Thursday, June 7, 2007

Module 5 Role of Teacher Reflections

Module 5 Teaching Role Reflections

1. The teaching presence I intend to enact to enable my students to achieve the learning outcomes specified in the Needs Analysis Document will acknowledge the importance of my students' prior knowledge, and encourage them to take ownership of their own learning.

As people encounter new experiences, they construct representations of those experiences that are structured by their previous knowledge and beliefs. (Pratt, Arseneau & Collins, 2001). Most good learning behaviours rely on metacognition (Fetherston, 2001). If the design of courses allows individual exploration coupled with reflection and the comparison of a student’s views with others, as well as the encouragement of good learning behaviours, then metacognition can be enhanced and good learning can result (Featherston, 2001). Allowing students to review and map their plans for learning a task with number of examples and to engage in a range of interactive quizzes and self assessable tests to test their knowledge of the material before embarking on a collaborative effort in resolving a problem. The activities in the Pharmacy Management module are designed to expose inconsistencies in the students’ current understandings and their new understandings.

Incorporating tasks in the module that is linked to Schons (1999) view of the reflective practitioner discussed by Salmon (2002) is the first part of the scaffolding in the 5 step model to encourage learning purposeful learning aids to help students to develop self-assessment of learning needs. Allowing the students to identify gaps in their understanding by creating the need for taking the pharmacy management module and inviting the students to take the responsibility for addressing the gaps by testing their understanding encourages a learner centred approach to learning. The modules tries to incorporate Kaufmans (2003) postulation that self-directed learning can be viewed as a goal towards which learners strive so that they become empowered to accept personal responsibility for their own learning, personal autonomy, and individual choice. The information on Financial Management will be presented two different forms recognising the cognitive school of learning recognising the importance of individual differences, and of including a variety of learning strategies in online instruction to accommodate those differences (Ally, 2004) hence making the experience of learning more learner centred.

2. The supports (e.g. strategies, templates, announcements) I intend to build into the course materials and contribute during the course will model critical thinking and reflection appropriate to clinical practice.

Each module has been structured using a developmental approach with acquisition of knowledge, the ability to apply and appraise the process of application in the group activity. Learning should relate to understanding and solving real life problems, opportunities and support for practice with self-assessment and feedback, and opportunities to reflect on practice (Kaufman, 2003).

E-moderation and Facilitation
The tutor’s role of facilitator of learning is arguably the most important. Whether it is interaction between student-content, student-student or student-tutor, a tutors ability to facilitate and create of Online learning communities will create the opportunity for critical thinking and reflection. In or as Shrivastava (1999) defines it as “knowledge ecosystems - where groups of people are engaged in collective inquiry to enhance their personal knowledge and application of the knowledge in work situations,” Hutchins (2004) cites Rodriquex, et al (1996) and Gorham (1988), in stating that affective learning mediates the relationship between immediacy and cognitive learning has been shown as to be equally relevant in web-based classes. Focussing on the instructor behaviours that aid learning and develop a community of learning appears as significant as student-content interaction and student-student interaction. Using verbal immediacy techniques to respond and comment on posts by students to increase appreciation, engagement of the task. Verbal immediacy includes the use of humour, frequent use of student humour, frequent use of student name, encouragement of discussion and following up on student-initiated comments, encouraging future contact with students, and sharing of personal examples. (Hutchings, 2004).

Salmon’s 5 stage e-moderation model will be incorporated to ensure effective interaction. Access and motivation, together with opportunities for online socialisation with the option of either using the discussion thread or online chats prior to commencement of the course will be guided initially, before the formal part of the course commences and the final three stages are addressed by the structure of the learning exercises and collaboration in management decisions using Problem based learning exercises. The 5-step model enables purposeful e-learning and aids developmental learning.

Appreciating the limitations of online interactions such as the absence of social context cues and the ability for misunderstandings to arise quickly with the opportunity for resolution not being immediate will be important. Verbal immediacy techniques such as ensuring timely response and comment on posts by students to increase appreciation, and engagement of the task with be utilised to try and bridge the gap in face-to-face interaction and online environments. Verbal immediacy includes the use of humour, frequent use of student humour, frequent use of student name, encouragement of discussion and following up on student-initiated comments, encouraging future contact with students, and sharing of personal examples. (Hutchings, 2004). The use of these techniques together with Chickering and Gamson’s (1987) Seven Principles of effective teaching will aid in facilitating discussion and critical thinking in the participants of the course.

It would be interesting to research into whether certain factors such as cultural background, age, gender influence online collaboration and focus on what aspects other than the technology aided students to achieve as this would be useful in improving facilitation.

3. The strategy underlying the teaching presence I intend to enact reflects the view of teaching and learning evidenced by my Teaching Perspectives Inventory results, but also reflects new insights I have gained into the role of the teacher and e-learning.

The tasks in the Pharmacy Management modules draws on utilising the Developmental Teaching Perspective after asking a question, or outlining a task the teachers are active when they listen patiently while waiting for students to think through and to voice their thoughts. Teachers are active when they listen closely to the forms of reasoning that students use as they negotiate understanding through an open discussion. (Pratt, Arseneau & Collins, 2001). The teachers role in most of the exercises will be to encourage and facilitate the students to engage with the material and learn for themselves as well as being motivational by sending announcements and posting pertinent enquiries in the discussion threads so that students can engage with each other on the topic. Creating an environment where the open exchange of ideas can be facilitated (Harden, 2000). My own TPI shows a slight preference for the apprenticeship model of teaching, however the activities in the modules and activities are geared towards more of a development style which is more learner centred and constructionist style of learning.

1. Ally, M. (2004). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. In Anderson, T., & Falloumi, F. (Eds.), Theory and practice of online learning (pp. 3-31). Athabasca (AB): Athabasca University
2. Chickering, A.W & Ehrmann, S.C. (1996-97). Implementing the seven principles: Technology as lever [Electronic version]. AAHE Bulletin, 49(2), 3-6.
3. Fetherston, T. (2001). Pedagogical challenges for the world wide web [Electronic version]. Educational Technology Review (AACE), 9(1), 25-35
4. Hutchins, H.M. (2003). Instructional immediacy and the seven principles: Strategies for facilitating online courses. OJDLA: Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration 6(3).
5. Kaufman, D.M. (2003). Applying educational theory in practice [Electronic version]. BMJ, 326(7382), 213-216.
6. Pratt, D.D., Arseneau, R., Collins, J.B. (2001). Reconsidering "good teaching" across the continuum of medical education. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions 21(2), 70-81.
7. Salmon, G. (2002, April 3-5). Hearts, minds and screens: Taming the future. Paper presented at the EduCAT Summit Innovation in e-Education, Hamilton , New Zealand.

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