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From Constructive Alignment to Natural Lines – Learning to Share Control in Education Mark Huxham Director of Academic Strategy Edinburgh Napier University.

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Presentation on theme: "From Constructive Alignment to Natural Lines – Learning to Share Control in Education Mark Huxham Director of Academic Strategy Edinburgh Napier University."— Presentation transcript:

1 From Constructive Alignment to Natural Lines – Learning to Share Control in Education Mark Huxham Director of Academic Strategy Edinburgh Napier University

2 Sharing Power – Why Not?

3 The Oscar Wilde Problem ‘The problem with socialism is that it takes up too many evenings’

4 The Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown Problem: ‘ Leave as you arrived.. only more so ’ Stewart Lee

5 The Proudhon Problem What is ‘authentic authority’? ‘In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker’ Michel Bakunin

6 The focused feedback failure Ask students to direct feedback to areas of concern… ‘focused feedback’ As suggested by educational literature and the NUS 13 modules recruited Years 1,2,3,4 and postgraduate >700 annotated student scripts collected and analysed What could go wrong?

7 Only 6% of students requested ‘focused feedback’ Those that did focused on relatively superficial issues (eg references) ‘what if it's wrong and I would draw their [the tutor's] attention?’

8 My ‘better than average’ D.I.Y.?

9 Model answers: Student preferences? Category1 st year th yearAll data Both personal and model feedback Personal feedback Model feedback No preference4083 ‘I prefer to receive feedback as handwritten because you don’t just give the rite (sic) answer you tell us where we went wrong too..’. ‘..(it is) a friendlier way of marking with comments..(which can) prove helpful’

10 Model answers: Student performance? Year 1Year 2 Middle (± Some Difference)

11 My module ‘pre-mortem’ before ‘Sharing Control’ A sense of fragmentation and surface learning – limited time to explore important topics A feeling of missed opportunities – have I failed to really enthuse everybody with this important and fascinating topic? A lack of commitment and engagement – some students don’t turn up, some don’t prepare, some don’t share problems

12 So where do students have ‘authentic authority’? First..in the experience of classroom learning..

13 The effects of ‘interactive windows’ on student learning in lectures Huxham, M. (2005). Learning in lecturers: do interactive windows help? Active Learning in Higher Education. 6, Part time groupFull time group Window 1 Window 2 ‘ open ’ ‘ closed ’ ‘ open ’ Single lecture, given in the same week to two separate groups of students, containing two ‘windows’ SIGNIFICANT !

14 second… in assessment… ‘assessment seems to me to be another learning opportunity and an exam doesn’t strike me as any sort of learning opportunity, it is just a memory exercise. I understand that there is a lot of technique involved in sitting exams and answering questions but I don’t think that the exam is necessary to develop those particular techniques’ ‘problem solving questions – having to apply skills – are needed…whereas exams, if you can master mnemonics, or any other memory technique, then you just concertina the information down and then spread it back out again’ ‘If you are going to rejig the exam then I wholeheartedly support refocusing it on applying skills to solve problems rather than recounting knowledge’ https://www.facebook.com/groups/ /

15 third.. in location and duration..

16 Fourth… in content? ‘I am personally more interested in participating in deciding how the course will be delivered than the actual content of the course itself; not through fear of the unknown or indifference but rather that in that matter I feel it is sensible and most beneficial to our education to defer to the wisdom of our teachers.’

17 Original arrangementArrangement following discussion Teaching and learning practice All lessons in classrooms‘Sandwalks’, trips, pubs Two hour lectures or one hour tutorials Up to 6 hours of ‘blocked’ time Clear distinction between lectures and tutorials Distinctions between didactic lecturing, discussions and problem solving blurred Module evaluated by a standard ‘end-of-module’ questionnaire Continuous evaluation; ‘bootgrit’, facebook, discussion

18 Assessments and feedback An unseen, three hour, end of module exam (60%) An open book, ‘take home’ examination with five days for completion, based around three critical essays (50%) A critique of a fabricated scientific study, due in week 5 of semester (20%) A critique of a published scientific paper, due in week 4 of semester (30%) Written feedback on the critique by week 7 One to one oral feedback week 6, replacing and enhancing a timetabled class

19 We can do better than Roy Chubby Brown… but it takes time and trust Many graduates are ‘determined from above..’ (Freire), ‘well we’re students so we are interested in assessments that give us the highest marks’. I'm not paid to make the curriculum, I'll just roll with the punches. In all honesty the way education is going why not just let us all pass and release us into a world where we can work in a bar or Tesco metro with all the other undergraduates ;) ‘Felt like I learnt a lot. I understood things instead of just pretending to understand. Really relaxed, hard work and fun at the same time.’

20 Natural linesConstructive alignment Mountaineering metaphor Surveying/engin eering metaphor Identifying an elegant route Creating an efficient route Team effortIndividual effort Process informed by outcome Outcomes determine process Bounded flexibility and spontaneity Carefully planned and predictable Requires risky commitment Risk is minimised


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