Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2010 overview

This has been a pretty intense and busy year as I consolidate research skills and complete several externally funded projects. Reports for the Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub project ‘learning a trade: Developing guidelines to study trades learning using multimodal discourse analysis’ completed along with the first eight reports (1 to each of 7 ITOs and a background report) for the ‘first year apprentices’ Ako Aotearoa National funded project also done (whew!) The final report for the ‘first year apprentices’ project due in June next year, allowing me time to consolidate the literature and my thoughts and to catch up on reading over the summer.

Final draft of the Phd also completed and awaiting final comments from my supervisor. Should be ready after that for delivery to the markers. Will be strange not having to continuously work on the dissertation but the Phd journey has been really worthwhile, providing the opportunity to learn, practice and hone a range of academic skills. I am forever grateful to my long suffering supervisor who patiently moved me through, using a range of impressive teaching skills including modelling the painstaking tasks of word smithing my early attempts literally word by word and sentence by sentence!

A busy year too with regards to continual professional development over a range of topics. I attended 10 conferences /symposiums presenting at 5, keynotes in 2 and helping with organisation of 1. Also presented in 8 other workshops / networking type meetings across a range industries / ITPs. On the academic side, assisted with reviewing papers for one conference and 2 journal articles.

At CPIT, research capability building begun and progressing with several projects moving on into 2011 and a couple to get started. Teaching commitments have been rewarding and there was re-development work to be done on some of the DTLT courses I teach as the programme is prepared for sharing with two other ITPs.

So lots of activities and I need to reflect on what has been achieved and how to build on these to move forward into the future. In particular, how to continue with development of vocational research capability both at CPIT and beyond and to scope and prioritise projects that will garner external funding support.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Learning welding #7 and building #2

About coming to the end (of the funding) for the welding project. Flip has good ideas on how to move the project forward, so my role will be to support him with a funding application for next year.

We have drafted a short report on ‘learning welding: Improving the learning of welding using peer-learning and feedback’ that will become one of the appendices in the ‘guidelines of using video to study workshop and workplace learning’ due with Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub this week.

It’s one of many small sub-projects / research questions we mashed about with over the course of the year. So much to study, so little time!! The students have been great, cooperating fully in the various activities. Perhaps the youtube generation is less camera shy. There seemed to be no worries from students whenever we appeared with a video, asked for permission and gathered data. We still have about 90% of the data to analyse more thoroughly as well!! In particular, the data collected with groups of building apprentices on worksites and at their training evenings still needs to be more thoroughly transcribed and analysed.

There is delay in getting an official copy of atlasti on to my desktop as our IT department is doing a mass roll out of Microsoft across the institution, replacing a Novell system. We have been using a trial version of atlasti which only allow for a limited number of files. So hopefully, we will have atlasti in place by early next year to do some concerted analysis of the video data.

From the learning accomplished over the course of this year, I will be drafting a proposal for funding into 2012. This project will include ‘trades’ tutors from several polytechnics in NZ and will possibly revolve around issues of competency based assessments. The tutors will either be tertiary teaching award winners or nominated by staff developers as being motivated to embark on a research project. The prime objective will be to build capability for vocational education research with trades teaching practitioners. On the whole, trades tutors are extremely student and content focused and research is one way for them to bring another perspective into the continual appraisal of their teaching. Embarking on the research journey will require some interaction with the vocational education, workplace learning and practical skills/knowledge learning literature. I am hopeful it will help open doors to relevant scholarship and help to contribute not only to enhanced student learning but more focused understanding and application of the vocational education literature.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Ako Aotearoa Symposium 2010 day 3

Day 3 dawns fine and sunny for the last day of the Ako Aoteaora Academy Symposium.

First up – Christine Rubie-Davies presents ‘G + T on the rocks’ – the experience of gifted /talented undergraduate students in a tertiary environment. No systematic or planned approaches towards fostering ‘A’ students in NZ primary / secondary and tertiary systems. However, this leads to an ‘untapped’ resource. Funded by Ako Aotearoa Northern hub and run across 4 faculties with 2 staff and 4 student focus groups. Research questions on ‘how talented students defined / identified’ and support provided. Definition of talented included ‘schoolhouse giftedness’ (school grades, creativity, innate, quick learners); multiple talents; personal qualities (people skills, work ethics, leadership, initiative). Talented students identified by staff mostly intuitively/informally. Support of students included individual lecturers; early identification; providing facilitation and leadership opportunities; providing specific provisions; and importantly for students, recognition. Issues included unsupportive individual lecturers; difficult to fit in; lack of opportunity; and assessments. Plans for future include piloting a ‘intervention’ study based on findings – identify at end of first year; differentiate assignment tasks; recognition for talented students; invitation to department and staff seminars; advice on scholarships; inclusion of mentoring scheme; and talented students to act as tutors. I suspect investigation of 'talented' in the trades area will reveal different definitions.

Secondly, ‘scholarly peer review of teaching’: returning ‘quality’ to teachers - with Mark Brown. Who is defining quality and for what purpose? Played video ‘we are the people we are waiting for’ as a challenge to academy members to consider their roles as educators. Challenges to enhancing quality include the tensions inherent in education. E.G. clear standards: creative flow; externally imposed requirements :internally owned commitments; central quality police: local professional responsibility; quality compliance: quality culture and quality assurance: quality enhancement. Introduced the concept of using a ‘scholarly peer review’ to form a quality enhancement framework. Need for academics to ‘own’ quality and the process – not just imposed by institution.

After morning tea, group discussion facilitated by Paul Denny on ‘did I jump or was I pushed – capitalizing on opportunities’ with Julia Bruce, Roger Nokes, Tracey Poutama-Mackie and Marc Wilson. Each presented on how they had moved on (usually through connections fostered through the academy) beyond their award. Julia talked about her journey since the award and support provided by academy (local and committee) on her growth as a staff developer. Also provided 4 videos produced as part of the ‘good practice’ grant. Roger spoke on leading and learning as Head of Department, member of academic board and acting chair of teaching and learning committee and the challenge of representing teaching but also wearing a ‘management’ hat. Tracey presented on the history of her institute – People Potential – as it played a big part in how she has developed as a teacher and now as academic leader and staff developer as manager of youth transition services in Whangarei. “my success should not be bestowed on me alone, as it was not individual success but success of a collective”. Marc presented on his experiences on how the award has contributed to his academic life. Teaching and researching can be very isolating and preparing portfolios for awards provides opportunities to introspection. Also, accepting positions of responsibility within institution should be taken as it widens perspectives and leads to connecting and contributing to the wider university community. Including how to deal with media in a structured way.

After lunch, a session on ‘the academy and YOU: your chance to contribute’. John Hoskin presented on what has been achieved by the academy thus far and workshopped the session to work out future direction for the academy. Also provided background on the separate roles / synergistic relationships between Ako Aotearoa and the Academy. Academy is an independent voice and how can we leverage on this. For next year, encouragement to bring forward more project;, establish ‘regional champions’ to strengthen links between academy and hubs and convene more regional events; establish a ‘teaching day/week/month?’; and portfolio mining. Committee to work on creating a voice for the academy (guide to media relations, training etc).; portfolios volumes; lobbying (internal/external) – how to do this as academy members within and without our own organisations; encourage collaborations; mentoring of PBRF; commission research – effect of PBRF?; finding our kaupapa. Good discussion followed on direction forward for the academy.

The symposium brought to a close with an adapted pecha kucha session organized by the Canterbury team led by Tim Bell.

Official conference closing with mihi Tracey Poutama-Mackie.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Ako Aotearoa Academy Symposium 2010 - day 2

Day two opened with address from Hon. Steven Joyce, Minister of Tertiary Education with an introduction provided by Academy committee president, Dr. John Hosking. The minister reiterated his support for the work of teachers. In particular for the academy to contribute to fostering networks and strategies to improve learning opportunities for students. This comes from continued interface between institutions / teachers and industry to work on cost effective good quality education. He introduced plans for next year given financial constraints, the usual focus on completions being linked to funding.

Key note for the day from Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington on 'curriculum by design' or 'how to reduce the number of courses offered by your institution'. Presented the different ways 'curriculum' is understood by different sectors within the institution but also perceived in different ways by the students. One approach may be to use a ‘learning spaces’ platform to move curriculum re-visioning and perhaps an ‘ethnographical’ research approach to investigate curriculum design to ‘reframe curriculum’. Need to understand only the ‘formal curriculum’ but also the informal ‘co-curriculum’. So curriculum by design may be through understanding ‘flow’ (what does it feel like to move through the curriculum?); entry /exit (where do I go in, where do I go out?); formal and informal (what to ‘take on board and when do I ‘wind down’?). Strategies include course and unit reduction and/or renewal; timetabling and movement; recognition of formal and co-curriculum (the Monash Passport) and enhancing coursework approvals. Interesting concepts to take into account as CPIT moves towards ‘constructive alignment’ approach to programme design.

After morning tea, Selena Mize presented on 'not just a qualification: getting students to integrate what they learn into their lives'. Provided overview of ‘motivating students’ for a legal ethics course; using clickers; and influencing values of students. Need to ‘motivate students’ as legal ethics course was made compulsory! And change in student’s perception from ‘wanting to do it (intrinsic) to ‘having to do it’ (extrinsic motivation). Went through strategies to use to engage students in intrinsic motivation. Covered introduction to using ‘clickers’ effectively to enhance student’s intrinsic motivation including going through the various types of ‘questions’ possible and advantages/disadvantages of each type. Lastly, when through guidelines on how to ‘influence values’ and whether it is actually ethical to ‘instill’ values. In sum, to try to develop students’ self-reflection by exposing students to multiple viewpoints and difference methodologies; use examples that bring injustice and suffering from immoral behaviour into focus and include a real world focus (not just an ‘ivory tower’ perspective); make value challenges feel relevant and personal to student; encourage class participation; consider use of literature and narratives; guest speakers can also serve as role models; in some situations develop morality through doing; encourage reflection, introspection, deep thought; take a long-term perspective; be open and non-judgemental.

Lighter session introducing the new academy committee followed by a session with Professor Sally Kitt on 'quality and standards in higher education: recent Australian developments'. Presented the Australian context with parallels to NZ situation. Detailed the journey of developing the ‘threshold learning outcomes (TLOs) by using the case study of LAW as an example. Good overview of the various ‘fish hooks’ involved in trying to produce ‘generic’ learning outcomes for a range of disciplines.

After lunch three session on IT in the classroom. Beginning with my session on ' alternatives to powerpoint'. I provided 7 web 2.0 alternatives with 4 useful in f2f and 3 for online environments for everyone to play with and evaluate. Also included brief discussion on how to use powerpoint as a tool to enhance student learning.

Then 'fun with panopto - student feedback and teacher reflection' with Alison Campbell. Panopto allows lectures etc. to be recorded and then put on to a CMS to be available to students. Video of lecture, powerpoint, screen capture of board work and embedded videos etc. available. User friendly system with lecturer only having to turn things on before lecture commences and then turn off and download into repository. Especially good for improving teaching practice for reflective teachers and for identifying students who may be struggling and are uploading and watching the video.

Followed by seesion on using 'AVS video editor 4 in Teaching' with Christine Rubie-Davies. Showed process of uploading video clips from TV programme, how to select and trim the video and use these clips for learning activities.

After afternoon tea, an introduction to the new members of the academy, the 2010 winners of tertiary excellence award winners. TTE award past winners who are buddies of each of this year’s winners introduced the winner they supported and each winner provided a brief presentation and were given a copy of this year’s TTE booklet (fresh off the press).

Lisa Emerson and Ngahiwi Apanui then went through changes/revisions to the tertiary award criteria so that members may support potential applications to the award. Lisa also provided insight into the process from her perspective as being a member of the TTEA selection committee. All selectors do a quick scan of all applications and then have a telephone conference. Then committee meets to do the shortlisting by matching applications to criteria. At end of day 1, 12 shortlisted and on day 2, the list is finalised and then a ballot is done to chooses the Prime Minister’s awardee. Day after the awards, a debrief takes place.

Day ended with drinks and a convivial and entertaining symposium dinner.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Ako Aotearoa Academy Symposium 2010 - day 1

In Wellington for the annual Ako Aotearoa Academy symposim, with about 50 plus academy members attending and with many presentations from academy members. Began with short welcomes from Dr. Peter Coolbear, Helen Dobson and Dr. Sally Kitt as the symposium convened at 2 pm.
First keynote from Prof. Marnie Hughes-Warrington from Monash University on 'writing 'I' makes me ill: assessment and self assessment. Covered assessment policy - shift towards criterion based assessment; emphasis on 'authentic' assessment; and recognition of early, formative assessment. Came about because her peers did not see importance of assessments. Embarked on a project to find out where, how and from who students learnt history and found out most did not know how they would make use of their history studies! Introduced 'self-assessment' as a way to try to share with students, the learning process for history.

After afternoon tea, 3 concurrent sessions with one on 'putting the T into the PBRF' from John Hosking and Tracy Riley and a 'funding clinic' with Kirsty Weir, to keep up to date with various funding streams availed for projects, research etc. I attended , 'Teaching practically' with Sam Honey, Kelly Pender, Adrian Woodhouse and facilitated by LIz Fitchett. Adrian presented on some of the strategies used to engage his learners. For instance how to teach students the parts of a hogget or pork cuts. So project evolves from purchasing a pig to maximising the use of the pig by ‘adding value’ and having the pig become part of a ‘commercial venture’ i.e. selling the pork products with it’s accompanying relishes, breads etc. at a farmers market Students took ownership of the project, leading to much self-directed learning and responsibility for their own learning and assessments. Kelly and Sam presented on how to incorporate Kaupapa Maori into tertiary education (within a Certificate in Fitness (level 4) and preparation for a law enforcement career). Need to fully integrate so that it becomes enmeshed into the culture of the programme. Presented a good range of strategies provided to engage students, incorporating aspects of kaupapa Maori and enable students to explore their own beliefs and set future goals.

Good to meet up with many from the last symposium and to welcome the 2010 academy members (all of whom are attending). Look forward to a full and busy day tomorrow.