EDST5126 Week 8: teaching, assessment and feedback in blended and open learning environments 


I enjoyed tonight’s session…amazing how a little break can envigourate! 

  • Not blended learning, just learning – The format in which education is delivered must be fit for purpose. If education is situated within a constructive alignment paradigm, the teaching and learning activities will be conducted in the most suitable format for the articulated intended learning outcomes and that they are assessed in the most appropriate way…..this may include online at times,  and at other times, face to face……and most likely, a combination of different methodologies…..so not blended learning, just learning , which if constructively aligned will include the most relevant mix of formats. This definition is a more inelegant description of 
  • The perennial Einstein quote about the definition of insanity came to mind: simplyy hoping for the alchemy of  the improved learning in students by maintaining existing face-to-face content but delivering it in an online could be the embodiment of pedagogical insanity.  
  • This led onto an interesting discussion about constructing authentic learning outcomes and that we may need to look at new ways of articulating learning outcomes. I identified communication skills as an example where videos could serve a useful purpose and apparently Churchill has done some work on defining learning outcomes in the digital space, an articulate I will be interested to read and see what paralells can be drawn with other skills based settings like medical education 
  • Further extending the horses for courses concept, we explored other ways of creatively solving educational issues other than online learning, such as increasing hours that educational institutions are open and / or changing the structure of terms such as how UNSW is moving to the trimester. We pondered what unintended consequences may emerge as a result of these changes. There is the possibility of growth and renewal and innovation because of  if the opportunities afforded by this “spring clean” of existing courses, being able to look at current teaching methods and assessments……but there is equally the risk that the existing processes may be degraded if change is not consciously planned and if the opportunities aren’t recognised. I wonder how much strategic planning is occurring to reinvigorate courses and to reap the benefits of this change which is coming. 
  • We spoke about pitfalls in blended and online learning which I have attempted to capture in the mind map below. 

Lucky 13 pieces of food for thought. 

There were a few other serves of food for thought, which arose throughout the session, which I will list below for future reflection: 

  1. The start of innovation is building on what other people have done “the power of the second person”
  2. How can we conceptualise learning outcomes differently so that they are more useful? 
  3. How can we effectively relate learning outcomes to graduate capabilities? Should / can all learning outcomes be explicitly taught? 
  4. Can all learning outcomes be measured or assessed? What is the value of a dichotomous classification of achievement of learning outcomes? When does it all turn into “ticking boxes” and how can we keep them authentic as they were intended? 
  5. Embracing technology is all about teaching the teacher how to teach
  6. Online / blended learning should take no more time for the teacher and student than face to face
  7. How can we move from making higher education institutions from surviving to thriving and what would define that? 
  8. The more complex the tools the more complex the issues and the more expert the educator needs to be
  9. What defines engagement  in education? For teachers? For students? Is it a time investment or is it passion? 
  10. As university funding shifts from government to private, this will shift to balance of power from the public to the individual and may impact how teaching occurs eg demanding more intensive teaching, different ways of teaching. 
  11. What happens when the strategy of an institution is incongruent with the philosophy or practicality of a faculty / school…when one size doesn’t fit all
  12. Simulation is a starting point for medical education not a destination and can have particular use in rare conditions and procedures 
  13. How to we value add to teaching time? How is value defined in education? Is it learning? 

And so onto the task for this session: 

Why is there a rise of  blended learning in traditional on-campus higher education institutions, especially in Australia? 

Experiences of blended learning 

  • To date, my only experience with online learning has been as a consumer: through participation in courses for the FULT and GCULT courses at UNSW, using Moodle to access pre-class material, to view videos online and make notations and to interact on online forums. 
  • The most immersive and authentic experience was with EDST5123 which was conducted whollly online. I personally experienced a degree of “social anxiet” in interacting ***** INCOMPLETE 

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