Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Where do you draw the line?

I had a lesson recently where I gave a presentation and encouraged discussion and input from my class throughout the session.

The class in question has a number of individuals who are difficult to engage and who find it difficult to concentrate.  Throughout the presentation, I was faced with bad language, innuendo after innuendo and some degree of disruption.  But.... and it's a big but.... the class did discuss the information required, and they did contribute to the content.

Afterwards, I considered whether I should have been more forceful in trying to stop them from using such language in class, but it was a pay off.  I didn't want to alienate them by coming down too hard, but neither do I want to be seen as a soft touch.  Where is the line between tolerance and weakness?  I think it's a judgement call for each and every case individually.  I hope I got the balance right on this occasion.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Dissertation Planning - Blended Learning

In the next few weeks I need to submit a protocol for my dissertation, which, all being well, I should be starting in September.

However, I'm struggling to decide what angle to take.  I know I want to do online learning / blended learning, but the focus is difficult to pin down.  I could work with a diverse group of students - ranging from my youngest (school leavers) in an FE setting through to mature learners in a community education setting, and look at the different levels of engagement in online learning from the different groups.  Alternatively, I could focus on a single cohort of students, and dig deeper into the individual experiences they have with online learning, and whether these are successful or not, and why.

I have started a literature review, but I think I've got some way to go with this.  So far, I have identified that Gilly Salmon's Five Stage Model forms an excellent starting point, but that less research has been done on student engagement with a specific task and that there is more focus on social engagement.

Perhaps starting with a well structured task (using the Five Stage Model) and rolling that out to all cohorts (in a relevant format) is the way to go.  This will then form a comparison of different cohorts and levels of engagement, and perhaps suggestions as to how to promote the benefits of online learning to different groups of students.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be gratefully received.  Is there a gap somewhere that needs investigating?  Feel free to comment!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Resolution Specific Web Design

Great web lesson today, discussing and trying out creating websites which use different css style sheets depending on the size of the display that the site is being viewed on.

Actually, this area of research is really interesting - it opens up lots of discussions about how far a designer should go to ensure their site looks good on a variety of devices.  Ultimately, because of all the various issues with compatibility, failings of Internet Explorer and so on, creating a full cross-platform friendly site is not as straightforward as it really should be.

One thing's for sure - my own site (which is really a very basic site to demonstrate some of the things we cover in class) desperately needs modifying itself.  It's not good form for the tutor to have a shabbier site than the students!!  If only I could stop time to give myself a couple of days to get it sorted!