This sub-section of my website is specifically focused on CMALT certification. In it, I provide insight on Operational Issues; Teaching, Learning and Assessment Processes; a View of the Wider Context; Communication; my Specialism; and Future Plans.
2. Teaching, Learning and Assessment Processes
Demonstrating understanding of and engagement with teaching, learning and assessment processes.
Working With Others
Candidates should demonstrate their knowledge and skills in communication through working with others.
Statements could describe the way in which your work involves collaboration, for example through participation in a team or acting as an interface to other groups. Relevant evidence would include reflection on collaborations with others, reports outlining your activity within a team process, how you have brokered support for a particular initiative (for example from a technical or legal support service) or how you have worked with others to solve problems.
Where your evidence involved collaboration, please acknowledge the contribution of others. You may also chose to discuss how you select appropriate forms of communication.
In this section I discuss the importance of communication beyond simply explaining things to staff and students or sending out information that needs to be shared. Creating opportunities to communicate with staff takes time, a mixture of opportunism and planning, and an approach which makes explicit how engagement will help colleagues reach their own goals.
Staff and Basecamp
In the past academic year, the Foundation Degree in Computing course has undergone the revalidation process with Ulster University. As part of this process I have learned a great deal in curriculum design. An area I have not performed as well in, has been collaboration. In much of the paperwork, I completed the work myself, and only made use of the lecturing team for individual module design. This created and placed a significant workload on my shoulders.
We are now at the point where the individual module design needs to be completed and so to learn from previous mistakes, I have researched and found a project management tool that will enable me and the team to work collaboratively, while reducing the workload on me.
Basecamp is a professional business tool, that aids in the project management process. I have built an area that lists what is needed in each module and how it is to be structured on the college digital learning platform.
In the screenshot, I have created individual module areas that are for the module lecture pair to work through their part of the project to create their own resources, but structure it in a manner which will result in modules that are consistent and self-contained for each week of study in the module. This particular curriculum design choice has been made in light of the new Higher Level Apprenticeship in Computing that the NRC will be starting in September 2019. This design will aid lecturers in only having to design one module, and it will benefit the student with a consistent and systematic approach to the course that is intended to aid greater learning.
As a tool, there is much that Basecamp offers my team to complete the task of designing their module content:
- To-do lists
- Message boards
- documents & file storage (although this isn’t a necessity because of our own network / cloud storage and digital learning platform).
- Real-time group chat
- Check-in questions
- Hill charts (to check on progress of a task)
- Direct messages
These can all work to create better, more efficient, more meaningful communication in my lecture team. Particularly where we are split across two campuses, 26 miles apart.
Students and Slack
As part of my own professional interest, I run my own website and publish my own writing in areas of pedagogy, technology enhanced learning, computing and professional development. I have been writing for my own website from September 2017. I share my work on social media and through it have had quite positive feedback as well as requests to write more on particular topics.
I have benefited from these requests as it has made my writing more in focused on what interests other professionals; deepening my own knowledge of a topic and help to evaluate the reach and effectiveness of posts on certain topics.
I research my own content and share it on social media and professional networking sites. This contributes to my own development as a professional, as the content is researched and professionally structured to show my references.
Posts are self-directed as well as requested and inspired from social media. This occurred during the series on Instructional Design and again recently in a post on “What are Digital Skills?” that will be published as a result of a conversation with an FE lecturer in another college on Twitter.
Also contributing to the communication aspect of CMALT and the development of my communication skills is a weekly twitter chat that I participate in, under the hashtag #niedchat.
This weekly meeting involves teachers from across Northern Ireland from all levels of teaching – Foundation stage / Key Stage 1 up to FE. The topic of discussion are always related to teaching and have proven useful to inspire new practices and how a concept might be adapted in a Further Education classroom.
The twitter chat has also been useful for developing the skills needed to communicate effectively within the character limit that is in place on Twitter. The ability for brevity has been an area that has required development. I have found in a number of previous roles, I have always had an academic writing style and it has been necessary to develop a more realistic style of writing in communication with colleagues and customers. This process is still ongoing, but participating in this group chat has had a positive effect on my communication skills.
What I Have Learned From This.
Communication is something that is requires careful planning, organisation and an intentional direction.
Communication is a two-way street. Simply implementing and setting up Slack will not / and did not make lecturers or students communicate more – it has to be something that I lead in by example. And even then, there will still be some that will choose to not engage.
Communication is not a Personal Announcement system.
Opportunities for communication and collaboration have been created with the intentional use of Basecamp and through careful but purposeful planning, communication and collaboration can be developed.
While the above have been aspects of learning for me, one of the most meaningful parts of this communication has been to allow me to become aware of the different people, groups and expertise which are available within my institution and beyond, sharing and adapting my own practice in response to discussion with students and in undertaking the redesign of the foundation degree.