What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger!

The fact of the matter is that human beings, even teachers, want to be valued, admired and loved. The sad fact is that, as instructors, for a variety of reasons, we may not always be adored.

In the book “The Skillful Teacher” by Stephen Brookfield, the author states: “I find myself repeatedly frustrated by not achieving an unblemished record of expressed student satisfaction, for every week of the course” (Brookfield, pg. 38).

My immediate personal response to this statement was “Oh, thank goodness! I’m not the only one!” I am a people pleaser and have always aimed to have people “like” me and be happy with me. It kills me to see a negative course review at the end of the semester. There are always a couple that are less-than-perfect, even downright negative! Gasp! I care about my role, and my students, and always feel a sort of guilt and horror that causes me to ask, what did I do wrong?

As an instructor, I am slowly becoming comfortable with the fact that I will never be able to “move and inspire” each and every student, every week, through every semester. Some may really enjoy my personality and teaching style, and some may not. Some lessons will succeed, some will flop. Some students will rave about the course, others will provide negative feedback.

This is something that reading Brookfield has helped me come to terms with. We all to come the classroom with our own experiences and biases and this will never change; hence, we may just not “click” with every individual we encounter. That said, the fear of a negative review should not stop us from asking the tough questions about our delivery.

As instructors and leaders of the classroom, we must grow somewhat of a thick skin if we are to take all of the feedback and criticism that will no doubt come our way.

In regard to student satisfaction surveys, Stanford Professor Rick Reis notes the following: “I have noticed that good teachers, when they get really good evaluations, don’t quite believe them. They focus instead on the one or two erratic evaluations that say something bad about them. They good teachers tend to trust only the negative evaluations: “I wonder what I did wrong. I suppose I went too fast, or perhaps I should have scheduled in another required conference after that second test. I wish I could apologize to them, or at least find out more about what I did wrong.”

Good teachers care and want to take responsibility for their part in the student’s dissatisfaction. They want to make things right for the next group of students. On the contrary, not-so-great teachers will focus only on the positive reviews and will shrug off the negative reviews by blaming the student for being lazy, not being engaged, or not studying and applying themselves appropriately.

There are many aspects of college courses that some students will not be satisfied with, whatever the instructor does. For example, students will never stop having issues with elements such as: group work, grades assigned, formal assessment, other students, and more.

This could be for a variety of reasons, that teachers can uncover by polling & listening to their students and possibly by offering alternatives when available. Listen and take responsibility when your students (customers) give you constructive feedback; shrug off the naysayers who make personal attacks on your character.

Going forward, I will learn to grow comfortable with the fact that not every student will like my instructional style. As easy as it is to take this personally – I will try not to take it all on! I will refrain from taking responsibility for the emotions of others; however, I will critically reflect on negative feedback and make adjustments that are in the best interests of my students as a result.

Although not expected, attacks on my personal character will need to be brushed off as just that. I have only had this happen a couple times in five years, but I took it very, very personally. In the future, I will understand that I will never be able to satisfy the needs of every student, and that may not be a result of my teaching, but rather a personal issue on the part of the student or the complex nature of learning

Most importantly, I will remind myself that the point of gathering assessment is not to fashion a perfect result, but “to situate my teaching in an understanding of the emotional, cognitive, and political ebbs and flows of learning” (Brookfield, pg. 39). Despite the risk to my personal ego, I will use Critical Incident Questionnaires to improve my instruction to maximize student engagement and value in the courses I instruct.

References:

Brookfield, S. (2015). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom (Third ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Reis, R. (n.d.). 665 What Makes a Good Teacher? Retrieved December 15, 2015, from http://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/tomprof/posting.php?ID=665

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New Years Resolutions for Teachers?

Today I came across the article “Five New Year’s Resolutions for College Faculty” by Karen Hughes Miller posted on the Faculty Focus website.

In the article, the author suggests that teachers, many of whom are counting down the days to the much needed holiday break from the classroom, should take some time to reflect on their teaching practice and even make some “New Years Resolutions” for the classroom.

Hughes Miller makes five New Years Resolutions include: learning students names early in the semester, creating clear rubrics for all assignments, keeping content current, creating pathways that lead outside the classroom, and treating students as young professionals. 

This got me thinking about my education-based New Years Resolutions.

As I am hoping to begin my Master’s in Education: Post Secondary in 2016, I have decided to keep things simple and realistic and make four “teaching” resolutions:

  1. Improve my teaching practice by completing the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program by March 2016.
    Given that I am nearly halfway through my seventh course “Professional Practice” and set to start my “Capstone Project” immediately after, I shouldn’t have any trouble reaching this goal. In the courses I have taken over the past year, I have learned about course design and delivery, evaluation & assessment, media-enhanced learning, and instructional strategies that I am eager to really put in to practice.
  2. Ensure all lessons are student-centred and feature active learning. 
To me, providing an active learning environment, based on student needs, is now my true focus in the classroom. I’d like to continue to take the focus off me as the instructor, and put more of the learning in to the student’s hands. This goes hand-in-hand with treating college students as adults and allowing them to engage in active learning experiences where the learning is really brought to life.
  3. Create a Facebook page for at least one course I instruct. 
This is something that I’ve wanted to experiment with for a while but just haven’t had a chance to do so. I really think that this could add value to a face-to-face class and I just want to do it right. This will take some extra planning and monitoring on my part but I believe that extending the learning outside of the classroom could be really great for students.
  4. Organize and update course material (assignment descriptions, rubrics, evaluation & lesson planning) to maximize student (and instructor!) experience.

If anyone would like to share their resolutions, please feel free to leave a comment here!

References:
Five New Year’s Resolutions for College Faculty. (2015, December 11). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/five-new-years-resolutions-for-college-faculty/

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The Core Assumptions of Skillful Teaching

My Comments on “The Core Assumptions of Skillful Teaching”

In chapter two of The Skillful Teacher, author Stephen D. Brookfield explains that he holds four core assumptions about skillful teaching:

  1. Skillful teaching is whatever helps students learn
  2. Skillful teachers adopt a critically reflective stance toward their practice
  3. The most important knowledge that skillful teachers need to do good work is a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving teacher’s actions
  4. College students of any age should be treated as adults

Assumption one “skillful teaching is whatever helps students learn” advises that teachers should adapt lessons and teaching styles to accommodate the ways in which students learn. I could really relate to Brookfield’s experience of having a lesson really engage and resonate with one group of students and then having the same lesson completely flop with a different group.

As dedicated teachers, we all come to class with the goal of helping students learn. The problem is that we cannot meet everyone’s needs all the time, and thus failure is inevitable. Still, we have to keep going. We must bring our experience, skills, instincts and the best practices of our teachers and colleagues to bring the class to life.

As an instructor at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) students in my courses come from a “bewildering diversity of racial, class, and cultural identities” (Brookfield, 2015).

What’s more, “a significant number of the students speak English as a second language and exhibit widely varying levels in their readiness to learn, their study habits and intellectual acuity, and their previous experience in the subject” (Brookfield, 2015).

I have come to learn that what may be great for one cohort of students may not work for another. Continuous assessment of learning is required to ensure the lessons are resonating with the majority of students.

Assumption two “skillful teachers adopt a critically reflective stance toward their practice” states that skillful teaching is informed. We must reflect on our individual teaching practice by not just making assumptions, but by also researching them to confirm with students that we are correct.

Over the last semester, I tried a new exam review process (for the mid-term exam) where students were put in to groups, assigned a chapter from the text book, and asked to create a list of key points. From there, I had each group create five questions that they would like to see on the exam. Each group wrote these on the board which created a “mind map” of the first half of the course content. I took pictures of each and posted them to the course website as a study guide.

I thought I was doing them a great favour in helping streamline the studying, and students said they felt prepared for the exam. This activity also allowed me to see which concepts students put the most importance on, and helped me design a formal assessment that reflected this.

In preparing for the final exam, I suggested to the class that we do the same (great) activity that I was so happy to have designed. To my surprise, many of the students said that they actually didn’t find the activity helpful and would prefer a different type of exam review. They simply wanted meet create a list of what they needed to study.

This scenario surprised me and forced me to critically examine my practice of preparing students for exams. I have come to the conclusion that if I am continuously self-assessing my teaching, and assessing student needs throughout the semester, that should be enough. I use pre and post assessment to find out where students are and what concepts resonate with them or need further discussion. I provide lecture notes and additional readings for them. As adult learners, I must trust that they will take this information and prepare themselves accordingly.

The third assumption is “the most important knowledge that skillful teachers need to do good work is a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving teacher’s actions.” It is important for teachers to allow the class to be guided by how the students experience the classroom. To maximize learning, we must aim for a student-centred environment, as opposed to the traditional teacher-centred model.

The catch-22 here is that when a teacher asks a student for feedback on their teaching and instruction, the students may tell the teacher what they want to hear, as opposed to offering critical or honest feedback. We must understand that we are in a power position as we assign students grades; though incorrect, students may believe that the instructor alone has the power to “pass or fail” them.

As such, avenues for anonymous feedback, such as “TodaysMeet”, must be put in place to make certain students can be open and honest in their assessment of the instructor. There must be plenty of opportunity for this feedback to be provided throughout the course, as opposed to one check-in at the middle of the course and the school’s instructor assessment which is completed once the course has finished.

The fourth and last assumption for skillful teaching is that “college students of any age should be treated as adults.” I teach in a business school and although many of my students are young adults between 18-22 years-old with little on-the-job experience, I treat them as I would treat any employee, colleague or peer in the office environment. I expect students to pull their own weight, take responsibility for their learning, self-assess their work, work well with others, submit professional documents at the time agreed upon, and act respectfully in the classroom.

I respect that as adults they have many competing priorities outside of education that may take their time, focus and energy away from the course from time-to-time. I also appreciate my own limitations as an instructor and will try not to get down on myself too much when I have the occasional “off” day, or my lesson isn’t as successful at engaging the students as I would have liked it to be.

A new perspective gained from Brookfield is that students “often feel in limbo, sensing that adulthood means leaving old ideas, capacities, and conceptions of self behind as they learn new knowledge, skills and perspectives” (Brookfield, 2015). I had never really thought of this fact, but it really does make sense. This is something I will aim to embrace and respect as I see such transformations happening in the classroom.

References:
Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.

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Teaching Perspective Inventory

As part of the activities in Week Two of the Professional Practice course, I took the Teacher Perspective Inventory (TPI).  The TPI is a tool used by instructors to determine what type of teacher-profile they have, and to reflect on what type of teacher they may want to be.

I approached the survey thinking solely of my role as a marketing instructor within the School of Business at BCIT. Prior to taking the TPI, I had not heard of this tool. As such I was unaware of the five perspectives (Transmission, Apprenticeship, Developmental, Nurturing, and Social Reform) or the philosophical viewpoint each represents.

My results were quite differentiated in that two areas “Apprenticeship” and “Nurturing” spiked higher that others. Back-up perspectives included “Transmission” and “Development”. An area I do not focus on (recessive) is Social Reform.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.33.09 AM

I wasn’t surprised to see “Apprenticeship” score high on my survey as I do believe that those with experience in a subject area, or subject matter experts, can be more effective because the bring an aspect of credibility to the table. That said, after taking the PID I also believe that teaching is a skill that can be taught and with the right research, preparation and practice, one can teach a variety of subjects well whereby they are not the subject matter expert.

It was also not surprising to see “Nurturing” as a dominant trait because I do believe in providing an element of caring and support to my students as they go through their learning journey. I believe in challenging students by setting achievable goals. My assessment of learning includes individual growth as well as practical application. This is how I also want to be taught and evaluated!

“Transmission” was a back up trait that I would like to expand upon, particularly because this is a trait that students report as being memorable. In this approach content is delivered accurately and efficiently in a logical way that builds on learning. High standards are set and supported by the instructor by directing students to resources and providing feedback. Instructors are enthusiastic and excited about the learning.

I’d like to become more a “developmental” teacher in that I’d like to be more student-centred in my approach. Sometimes I find this tough to do with the time constraints I am under. I want to pay more attention to how the learners in my classes think and tailor the learning to them. The reality is that with 100 students this semester, tailoring learning to individual styles can be a challenge. As such, I will aim to provide a variety of activities to suit individual learning styles.

I do not view “social reform” as a large part of my role as a marketing instructor. Of course, I do stress how important it is to conduct oneself in an ethical manner and this is important to me. I would like to add more aspects of how students can use the information they are learning to make the world a better place, especially given all the turmoil in the world at this moment.

In conclusion, the TPI had me considering where I am as an instructor and where I can improve to deliver an even better experience to my students.

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Teachers! Trust your instincts!

The following journal was written for PIDP 3260 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE…

In PIDP 3260 Professional Practice, students are directed to read the book “The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom” by Stephen D. Brookfield.

In chapter one “Experiencing Learning” Brookfield introduces readers to the fact that teaching can be downright messy when he states:

“…teaching is frequently a gloriously messy pursuit in which shock, contradiction and risk are endemic.”

The student body is diverse; each bringing with them their own learning styles, biases, and positive and negative life and educational experiences. On the opposite side, instructors also bring their individual teaching styles, biases and life experiences to the table and do their best to apply them to traditional class-room based learning environments as well as to new learning platforms such as online-mediated learning.

The result, despite best intentions, can be downright chaos which can lead instructors to doubt their own skills, abilities, and intuition.

While reading chapter one, I felt a roller-coaster of emotions, with the most intense being relief and validation. Relief that my feelings of inadequacy for “not being able to appeal to all learners at all times” is normal. And, validation that all instructors sometimes doubt whether they made the right decision in career path.

My biggest ah-ha moment in this week’s readings came at the end of the chapter when Brookfield tells readers that “You need to recognize the fact that in the contexts in which you work, you are often the expert.”

This statement allows instructors to take charge of the issues they are dealing with, with confidence.

As instructors, it is natural to doubt ourselves. The reason for this lies in the unpredictability of the adult classroom. One day you have a great class where the students are engaged, lively and demonstrating the learning you intended and you feel as if you are on top of the world!

Another day, you or the students may not engage in the material as delivered, for many reasons, and you leave the classroom wondering what happened, what you could have done differently and doubting your effectiveness as a teacher, mentor, or leader in general.

The reality is that we are all impacted by previous experiences and come to the classroom bearing biases, assumptions, and the inevitable stress of life as an adult – student, employee, parent, care-giver, family member, employer, and whatever other roles we play.

As such, instructors cannot take it personally when an adult student is not able to engage in the learning.

Last week I had a disappointing experience where I received a feedback form from a student who indicated that she “strongly disagreed” that I had made myself available for questions and help when needed.

I was shocked and upset by this comment as I feel that I go over and above in making myself available for my students. Students are given my email address and personal cell phone number and encouraged to contact me anytime throughout the course. I arrive in class early and am always the last one to leave. I also offer one-on-one feedback if and when requested.

Brookfield states that “experiencing ego deflating episodes of demoralization is quite normal. Indeed being aware that we regularly face inherently irresolvable dilemmas in our teaching and that we hurt from these, is an important indicator that we are staying awake and remaining critically alert” (Brookfield, p. 6).

Going forward, I will still be disappointed (of course) when a negative review is received as I am human and I care deeply about my role as a facilitator of learning; however, my response will be different.

I now know that is is okay if I do not “connect with” or “reach” all of my students, in every instance. This could be for a variety of reasons, one being that an instructor cannot motivate anyone to learn if they are not open to learning.

I am not a failure because of this.

It’s okay that the lessons I deliver do not engage every student, all the time. In fact, their will be days that I fall flat in my approach, whether I am trying something new or using one of my best, most successful active-learning activities.

Brookfield says that “skillful teaching is whatever helps a student learn.” As an instructor, I will aim to keep track of how students are learning, what is working best and how they may be perceiving my actions and delivery of the material.

I will rely on my experience, as an instructor and as a student, to deal with the problems I face in the classroom. I will do my best to develop a safe environment where students trust me and feel comfortable enough to engage in the learning and reach their personal learning goals, whatever they may be.

References:
Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.

Robin Cook Bondy Page 2of 2

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PIDP 3260 Professional Practice

Hello!

This week marks the beginning of my Professional Practice course which is my second-to-last course in the Provincial Instructor Diploma program (PIDP).

“The Professional Practice course introduces participants to the issues, themes and concepts of effective instruction, instructor competencies, informal and formal assessment and evaluation of instruction, as well as ethics, professionalism and career management” (VCC, 2015).

One aspect of the course that I am really looking forward to is developing a career management strategy & professional development plan to outline the next steps in my journey to becoming an adult educator.

As many of you know, I have been working as an Instructor in the School of Business at BCIT for nearly five years now. In addition to winding down the Fall semester and kicking off the winter semester, I will be spending the next 10 weeks exploring my role as an adult educator as I work my way through PIDP 3260 Professional Practice.

Stay tuned for my posts!

Robin

References:
(n.d.). Retrieved December 3, 2015, from http://www.vcc.ca/programscourses/courses/professional-practice-pidp-3260/

 

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PIDP3240 Online PowerPoint and Podcast

Podcast
Please listen to my podcast review of Kermit Randa’s August 17, 2015 Huffington Post article titled: In Education, Technology Helps, But Humans Matter Most

PowerPoint
My Pecha Kucha presentation on How to Survive (& Thrive in) a Media Interview is now live on YouTube.

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PIDP 3240 Journal 3: Classrooms of the Future

While we can’t be exactly certain about what will come of classrooms in the future, we can be certain that technology will progressively play a larger, more pivotal role in education for years to come.

In PIDP 3240 Media Enhanced Learning, instructor Doug Mauger introduced the class to three short videos that speculate on what “classrooms of the future” will look like.

The videos featured are: What Schools of the Future Could Be Like; Technology in Education: A Future Classroom; and, Microsoft Vision of the Classroom of the Future.

Included in the videos were: images of students in different parts of the world communicating in real time through video chat with automatic translation, personalized computers built in to the desks, 3-D digital (virtual) models of the moon and molecular compounds, customized learning programs on tablets, Robot teachers, and casual classroom layouts where students are allowed and encouraged to roam freely.

While watching the videos, and reflecting on them afterwards, I experienced many emotions. First, I felt really excited for the possibilities of what and how future generates will learn. Excitement was followed by amazement and awe.

At times I felt overwhelmed by the technology, and even found myself feeling scared when I realized how technologically savvy instructors will have to be in order to keep up with the times. Change can be scary and I imagine that my fears of “getting lost” or “being left behind” in the technological shift are quite normal.

My biggest and most satisfying “ah-ha moment” in thinking about what education will look like in the future is the ability we will have to customize student learning.

The significance of being able to customize learning is that we may be able to engage and inspire a wider range of students who all possess different learning styles. As the traditional model only caters to a certain learner, this opens up new possibilities to excel for individuals with learning styles that do not fit in to the traditional model.

“Experts who study the effectiveness of instructional technology say there is potential for some digital programs to improve teaching. John Pane, a senior scientist at the RAND Corporation, said good technology allowed students to work at their own pace and independently while teachers worked with smaller groups” (Motoko, 2013).

As instructors in educational institutions, we will need to be open to change and open to learning about new technology if we are to remain competitive in our role as teachers and as ambassadors for the schools we work for.

The implication of moving towards classrooms that incorporate technology is that we must stay on top of trends in education so that can incorporate technology gradually and not get overwhelmed in the process.

At the end of one of the videos the screen shot pans out from a modern classroom – rich with technology – to the outside of the building which looks like the traditional brick-and-mortar school buildings that are familiar to so many of us. The symbolism of this ending was not lost on me!

I believe that customization of learning, including providing convenient blended learning opportunities and on line access to courses, is going to be crucial for institutions if they are to compete and survive.

“We have moved from a word in which we walked around with the knowledge we could carry in our heads or in books to one in which we can access much of human knowledge from our pockets” (Bowen, 2012).

Upon completion of the PIDP, my plan has always been to continue on with VCC’s Certificate in On Line/E Learning Instruction. Having such a credential will improve the courses I am already instructing and may also distinguish me from competition, should I chose to pursue other on line teaching opportunities in the future.

I will also stay focused and on top of what is new in technology and education by continuing my PIDP Learning & Instructional blog and posting a focused and reflective post once a month.

In the coming Fall semester, I will be using podcast technology to introduce the weekly content in my on line Marketing Strategies course. Additionally, I plan on creating a Facebook page for my Marketing of Services (face-to-course). The page will be used as a study and information resource for all things to do with the course.

Going forward, I will aim to incorporate one new piece of technology in each of my courses every semester to ensure that my teaching reflects the newest, most effective practices in teaching and learning. I will solicit feedback from my students and colleagues on the technology I am implementing and will do my best to modify my practices based on the feedback received.

It’s also important to remember the hallmarks of a good teacher: “patience, understanding, confidence, compassion, dedication to excellence, passion for life, and pride in students accomplishments” (Ripples of Improvement).

Lastly, as we know that technology will progressively play a larger, more pivotal role in education for years to come, I will remain open to change and to new technology and will do my best to welcome positive changes into my classroom, even if it means experiencing some discomfort and pleasant frustration along the way.

References:
Rich, Motoko. “Study Gauges Value of Technology in Schools.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 13 June 2013. Web. 19 Aug. 2015.

Bowen, Jose. Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Imprint, 2012. Print.

“The Top 10 Qualities Of A Good Teacher.” Ripples of Improvement. Web. 19 Aug. 2015

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PIDP 3240 Journal Two: Videogames and Teaching

In Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning author Jose Antonio Bowen states that “video games are really just a series of tests, but unlike most college tests they are designed to be intrinsically motivating” (p. 97).

Bowen supports this notion by citing research that “players and students alike are more motivated by tests that are pleasantly frustrating (Gee, 2004) or moderately challenging (Pintrich & Schunk, 2002)” (p. 97).

The growth and popularity of the gaming industry supports the fact that individuals are content with the concept of failure in the form of “pleasant frustration”.

My initial reaction to this is that humans (students) could never be motivated by failure. Failure is a negative experience. It is embarrassing, demotivating, and hurtful. Perhaps even more so for an adult learner who has factors such as self esteem on the line.

A positive educational experience for a student is one where they succeed and pass the course with an excellent grade. No room for failure in this equation…or, is there?

In reading Chapter 4 of Teaching Naked, which outlines how educational experiences should be designed more like video games, the concept of “pleasant frustration” is discussed in several scenarios. 

“It is precisely the combination of challenging engagement and low consequences for failure that has proved so potent in the video game industry. If games do not provide enough pleasant frustration and positive feedback, they do not succeed in the marketplace” (Bowen, p. 94).

And, this is where my opinion began to change and learning occurred for me. Perhaps breezing through a course isn’t the only road to a great educational experience? Perhaps providing room for a little “pleasant frustration” in a supportive learning environment where students are treated with respect and genuine caring, and feel safe enough to put themselves out on a limb, even fail, is a good thing?

The more I reflect on this topic, the more I realize how motivated and driving failure can be.

We’ve all heard of famous failures including the time Oprah Winfrey was demoted from her job as a TV reporter because she was unfit for TV. In her Famous Failures series Winfrey has been quoted as saying “If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried something new.”

I’ve always approached teaching from the prospective of ensuring my students succeed, and have never intentionally provided opportunities for failure as a learning experience. I now see that there may be some value in having students fall and helping them up. In the process, they will learn from their errors, thus, maximizing learning and providing solid evidence of growth.

“Bain (2004) came to the same conclusion: The best teachers focus on challenging students in a positive environment where failure is tolerated” (Bowen, p. 93). 

In a day-and-age where perfection is everywhere and people are constantly being judged and measured (by themselves and others) the premise of failure or not meeting expectations is looked upon so negatively.

We can create a positive environment where failure/delayed success is explored and encouraged by implementing Chickering and Gamson’s “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education” (Bowen, p. 85) including providing:

  1. Options for contact between students and instructors
  2. Opportunities for cooperation and reciprocity among students
  3. Active learning activities
  4. Prompt feedback
  5. Emphasis for time on tasks
  6. Communication on high expectations
  7. Respect for diverse ways of learning.

As instructors, we must embrace the teachings of video games which provide options for failure in the form of pleasant frustrations that, keep ones dignity and motivation in tact and, encourage students to continue towards their ultimate goal.

References:
Bowen, Jose. Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Imprint, 2012. Print

Stories of World’s Famous Failures Who Became Extremely Successful (Photos) – MUST READ – African Spotlight.” African Spotlight. 3 Jan. 2013. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.

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PIDP 3240 Journal One: Is Online Learning the future for Higher Education?

“Technology has created new competitors, new expectations, and a global market for higher education” (Bowen, p. 10)

The simple fact of the matter is that technology is changing the delivery, availability and expectations of education.

At the elementary and high school levels, technology is being integrated in to classrooms where many children have been exposed to a variety advanced technology and “glowing screens” since birth. Further, youth have the world at their fingertips through these electronic mediums; virtually any question they have can be answered in a heartbeat through search engines such as google and wikipedia.

“The internet, like the book before it, is making a wealth of knowledge available to the people who could previously not afford the privilege of higher education” (Bowen, p. 4).

The reality is that many post-secondary students cannot afford the tuition and opportunity costs of the traditional four-year university program model. In a declining economy, many students must work while they obtain post-secondary credentials; further, they are very concerned about the cost of tuition (debt) and the job prospects they will have following graduation.

In short, students want the most “bang for their buck” and post-secondary institutions, from ivy league to community colleges, must figure out how to offer programs that meet the growing expectations and needs of today’s adult learners.

My initial reaction to reading the first three chapters of Jose Bowen’s “Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology out of your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning” was excitement. I could hardly wait to get pen to paper to reflect on my feelings about the information being conveyed.

In particular, Bowen cites a 2011 study by Allen and Seaman that showed a 10% growth in online learning versus a 0.6% growth in overall education.

For me, this validates my personal belief and value in the future of online learning – both as an instructor and as a student. 

It gives me hope to think that in the near future, education obtained through a hybrid model will be given the same respect as education obtained through a traditional model. I personally feel that education obtained through models other than the traditional “brick and mortar” university model have been looked down upon, or even viewed as a “short cut” to obtaining higher education.

The 2015 Horizon Report states that “Over the past several years, perceptions of online learning have been shifting in its favour as more learners and educators see it as a viable alternative to some forms of face-to-face learning. Drawing from best practices in online and face-to-face methods, blended learning is on the rise at universities and colleges.”

It gives me hope to see a change in thinking and to see that many organizations, including governments, learning institutions, health care providers, military, and large corporations, are grasping on to the many benefits of online learning, and implementing and promoting such training programs and learning opportunities.

It is safe to say that we have reached “a tipping point” in our thoughts and feelings towards online learning, and the future is brighter than the glow of a mobile phone in a dark movie theatre.

Bowen states that there will always be ivy league, but the affordable community college model of “results-oriented, flexible, convenient, jobs-focused training” is just as important and students are willing to pay for it, with demand continuing to rise.

Barack Obama himself even said in January that “folks can make a lot more” by learning a trade “than they might with an art history degree” (The Economist, 2014). This angered one history teacher who forced him to apologize, but it is true – students want a relevant education that will lead to good job prospects.

As an instructor at British Columbia Institute of Technology, this validates my choice to pursue a career as an instructor in the college setting. Further, my choice to obtain further training and knowledge on delivering my courses online, supports the ideology that students want and need the hybrid options for education and that this field is growing.

This is great news for job security, stability and potential. 

“As is the case with classroom instruction, the quality of online learning is uneven but at its best, interactive technology provides not only content, but also practice and individualized feedback that can be difficult to administer in a typical classroom environment” (Bowen, p. 3).

The modern student needs more convenience and more options – and I’m glad my current employer embraces this notion. Parents and students alike understand the benefits (financial and otherwise) of taking first and second-year courses at a community college, and then transferring these credits towards a degree from a larger university. The credentials are the same, but the cost has been lowered. 

The cost gaps are widening for classroom teaching where profitability for the learning institutions are low; whereas, the online learning model offers great potential for profit.

Bowen presented and supported his case for the importance, growth and future of online and hybrid learning models with examples and facts that are hard to argue with. While I was innately convinced that I was on the right path with my career and education, I am now even more confident in my choice. 

It is important for my own personal growth to continue to learn new skills for delivering excellent, relevant content with activities that give students the opportunity to practice their skills and interact with their peers, particularly in the online environment.

This will benefit me personally as students will be more satisfied with their educational experience – leading to positive feedback and instructional performance reviews – and possibly increased job opportunities.

Making efforts towards improving and enhancing learning in the on-line courses I instruct will also positively reflect on my employer, BCIT, by demonstrating progressive and effective teaching practices. In an economic environment where competition is at an all-time high for colleges and universities – and student expectations are even higher – student satisfaction is one of the keys to future success for educational organizations.

Lastly, improving and adding value to the courses I teach, by incorporating technology and providing a positive hybrid learning experience (relevant to the needs of students) will benefit the greater good of the reputation of the media-enhanced educational model movement overall.


References:
Bowen, Jose. Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Imprint, 2012.

“Is College worth It?” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 5 Apr. 2014. Web. 30 July 2015.

“NMC Horizon Report 2015 Higher Education Edition.” The New Media Consortium. 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 29 Jul. 2015

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