This will be my final blog entry for the course “PIDP 3260 Professional Practice” in the Provincial Instructor Diploma program at Vancouver Community College.
Here, I will reflect on each of the seven courses I have taken over the past year outlining what I have learned, how my thinking has changed, and what actions I will take based on this learning.
PIDP 3100 Foundations of Adult Education
This course allowed me to explore the “who” aspect of adult learners. I have learned that all students bring unique and individual experiences in to the classroom. Each set of experiences will add to, or take away from, their experience in my classroom. It is important to understand student motivations for taking your class so you can encourage and nature them. It is also important to understand their learning preferences and to try to bring these preferences to life in your classroom.
PIDP 3210 Curriculum Development
I really do not know where I would be today without this course! By learning to develop course learning objectives and outcomes, DACUMS, course outlines, and other instructional materials, I have at least doubled or tripled my efficiency as an instructor. Being more organized and deliberate in my approach to courses has reduced my anxiety around being organized and prepared for class. It has also helped me make each class relevant, by ensuring teachings and activities are based on solid learning outcomes.
PIDP 3220 Delivery of Instruction
I took the Instructional Skills Workshop offered by my employer, BCIT, in lieu of this course. I learned here that courses for adults need to be student-focussed (as opposed to teacher focused) to be engaging. The 10-minute mini-lesson cycle was especially valuable as it tough me how to structure my 3-hour blocks of class time. I am no longer putting students to sleep with long, boring lectures. Instead, students are actively learning and engaged in the materials…most of the time!
PIDP 3230 Evaluation of Learning
This course was a game changer. I learned how to create evaluations that are fair and balanced. I now know how to structure evaluation items to accurately reflect the course learning outcomes. I am able to create exams that make sense, give clear direction, and are free of errors. Most importantly, I now provide my students with marking rubrics that outline how each assignment will be graded so that they can self-assess their work prior to submission, or if there is a dispute. I have much more confidence around assessment than I did before.
PIDP 3240 Media Enhanced Learning
This course has helped me make the learning in my online course more personal by allowing me to experiment with digital learning strategies such as PechaKucha Powerpoints and YouTube videos. I now give verbal and video feedback online, which saves time and adds a personal touch to evaluation in distance learning.
PIDP 3250 Instructional Strategies
This course introduced me to many valuable learning strategies. I loved the text book for this course which has so many great instructional strategies that I have already used in the courses I instruct – my favorites being the split-room debate and the “coffee shop”. I took this class in a face-to-face setting which allowed me to make some great connections with other instructors.
PIDP 3260 Professional Practice
In this course, I have had to opportunity to examine ethical issues and have learned a great technique (Kidders Nine-step Process) for analyzing and managing such issues that may come up. I also had the opportunity to self-reflect on the teachings of Stephen Brookfield, author of The Skillful Teacher, which has enlightened me and given me many ideas for engaging and motivating adult learners.
Just knowing that I have taken all of these courses and that they have changed my teaching practice and really helped me so much, is very liberating! I have such a sense of pride for what I have accomplished on top of nurturing my marriage, children, friendships and career.