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The man with the plastic mask : Fibreglass Jacket Demo

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JV masked up to video a demonstration of using resin to create a fibreglass jacket

This blog auhot masked up to video a demonstration of using resin to create a fibreglass jacket.

It's been a frenetic and insightful day being able to double up with a class observation for my PGCE while videoing a demo of how to create a 'fibreglass jacket' with resin for Stageprops and efx at Northbrook MET. 

Google them for their website and Instagram where all their goodness and greatness is on display. 

My task, once requiring a team of at least four, was to video and publish. The team of three would have been camera, sound, lights and a producer/director. But that was three decades ago making video demonstrations for the health & safety team at BNFL Sellafield! Where the full suits worn once the site was active resembled the above.

Several lifetimes ago.

Then it was into a Meet to discuss and share outcomes from Wonkhe@Home conference and what this tells us about how to develop and support a vibrant 'Student Voice' during and post-Covid. The world of learning is a-changing.

Onwards.

With frustration my intentions and wish to attend tonight's PGCE class in person I have needed to come home and be online. With brilliant tutors you come to relish being in their presence. The difference between the online and face to face experience could not be more stark: in many situations the learning context, the feeling that you are part of a collective experience, and seeing the tutor and others so that you can 'read' their face and body language all counts for something. So much of this naturalistic impact is lost when you go online, at least with current systems.

What is needed is quality 360 for image and sound so that you can feel you are there. And in the room to be a laptop open on a trolley (I'e been told a partner of a law firm has been meeting staff like this) or more Sci-fi in approach, an iPad glued to a panel ... or at least the back of the chairs where we may have otherwise sat.

Some institutions, the banks and top law firms and ad agencies are no doubt doing this already > not in undercapitalised FE colleges though.


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Micro Teach Reflective Cycle

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Introduced to 'The Reflective Cycle (Gibbs, 1988)' I then used this to consider the micro teach I gave last week. 

Description

What happened?

  • I tried to deliver a 60 mins class in 15 minutes. 

Feelings

What were you thinking and feeling?

  • Like a runaway train. 

Evaluation

What was good and bad about the experience?

  • It is self-evident that I need to observe a lot more , and teach a lot more and improve at every step and opportunity. 

Analysis

What sense can you make of the situation?

  • All things can be taught? Though you’ll never teach me to dance! But teaching isn’t a dance. Might I be better suited to some teaching situations than others? 

Conclusion

What else could you have done ?

  • Observed the micro teach sessions the week before while self-isolating and I would have quickly understood what can be done in the time ! 

Action Plan

If it rose again, what would you do? 

  • Keep it simple.

  • Talk less, teach more 

  • Give it to them.

The consideration of, and time spent on the exercise is in profound difference to the way reflection was considered ten years ago on the MAODE. That was an entirely academic exercise, entirely based on reading around the subject. I may be wrong, but I don't recall any elaborate process whereby we dug deep to develop and share our thoughts. Or if we did, on reflection, I had little to draw on - I was not a teacher. I had started this journey in order to learn how to create learning for businesses and organisations, not in the classroom or workshop. 

What I wrote, see above, was of less value than what others wrote and shared. It was a lesson to be part of an exercise, the second of seven or more, over three hours, where it felt as if we were being indulged. The tutor actively sought out our experience and point of view, pausing to develop a variety of insights that resulted and only as a final thought did we go to a description or summary that had been prepared in advance. This was neither an afterthought, nor the statement that would dominate all others. The way it was shared it simply become one more opinion in the shared and constructed meaning.

A number of things are profoundly different face to face: the context of the learning. We are in a place designed to study (albeit a teaching restaurant with dining chairs used as desks). But there are chairs, there is a teacher on her feet with a big TV screen at the end of the room.  This context includes other learners. You see and feel their response to the experience, how they take notes (or not) and how much a point of view, a conclusion or shared anecdote matters. Doing this in a group chat online is not the same; for a start only four out of twelve would do it. My experience of the MAODE was that those of us who shared our experience, learnt together and got to know each other online, were a minority. Did we gain from that experience, or was it an indulgent distraction? 

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Reflections on Teaching

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In a tour de force example of the value of face to face teaching in a class over learning online our PGCE tutor took us through the power of reflection. Look at the title of this blog 'Reflection on e-learning'. 10 years and eight months ago I was keenly filling these pages (on an ever so slightly different platform) as I took the first module in the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE). Search 'Reflection'.

Ten years on, while being invited to dig around in my head for an understand of the what it means to 'reflect', and while listening to my fellow students express their views and share their insights, we collectively construct and shape a meaning.

The beauty of this blog and its value ten years on and 5,000 entries later, is that I can search 'reflection' or seek out the tag 'reflection' and immediately be shown what I was reading, what I was being invited to read and what I was writing about it all. The beauty of this blog and it simplicity is that I can post and keep private, or post and share; it is as much as a private, even intimate scrapbook, mind dump and learning journal, as it is a potential resource for others. 

Reflecting on 'reflecting on teaching' and the profound differences between learning online (as it has so far been able to manifest itself) I see that one cannot replace the other, that certain elements are different to the point of being incompatible, that trying to recreate the class experience online is foolish and bringing the online way of doing things into the class just as wrong.

We have a long way to go yet to distinguish these differences and play to their strengths, rather than thinking one is superior to the other; neither is going away. The class I attended last night in which seven of us where there in person with the tutor and four were online is one I will return to again, and again for two reasons: first of all, to pick through what I was exposed to, what I was taught, the learning journey I experienced and the voices and words of others - everyone, in equal measure, was given the time and chance and encouragement to talk. And second of all, to contemplate the difference between the classroom and the online experience. What worked and what did not? What needs fixing to make it work better? 



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Whatever it is ... the Open University did if first!

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Contrary to their PR blurb Duke University, Michigan were not the first in the world to aim to put, or to put all their HE courses online: the Open University got there 16 years earlier. We too often forget this in the UK as universities such as Coventry (with OU staff running the team) doing the same.

And now everyone doing it. 

Taking up a course with the OU in early 2001, the MA in Open and Distance Learning (MAODL) I got a cardboard box containing some text books and DVDs. We went online for a threaded noticeboard thingey.

Picking up the MA in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) a decade later and going on to graduate in 2013 everything was online: a variation (not much changed) of this blog cum noticeboard platform, Cloudworks, a version of Meet or Zoom technically a decade ahead of its time, though sometimes like dragging yourself through brambles in a Guernsey jumper.

We had Cloudworks, others no offer Padlet, Jamboard and Trello. 

Having an idea for something is never good enough; having the resources, team skills and even power or energy to make it happens is what counts.

And then which platform comes to rule over them all?

Gilly Salmon's five stages of e-tivities still applies, perhaps more so. Students (and colleagues) need quite a bit of 'onboarding' to feel confident enough with and familiar enough with a new platform in order to be able to contribute. Some get left behind, some run with it to the point of taking over.

The trick is to return to the platform over and over again. Help people use it, master it and enjoy it. Leave no one behind.

For me a new platform needs a mentor or coach, a voice I can trust to talk me through step by step showing me how this new platform applies to me. I then need to go over this repeatedly, take baby steps, make mistakes, take constructive feedback, and then make my contribution a weekly, if not a daily habit.

Another platform is never the answer. Having colleagues and students each wishing to show off and use the latest 'thing' they have found does not work either. There has to be common ground.

I feel a platform as simple as this OU blog is common ground. It does what is required. Even though I have WordPress blogs, I far prefer to post here. It is simple. It is immediate. I don't need to be pushing it on social media. I can be private to me, limited to those logged-in or shared to the world. 


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Learning from adversity

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 1 Feb 2020, 09:15

Using Lego Bricks to help orthopaedic surgeons understand different kinds of break of the upper humerus

Showing her true metal and drilling through every piece of information available relating to a displacement fracture of the upper humerus, and comparing French with English approaches, is now touching on my knowledge and experience of online learning in interesting ways.

A fall on a ski slope and thoughts of a dislocated shoulder saw us in a Cabinet Medical oat the bottom of the slope (Flaine) then a visit to a French Hospital. Triaged and seen within 90 minutes, an x-ray then a wheelchair to a room. Would a CT scan be required? Would it be taken then and there, or the next day? Would there be surgery involved?

Two days later we were in England, once again in A & E and once again faced with the question of whether a CT Scan was necessary. The CT Scan finally took place 9 days after the accident. X Rays had put the break on the cusp of needing further investigation to decide if surgery was required. It isn't - apparently.

In France surgery had been thought likely the day after the accident, then delayed to the following week. In England it was thought highly unlikely that there would be surgery - so no invasive procedure to add nails or plates to stabilise the two displaced fractures that had been identified.

Here comes the online learning bit. The 'Virtual Treatment' that has a dependency of online content, and video tutorials. Needless to say we are given bits of paper printed out, needless to say a copy of the CT scan comes on a disc, not via WeTransfer or Dropbox, needless to say 'we' (It is of course my wife) is on the phone and I am taking her in to see someone to change an unsatisfactory sling, or to seek more convincing advice on exercises required for her break at this time.

The issue when it comes to e-learning is this:  what does replacing the human face to face contact of a subject matter expect, a mentor (1 to 1), a tutor (small group) or a teacher (class) have either advantages or disadvantages? Thinking we must do away with one and do everything online is foolish. Indeed, I am rather wondering that by directing people online and by default inviting those with any aptitude to search online they come away with far, far more unanswered questions that will have to be dealt with by a person.

If I had £500,000 to spend on education in an institution am I going to spend it on tablets, desktops and Virtual googles, or a some informed, bright and motivated teachers? 

Links > Lego Humerus Fracture article 

As a patient my wife has access to the Virtual Fracture Clinic. Here we have there are clear, excellent direct to camera explanations and demonstrations. However, not embedded correctly these are difficult to use on an old iPhone. They of course assume that patients have ready access to the Internet - is that likely where those presenting with this kind of injury have an average age of 72? And then too much of the text is aimed at management and senior clinicians. When nursing her arm and struggling to understand the right approach to take to pain relief, one of three different slings she has now used and physiotherapy does she really need to be made to feel that the primary goal and achievement of the Virtual Fracture Clinic is to save money? £250,000 we are told since it was set up.

Wherein we can once again make a comparison to education.

The aim is to teach more students well for less money. To have fewer teachers managing more students and getting at least the same results (ideally better) and so saving money. 

I feel a backlash is over due. More and better teachers in front of smaller classes, with more face to face time for personalised feedback is the answer.

Take these videos on how to put on a sling for a fractured limb. Useful as an aide memoire after a face to face demo, but think of the differences between a child, teenager, fit middle age or over weight elderly person, make or female ? There is no one-size fits all video. Rather a consultation should be recorded and shared with the online savvy patient. 

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New blog post

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 29 Sep 2013, 07:02
I love to travel, not just on holiday with friends and family, but alone. Maybe this happens to you too, but I always find travel, especially new trips and destinations, is a catalyst to reflection.
 
All I did was take the first train out of Lewes to spend the day at the University of Birmingham. Two things that shook my brain: St. Pancras International ... and, sounding like a commercial, Virgin Trains. Although the train was quiet two people came through the train to collect rubbish ... as bubbly as buttons. Four times. The toilets were spotless. All in very sharp contrast to Southern Trains out of London where everything was overflowing ... 
 
I last studied 'lecture style' 31 years ago, yet I have signed up for one of these while I continue my learning journey here through all the MA ODE modules.
 
Learning is learning - it neither takes place online or off. It is in your head. It is what the brain is given a chance to do with it that counts.
 
I can now weigh up the two as I study in two very different ways in parallel.
 
There is of course 'blended learning' too that in a planned way mixes up both use of e-learning and face to face.
 
I met someone who, like me, has just completed a degree with the OU and we immediately began to share notes.
 
The OU is of ourse 'open' to anyone - online learning makes formal learning possible for any of us who either need to stay in one place, or are always on the move. People who need significant flexibility in how they manage their time ... and don't want the cost in time and money to get to a place for a tutorial, seminar, lecture conference. And people who 'don't get on with people' - not just agrophobia, you know what I mean. I switch constantly, sometimes very keen to be on my own ... 
 
Nothing beats getting to know your fellow students than spending a day with them, during coffee and comfort breaks, at lunch, walking through the campus, in seminar rooms before a talk begins ... and on the way home when you find part of your journey is shared.
 
Relationships formed here are akin to a long distance phone call, or letters to a stranger, even, oddly, having a chat with the postman or a builder ... you let them into your house.
 
And your head?
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H809: Activity 11.7

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 4 May 2013, 05:16

Reading 11: Richardson (2012)

Face to face versus online tuition: Preference, performance and pass rates in white and ethnic minority students

 

Make notes as before. You can keep your notes on paper, in Word on your computer, or in your blog.

We suggest that you use the questions from Activity 1.4 (or elaborations of these questions) to guide your note taking.

In addition, we want you to try to classify the studies using Tables 11.1 and 11.2.

We also want you to note any difficulties you have with this task:

  • Are there words or concepts you don’t understand?

  • Are there statistical terms or methods that are new to you?

Finally, how convinced were you by the research?

There are plenty of approaches that I am not familiar - what worries me or interests me is I cannot comprehend why or how the research question was ever considered one that would produce a valid result of any kind. It strikes me as working with a woefully small sample. It strike me that the words 'ethnic and black' are, like 'climate change' in there to garner funding. It also takes a ludicrously parocial and simplistic view of the human condition and what defines us as people. To be truly detereminisitic why not define people by the ward where they werebrn, or the LEA region where they were educated? The idea that this study could ever distinguish between online and face-to-face seems obvious - why do it if the study is akin to taking a magnifying glass to one corner of a Persian carpet ... then repeating the exercise somewhere else on the same carpet. These are pre-Web 2.0 techniques imposed onto a 'connecting' world in a period of transition.

 

Race a discredited term – rather use 'ethnitcity'

 

Many minorities within white.

 

(Why not have students offer an identity of their own construction? How would you define yourself? My choice would be Oxbridge Educated Atheist English ...

 

Not, do you fit into any of these categories, and if you do, are there any correlations ... but rather drawn from the students themselves are their preferable, better and more representative ways of doing it?

 

The contrast, in the examples chosen, between online and face–to–face is simply not great enough. Neither, either taking an holisitic view could surely be expected to impinge on who the individual is (genetic, DNA, neurobiological) or their background, upbringing or present individual circumstances (where/how they live, family, finances ....)

 

I prefer face–to–face – does this show a conservatism in that group? An unwillingness to try something untried?

 

Is the author asking the right questions?

 

How exclusively online is online where a student may be able to discuss at length the contents of their course with family, friends and colleagues – even people who have already done the course?

 

The quality of online tuition I have received during the MA ODE has almost always been hugely below expectations. Fsce to face the tutor hasti engage for the full time that you and other students are present, while the impression I have, too often, with online tutors is that they are watching the clock and give individual enquiries and questions inadequate consideration.

 

Carefull about making inferences due to causal factors as students chose the kind of tuition they would receive.

 

Sample, far, far too small.

 

REFERENCE

 

Richardson, J. T. E. (2012) ‘Face-to-face versus online tuition: Preference, performance and pass rates in white and ethnic minority students’, British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 17-27; also avilable online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/ doi/ 10.1111/ j.1467-8535.2010.01147.x/ pdf (Last accessed 04 April 2013).

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Learning or e-learning?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 2 May 2013, 05:29

If you could study full time at a college where there are only 30 students - all the same year group, and you work in teams of two or three - would you?

This 'college' has 500 mentors - people 'from industry' who come in as volunteers so that several times a week, if not most afternoons, the students have experienced people to listen and learn from how does this benefit the learning process? Is it 'learning from the periphery' when the 'centre' comes to you? It is socially-constructed, and cognitive?

How does this contrast and compare with 'learning at a distance' 'old school' with a box of books and DVDs or here on the MA ODE with everything online?

As a mentor at the School of Communication Arts, London I go in to sit with pairs of students for anything between 15 minutes and an hour. I listen. I try to be a sounding board and catalyst. I try to motivate. I refuse to judge or infect/impose myself, rather helping them to draw their own conclusions.

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Networking

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 17:02

The old fashioned kind ... off-line.

Evenings & weekends I'm a swim coach. Chatting to a parent last night about her son's crisis over course work and exams for GCSEs I mentioned the OU course I was doing. Before I know it I've got an introduction to the person responsible for training at a large county council. I was also able to get some insights into how 'e.learning' has gone. The greatest memory was of too many poor links in the early days so that anyone on a course constantly found they were being linked to the wrong place and coming to a dead end. After a few years of doing it all in-house it is now outsourced.

A start has been made.

Attending a Careers Fair in Brighton put on by Wired Sussex delivered three companies that specialise in e.learning. If I can convince them I can be introduced to their clients I may have an in here too. And once again, old fashioned 'face-to-face' interactions is/was the key. As salespeople know it is harder to turn someone down in the flesh and in this context they can see that I am a well-meaning, well-turned out, experienced & savvy bloke.

A start.

 

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