Sunday, 6 September 2015

#altc Open Learning? It's a Peach

This is the outline of my presentation for ALTC 2015 on Thursday 9 September

#altc 2015 Open Leaning? It's a Peach! from Jane Challinor

This presentation gives a brief overview of an innovative learning activity and assignment that I did with my class last year which involved the use – and creation -  of Open Educational resources.

"Peach" refers to the site PhotopeachThis provides a simple, scaffolded approach to creating online content:
students upload images, organise them, add captions, choose from selected music or link to YouTube then share the finished product on Facebook; they can easily share a group log-in so that they can collaborate virtually.

A bit of background: I teach a first year Health and Social Care module known as Research and Professional Practice. The aim of my module is primarily to introduce students to academic study – including digital competence, referencing, and reflective practice & group work.

I have 120 students and we work in two groups of 60  in a new, technology-enhanced classroom know as SCALE UPThis holds up to 100 students in the classroom at any time; has round tables holding nine students, Macs (3 students per mac), Wifi, -  all set up for an enquiry based learning approach.

Before students arrived I conducted a pre-course “Digital skills” survey via Facebook to find out what they already knew, what skills they had and where they felt less confident: what emerged form this was that:

74% were not confident with online content creation
44% were not confident about referencing
52% were not confident about Harvard specifically

interestingly, 65% said they were confident about copyright (BUT on further enquiry, it turned out they actually thought it was OK to use music from You Tube, their own Itunes accounts or that any Google images were copyright free)

So, why use OERs and open technology? the most compelling argument for me is about collaboration: we certainly don’t have any thing on our VLE that allows students to collaborate online, not even to create content – unless you include a rather clunky e-portfolio plug in (and frankly I don’t!)  But OERs mean collaboration beyond the classroom and the cohort. Furthermore, OERs, social media, web 2.0 technology are all beginning to be used in the Health and Social Care field to create communities of practice amongst professionals – and  indeed are enabling service users to connect, to educate themselves and to take charge of their own well being. So for me it makes sense to use open platforms with these students from the outset.

And yes – Open platforms are more fun than essays! They allow students to express themselves in quite different ways and to be creative – which is particularly useful in reflective tasks.

The aim of my module is to introduce students to academic study – primarily: how to search for information, referencing and writing skills; group work, reflective practice.

So this first formative assignment aimed to combine these elements:
  • Providing an experience of working collaboratively by working in groups
  • Getting them to reflect on professional values – “the Health and Social Care professional I want to be”
  • Using a simple online site for content creation
  • Learning how to find relevant images, add captions, choose music
  • Learning how to reference the media used and/or find CC/copyright free
  • Showing them an alternative to Powerpoint!
Did it work?
The proof of the pudding for me was that, 6 months later, in the final task of the module, (a reflective digital story) 

  • 90% still managed to use (and correctly attribute) CC/copyright free images 
  • 68% chose to use an online site (i.e. not PowerPoint!) - including Prezi, Knovio, WeVideo, MovieMaker - suggesting an increase in confidence with online content creation.
In the final digital story, reflecting on their learning from the module, they also noted (amongst other things)
  • an improvement in digital skills (16%)
  • improved skill in referencing (40%)
  • improved understanding of values (18%) 
  • the value of working in groups (46%)

students' feedback on the module was overwhelmingly positive (actually the highest module evaluation scores I have had in four years of teaching this subject). 

So how do I feel about that? Why, just peachy, of course!  

No comments:

Post a Comment