Saturday, 13 August 2011

Skills for study

oh where to begin......?!?!??

I took over leadership of the study skills module this year and began by proposing a few tweaks. Now I am heading for revolution (shakes head in despair).

The modest proposal I first mooted was to change the first assignment for this module from a paper-based journal/photocopying and note-taking exercise into an online search terms/ database accessing exercise, with online submission via the VLE. So far so 21st C.

But still I wasn't happy. Yes I need to show first year students how to use library catalogues and e-searching techniques, but surely they need more? What about social bookmarking as a place to save their web searches?

And instead of a final portfolio in a Word document, how about an e-portfolio? a wiki? a blog?

And if I am going to start telling them about these tools and introduce them to Twitter along the way - well, am I not I really on the verge of describing a PLE???????

So my question is this: is it appropriate to introduce Year 1 students to these tools - will they get it? will they be bored already? will it be just too different given that 99% of the rest of their studies will be based on using libraries, text books, the VLE and handing in their work at 2pm on a Friday afternoon after a lengthy queue to get to the reception window.......

Or are these actually essential life skills?

Anyway I have now pretty much decided on a way forward and though I take this route with some misgivings, I will be blogging as a I go and reflecting on how it turns out.

Last year the task for the first assignment in Term 1 was to find, then contrast, two or three articles on a topic chosen at random from a current issue of a health and social care journal. I then discovered that they do a nearly identical assignment for a different module in Term 1 and another also pretty similar for yet another module at the start of Term 2. I don't feel the task on my module is really adding anything to their learning about techniques for study and writing at HE level.

So this year I have decided to give them as a topic the use of social networking tools for study/learning in higher education. This fits well with some of the key texts we look at in relation to study at HE - for example Study skills for social workers - Stogdon, Chris, Kiteley, Robin, 2010

I have already done some research and put some useful articles in a Diigo group they will be asked to follow/join/add to and I will spend some time talking about and demonstrating this site and a variety of other tools - blogs, Twitter, Google sites, wikis, slideshare, iGoogle etc, which they might want to use to start to build their Personal Learning Environment.

I feel like I am stepping into the unknown: but on my side is my passion and my practical experience of using these tools myself for my own learning and I also know I'll have my personal learning NETWORK to fall back on for advice and support :)

Wish me luck!

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