I must say I’m feeling pretty good about the first four days of the course that I’m teaching at UPEI. It’s very refreshing to be teaching a small group of people (15) and getting a chance to get to know my students. They are quite an excellent group, with varied experiences, varied educational backgrounds and differing goals and objectives. With the exception of the student who bowed out after day 2 (I’ve never taught one of these crazy intensive, two week, 35 hour courses without losing at least one) we’ve had no MAJOR issues.
On tossing adult learners into the deep end
Common practice (and some might ad common sense) dictates that we are supposed to introduce topics and particularly technologies gradually to adult learners. After this course i am now convinced that at least in a f2f environment (where trust can be established without the technology blowing up or while it is) it’s much more effective to throw students straight into the deep end. I’ll leave it to my students to jump in and disagree… but while it creates a definite amount of confusion i think it creates the right amount of instability to support the learning process.
It also saves time. And gives people an early victory.
Technology, particularly in the first two days
The backbone of the communications in the course are being done on googledocs, twitter and wordpress.com. The students were quite willing to go out and start blogging, working on their googledoc assignments and tweeting to each other. That’s not to say that we didn’t have a big session on why twitter was such a waste of time, but allowing them to all follow each other and using it as a slackers blog reader (tweeting nightly reflections) has given them the control over their home bases that I was hoping for. If the balance of having to record their own learning in their network learning plan and communications records balance it out and the early results look like they might, then I’ll have to consider this syllabus a marked improvement over the one from two years ago.
On immigrant/native resident/visitor
Mucho thanks to @daveowhite for visiting our class near the end of day three. I started day three in an attempt to frame a day of talking about learning with tech through the lens of a debate between the two views of resistance. One age based and out of a person’s control, the other more nuanced and responsibility oriented. If you’ve not read of dave’s resident/visitor continuum, you might find it interesting. I think it was the critical moment for my student’s understanding why they themselves felt resistance to the process and the resistance they’ve seen in their own students.
Grading into week two
This otherwise very entertaining course has the terrible bad form to require me to give my students a percentage grade. The plan has been and remains to give students basically ‘participation’ grades for their work the first week, that is, grading on effort, and then creating a more specific rubric for week two. They’ve done nightly reflections, some class work, have been responsible to comment on other people’s blog posts and also keep track of their learning network plan. We’ll need to develop something with a gradation like “shows clear plans towards integrating concepts into own context” and “demonstrates next level thinking in application of technologies” into this plan for next week. I hate setting things up that way, but at the same time I can’t expect them to get a numbered grade without trying to describe what i’m thinking clearly
Advice much appreciated on this.