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Further Class Observations II

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020, 17:37

Diagrams and Maps: Peninsula and Isthmus 

I loved to visualise things, to make charts, and maps. For much of my professional career I have defined myself as a ‘visualiser’. I take the complex and make it appear simple through visualisation: photography, illustration, video … 

Peninsula

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Pain. Not recommended. Or was it? In the junior school, age 5 or 6 at the very most, we had a morning in the ‘senior’ school at Ascham House Prep School, Gosforth. We had a class, with maps, and Miss Short taught the words ‘Peninsula’ and ‘Isthmus’. I can see those huge maps held on a long wooden pool that were hung on the wall and opened to reveal the ‘Peninsula’. 

At the end of the class, and on the way out before returning down the road to the ‘junior school’ my older brother (age 7 or 8) entered and I gave him a hug. I got a thick ear from Miss Short for stepping out of line. I wonder if I only recall the meaning of Peninsula and that map because of the thick ear I received … or was it because of my boyish wonder at the map? I think it must have been the map - being shown something I had never seen before, and have it explained. Maybe because it gave a description to the ‘Point’ at Beadnell where we spent our holidays. Beadnell Point is a peninsula. At least on the scale of my world, which was the short walk from our cottage to either the rock or sandy beaches. When the tide went out, some of the rock promentories from my bedroom window created an isthmus I could cross. My adventures could now be mapped and shared. 

Give me some skin ! A Lesson in Cool 

I use ‘they’ to avoid identifying the gender of the teacher or students. 

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The teacher was as cool as they come. They could not be flustered. Old school I would have pulled a tray out for mobile phones (or the paper bin) and sent at least one person out of the class. That is not the thing to do. Some of the students I learn later are SEND or EHC. 

The purpose of the class was to run through some definitions, like those above, on a template where the words have been left out. Each student had a paper copy to complete. It transpires that one student had done a different course and covered this the year before and could rattle through everything like an undergraduate in medical school. There was one student who very clumsily kept their phone on, just under the desk, as they read and replied to text messages. Intermittently they would interrupt the class with a complaint, or fasile remark. Somehow, I still can’t fathom how, by the end of the class this student had jotted down a least a few of the answers - albeit once someone had given the answer.

As they were a close knit social group having them work in twos or threes worked well to get everyone working together. One group may have had to be a four, as one person didn’t want to be left out, or with someone they didn’t get on with. Understanding and going with the social dynamic was crucial. 

I liken the atmosphere eventually to being more like a Scout Leader around a campfire than a teacher at the end of the desk. 

Far from seeing how digital could contribute here > we had a 3D human body with 3D goggles in mind I rather thought a real 3D model made in Props by the Theatre Students would have the most impact. A giant finger like a large log in the middle of this virtual fire in the centre of the class.  Of course, medical students do get the real thing. That must be impactful. The very thought of it makes my brain prickle. The multi-sensory and emotional experience of cutting into a cadavre to look at the layers of the skin.

NOTE TO SELF: There is a template for more formal evaluations. I will use this, but any posts will be PRIVATE. 

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H800 EMA NO PANIC!

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This 6,000 word assignment is in its final draft.

My current estimation is that it will take another 16 hours to complete; it is due 12 noon on Monday.

Why so long?

The content and narrative is in place, and running at 8,000 words it should be just a case of judicious editing and referencing. The challenge is how to create the required, or my desired, weave of references, quotations and illustrations while not 'losing the plot' or making something straight-forward confusing.

Whilst two years to get to publication for an academic seems extreme, I do nontheless now appreciate how and why these things can take so long. However, I question why the marking system and the objective appears to be to turn us students into the writers of academic papers, when for most of us the desire, certainly in the Masters in Open and Distance Education is far more practical, indeed the Sussex University e-learning diploma is assessed through the completion of a series of workable e-learning modules or activities that can lead to students applying this content directly in their workplace or joining any of the many e-learning and web business along the Sussex Coast.

 

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