”Think, Pair Share”

  • Make notes
  • Share ideas with each other and eventually to all the groups
  • Give feedback to each other

 

What kind of TLAs (Teaching & learning activities) is required for students to learn the desired outcomes effectively?

TLA

Various routes can be taken to reach a particular goal and students do not start from the same points of departure (P 190 in Academic Teaching) is a good start in defining the activities, learning activities are chosen both according to the outcomes and according to the students personalities.

“We have first to be clear about what we want students to learn, and then teach and assess accordingly in an aligned system of instruction” (Biggs, 1996), 

He then goes on in his article to talk about assessment is needed to address the objectives to see if they have learned what they are supposed to have learned. The assessment in a blended learning environment could come already within the lecture. Something that is close to my heart is blended learning. By using technology enhanced learning tools like clickers we can assess the situation on the fly, ask the student if he/she has understood by getting them to click yes or no during the lecture. The teacher will then know to move ahead with the lecture or go back on some points. Biggs call this network constructive alignment.

“There have been many valuable applications of constructivism, particularly to science and math teaching (e.g. Cobb 1994, Driver & Oldham 1986, Driver, Asoko, Leach, Mortimer & Scott 1994, Scardamalia, Bereiter & Lamon 1994, West & Pines 1985), but there have been few attempts to provide a framework that would generalise beyond the contexts or topics for which they were designed”.

If I were to design a course now I would try to use the technology available alongside face-to-face learning with the Intended Learning Outcomes.

Defining this course we would have to think about:

  • What are the intended learning outcomes?
  • Which would be better to do online and which are better doing F2F
  • What Learning activities should we use for online versus F2F
  • Online discussions as part of the learning activity? What challenges are there? We need to know how to facilitate and assess online discussions.
  • How will we structure the courseware what will be integrated and connected?
  • How will we decide the % of F2F and online?
  • Some students can have problems with the new technologies how will we address this problem, how can we support them?
  • How will we assess and evaluate in a blended environment?
  • We have to discuss with the students why their course is being taught blended and prepare them for their role in it

 

Active learning

TLA’s some ideas taken from Academic Teaching books chapter 7 on Teaching & Learning activities which I have connected to technology enhanced learning ideas to make the students more active in their learning.

 

Learning outcomes

Why

Activities – How

Technology to use

Getting Information,

Digital literacy

Finding resources & techniques,

 Referencing & managing information load

Connecting with outside experts

 Sharing and reviewing online resources

Google scholar
BlogsOnline articles
You Tube
Library

Taking own responsibility of learning

Reflection (p205)
Learning together


Giving and receiving feedback
(p214 & 257)
Co-learning

Understanding
Negotiation


Reflection on learning


As a group exercise to improve group problem solving

Problem/case based learning (p253)

LMS groups
Concept mapping


Online Quiz
Video with recorded lectures

Online resources
Mobile learning bringing tablets & smartphones to class

Giving and receiving feedback


Working in teams

 

Critical thinking

Performance feedback

Collaborative writing
Group negotiations

Planning
Assessment of team work

Reviewing
Reflecting
Debating

Discussion forums in LMS
Group web

Peer review in LMS
Blogs


Clickers
E-Portfolios

Let students teach & present assignments (p209)

Oral communication

Presentation skills

 

Sharing audio/video material


Presenting Audio/video
Discussions and feedback

Twitter
Adobe connect


Slideshare/You Tube
Video tool

 

References:

The social media natives have arrived

The students that spent all their teen years using Facebook have just graduated this year so the first true “social media natives” have arrived at our higher education faculties and they are very different from previous generations. 

socail media natives

Photo source: The Atlantic

Motivation is the key in keeping the learning process alive.

The key skills I learned myself as a teacher in keeping a student motivated in the classroom were giving them a good structure, a process view of what was expected from them with goals at the end. Even today this is still an important basis and also as Turner & Paris (1995) present in their six Cs we need to think of other ways to keep them motivated.

The 6 c’s by Turner & Paris (1995)

  • Choice – Students being able to choose assignments based on their own interest
  • Challenge – Setting the right challenging targets, not too easy and not too hard
  • Control – Handing over control to the students own learning
  • Collaboration – Learning from others peer to peer as well as peer to teacher
  • Constructing meaning – so the students regard knowledge as valuable
  • Consequences – positive effects from positive feedback

“If a student can’t learn the way we teach then maybe we should teach the way they learn” (Ignacio Estrada) I believe that teachers have the duty of preparing young minds to learn and grow into successful adults. Not all students learn the same way and we have to meet the needs of each student. Finding different ways for them to learn to meet all these needs could include

  • Working in Groups in the classroom – makes them interact with each other, think independently as well as working as a team.
  • Presentation skills – Enables them to work with their oral skills first in smaller groups and then in front of bigger classes, giving them confidence in themselves and also receiving feedback from their peers.

Activities that we should have in the classroom should include:

  • Interaction
  • Discussion
  • Reflection
  • Games
  • Peer review
  • Project form

Students arrive in our classes with prior knowledge, beliefs and attitudes from their lives so far. They will automatically connect their ideals to the learning. Wenger (1998) highlights the significance of students’ active commitment when reflecting on learning, identity and development. (Academic teaching). This idea is taken one step further where the student acts as co-creators of higher education. It is being developed today at our department (Teaching and learning in Higher Education) and already in Uppsala University they call it “Active Student Participation”.

Reference articles: