Take5 #9: It’s Autumn 2015/16 – and we’re getting creative with Chrissie Nerantzi

Welcome back to Take5 – the user-friendly staff development blog from CELT at London Metropolitan University.

This autumn we are launching Take5 by joining in with Chrissi Nerantzi’s open course: Creativity for Learning in HE. Like everybody else we are much too busy … BUT if we don’t make time for some creativity – then what’s it all about anyway? So – we are sharing this invitation with you and hope that you too will make the time – take the leap – and join us… Come on in… the water’s lovely!!

Tips:

  • If you are from LondonMet and would like to join in a real life group to focus on this course – do email s.sinfield@londonmet.ac.uk and let us know that you are interested.
  • Why not blog about your engagement with Take5 and with #creativeHE:
    • Blog posts need only be 300-500 words long – be swift and reflective.
    • Your audience will be other staff, just like you – so write your posts for them: why will they be interested in what you have done or learned? What will you want them to think or do after reading your blog post?
    • Blogs are less formal than essays or articles – find a writing style that works in a blog.
    • Add pictures (photographs or drawings) to make your blog more user-friendly and readable.
    • Read other blogs – each time you read someone else’s blog – ‘like’ it – leave a Comment. The point with the blogs is to create a friendly dialogue about what we are doing.

NOW – Here’s Chrissi’s invitation:

“Dear colleagues,

The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom will be offering the open course Creativity for Learning in Higher Education. I’d like to invite individual colleagues from across the HE sector and groups of colleagues from the same institution and their tutors to join this course as part of their CPD given them the opportunity to spice up their teaching.

We will explore the following themes:

    • Conceptualising creativity in higher education
    • Enablers and barriers of creativity in higher education
    • Learning through play, games, models and stories
    • The role of curiosity and other intrinsic motivations for engagement
    • Developing creative methods and practices
    • Evaluating a pedagogical innovation.

This course will be used as a case study for my PhD research in open cross-institutional academic development, with a focus on collaborative learning and I would like to invite learners to participate in this study.

The open course site for Creativity for Learning in HE can be accessed at:

https://courses.p2pu.org/en/courses/2615/creativity-for-learning-in-higher-education/

The facilitated online part of the course will be offered over 8 weeks starting on the 28th of September 15 until the 20th of November. Participation is flexible and can be fully tailored to personal and professional circumstances and time available. Collaborative learning opportunities will be there as an option for those who wish to learn with others.

I hope this sounds interesting and useful for you and colleagues. Please share this invite with others who might also be interested …

To get started access:

https://courses.p2pu.org/en/courses/2615/content/5638/

Connect with other learners in our online community at:

https://plus.google.com/communities/110898703741307769041

Really looking forward to seeing you there.

Please note, ethical approval for this study has been granted by Edinburgh Napier University and further details about the project will be shared with group/course/module/programme leaders who are considering joining us with a group of colleagues.

Thank you for considering this. Best wishes,

Chrissi (Nerantzi) from CELT, MMU”

Take5 – Post7: It’s March – coming in like a lion: designing new assessments and classes!

What do you do when designing a new course or developing a new assessment or assignment?
How do you check that you are working with your own education philosophy rather than against it?
How do you prevent yourself from trotting down the same old path, not challenging either yourself or your students?
How do you offer students assessment choice?
As Howard Rheingold said on #ccourses (http://connectedcourses.net/) – if we aren’t falling off – then we’re not dancing on the edge! So, for this post I am mostly re-posting a blog from Jesse Stommel – on Twelve Steps for Creating a Digital Assignment – or a Hybrid Class. The whole post can be found here: http://www.jessestommel.com/blog/files/12-step-digital-assignment-hybrid-class.html – and it is well worth going straight to Jesse’s post itself – where you will find a useful PPT illuminating all the issues – and a video discussion on this topic – which is a whole 54 minutes long!

In the meantime, here’s what Jesse says:
Digital Pedagogy is a recursive process, a constant interplay between building and analyzing what we’ve built – between teaching and meta-level reflection on our own process. While step number 6 below explicitly suggests bringing students into the process, I would advocate bringing students into the conversation as early as possible, even from the outset – helping to build the syllabus, outline the objectives of the course, design activities and assessments, etc. I always start my planning for the semester or quarter at the end of the previous one by asking current students to help reconsider and redesign the course for the next term.
Questions I ask myself when creating a digital assignment or hybrid course:
1. What is my primary goal for students with this course / assignment?
2. What is my digital pedagogy? How does my goal for this assignment intersect with my broader teaching philosophy?
3. What tools that I already use (analog or digital) could help me achieve these goals? (It is often best to use the tools with which we are already familiar, rather than turning to the shiny and newfangled.)
4. In order for this activity / class to work, what gaps do I need to fill with other tools / strategies?
5. Is my idea simple enough? What can I do to streamline the activity?
6. What is my goal beyond this assignment / course? How will the activity (and my pedagogy) evolve? (In other words, don’t feel like you have to meet all your goals during the first attempt — think of the process, from the start, as iterative). Think also about how you can bring students (their feedback and the fruits of their work during the first iteration) into the continuing evolution of the activity / course.
7. Go back to step 1 and work through these steps (and likely several times).
________________________________________

The next steps are pointedly “below the fold” and outside the first recursive loop, because assessment should never drive our pedagogies. Rather, good assessment is driven by good pedagogy. Thus, I continue by asking myself:
8. Does this activity need to be assessed? Or does the activity have intrinsic value? We should never assess merely for the sake of assessing. As I’ve said before, teachers often grade in many more situations than grading is actually required, but we should avoid with a gusto any impulse that turns students into mere columns in a spreadsheet.
9. Is there a way to build the assessment into the assignment? For example, can I have students reflecting on their process inside the activity itself? Can my assessment arise organically from within, and as part of, the learning activity?
10. What additional assessment strategies should I use? (These might include peer-assessment, self-assessment, narrative feedback, peer review, points, a rubric, letter grade, or some combination.) External summative assessment should be a last resort, a necessary evil (in some cases). I firmly believe the goal of education should always be better learning and not better assessments.
11. What is my goal in assessing student work?
12. Go back to step 8.