Categories
education

Now might be a good time to stop “teaching students”

There’s a lot of anxiety among health professions educators right now as they try to move classes and entire courses online. They weren’t trained to do this, have little experience doing this, and many may not even want to do this. Hardly an inspiring thought. And I found myself agreeing with them. They didn’t sign up for this and most of them really do believe that a lot will be lost with the move online.

Thinking about this predicament (i.e. people who don’t think that “online” is the best way to teach health professionals, but who nonetheless must do it) made me wonder if reframing the question would change how they approach the problem. Instead of asking, “How do I move my course online?” what if we asked, “How can I help my less-experienced colleagues in their professional development?” Instead of focusing on building online classrooms, how about providing additional opportunities for CPD? Rather than focusing on moving content online, ask your less-experienced colleagues what the gaps are in their own learning. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to control the assessment process but rather try to help our less-experienced colleagues to evaluate their own performance.

You may already have noticed that each of the above shifts the emphasis from you as a teacher having to control the process of students’ learning (environment, content, assessment, etc.), towards something that probably looks more like a dialogue. A conversation. You know, probably more like how you learn. No-one tells you what you need to focus on, or how far “behind” you are, or what you have to read. Maybe over the next few weeks and months we could reflect on how each of us learns best and provide our less-experienced colleagues (previously known as “our students”) with more authentic opportunities to develop as healthcare professionals.


Note: Thank you to Joost van Wijchen who first introduced me to the concept of “working with our less-experienced colleagues”, rather than “teaching to our students”, and who recently reminded me of this wonderful mental model.

Categories
assessment diigo

Posted to Diigo 05/25/2010

    • Turn over grading to the students in the course
    • “It was spectacular, far exceeding my expectations,” she said. “It would take a lot to get me back to a conventional form of grading ever again.”
    • she found that it inspired students to do more work, and more creative work than she sees in courses with traditional grading
    • based on contracts and “crowdsourcing.” First she announced the standards — students had to do all of the work and attend class to earn an A. If they didn’t complete all the assignments, they could get a B or C or worse, based on how many they finished. Students signed a contract to agree to the terms. But students also determined if the assignments (in this case blog posts that were mini-essays on the week’s work) were in fact meeting standards
    • the students each ended up writing about 1,000 words a week, much more than is required for a course to be considered “writing intensive”
    • she said that students took more risks
    • “I think students were going out on a limb more and being creative and not just thinking about ‘What does the teacher want?’ ”
    • While the students are ending up with As, many of them are doing so only because they redid assignments that were judged not sufficient to the task on the first try
    • “No one wanted to get one of those messages” that an assignment needed to be redone. (But when they did receive such notes, the students didn’t complain, as many do about grades they don’t like. They reworked their essays, she said.)
    • the alternative approach to grading in the course didn’t eliminate the teacher’s role, but changed the dynamic from “a single teaching-student interaction to multiple teacher-student/student-student interactions” with students in the roles of both student and teacher
    • “peer pressure is a very influential thing.”
    • “The greatest scam ever pulled off by “vendors” was convincing management that an LMS isn’t just a database. The second biggest? That they really needed one. The third? That it is a “Learning” “Management” System.”
    • “Those organizations (and frankly public learning institutions) that are clinging
      to their standalone learning management systems as a way in which to
      serve up formal ILT course schedules and eLearning are absolutely missing the big picture. Sadly, there are too many organizations like this out there.”
    • “The traditional stand-alone learning management system (LMS) is
      built on an industrial age model. There are two specific problems with this model, first it is
      monolithic within a learning institution and second it is
      generic across learning institutions.
    • there are simpler, cost-effective ways of tracking and reporting usage of content
    • the key point, as mentioned in the earlier Dan Pontefract quote, is that by focusing on an LMS, organisations are missing the big picture
    • adding social functionality into formal courses might go some way to making them more “engaging” to users, but it isn’t addressing the wider “learning” needs of the organisation
    • you simply can’t manage or formalise informal learning; it then just becomes formal, managed learning
    • “Whether you’re in a private or public organization …  start first with a ‘collaboration’ system rather than a ‘learning’ system, and build out from there.”