Thursday, 30 October 2014

Professional Values: the video(s)

Photo: Sarah Metherell

I have taken a new approach to my final year module (Leading Teams) this year. For the past 4 years that I have taught it, I have used a project based approach which has multiple facets.

First the students must work in teams of 6-8 students to develop a digital artefact (a website or wiki most often) which has as it's theme the leadership characteristics of the protagonists in a popular film. Over the years the students have analysed Avatar, The Lion King (twice), Toy Story (so many times I had to ban it last year), Twelve Angry Men, and even Matilda.

Theoretical underpinnings for the artefacts are generally drawn from lecture material I produce, seminar discussions and of course text books and articles highlighted in the module reading list. However, a great deal is based on the independent research that the students carry out themselves.

The artefacts produced have ranged in levels of sophistication but generally there has been enough complexity in the task to ensure that all group members get to use their individual talents: some taking on the "techy" roles, others researching or writing, and some surprising themselves as they have emerged as leaders through the process. The students' own reflections on these projects (part 2 of the task) have been an eye opener for them as much as for me.

Student feedback over the years indicates that, increasingly, the students find this less and less challenging technically - and intellectually - so this year the assessment will be based on student-led learning activities. Groups of 5 or 6 have been formed and each has selected a topic which they are going to teach to their fellow students. Apart from two mini lectures introducing the module themes, my input has been minimal. My lecture material and the references are available, but the emphasis is on student-directed research. When students do the teaching  is a short and helpful post about peer to peer teaching (with a great student-produced maths video!).

A more academic discussion of the approach can be found here: David Boud , Ruth Cohen & Jane Sampson (1999) Peer Learning and Assessment, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 24:4, 413-426,

As a warm up exercise this year, I gave the students the task of creating short slide show videos - using Photopeach - on the values of a health and social care professional (as I have for the first year students see: Reflection on Professional Identity). The purpose of this was to prepare them to a) learn how to source copyright free images b) create impactful presentations using few words and strong images c) articulate their own values in relation to potential career options on graduating. (This final point relates to the part of the module that looks at career planning and job applications).

All groups approached the task with commitment and there have been some outstanding results.

Here are some of my favourites:

Health and Social Care Values (created with students' own photos)

Social Work


The difference we wish to make 

Why we chose this course..

(with thanks to Gemma Tur Ferrer for the original idea!)

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