Module 5: Final Wrap

As a final assignment, I have been working on connecting and communicating with my peers and colleagues about planning, instruction and assessment practices in a professional space.  I took professional space to be twofold: online, and in person. This final post sums up what those communications and connections have looked like and what the results are.

NOTE: There are a number of posts related to this ongoing journey of discovery. To read the Module 5 posts in order, they are as follows:

Original Plan and Follow Up

Originally, there were three professional organizations where I intended to further the discussions started during this course.

  1. College Association for Language and Literacy (CALL),
  2. Lawrence College Centre for Teaching and Learning; and
  3. Fleming College’s Learning Design and Support team.

In brief, I am planning to submit to the CALL newsletter and perhaps later, the journal, but will have to follow up on that once the new semester begins and everyone is back at work. I am thinking along the lines of the types of integrated assessment that could work well in a communications classroom. I have been invited to consider developing and submitting a proposal for the conference next year, and will give that some thought.

I had good feedback from my St. Lawrence College colleagues both in person and online, and there is definite interest in my sharing some of what I have learned at our opening sessions on campus in August. To that end I am including here a link to a SWAY outlining the organization of the workshop I am planning.

Fleming College’s Learning Design and Support team and I had earlier discussed my contributing to their Open Faculty Patchwork project, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some insights into assessment alignment. That project is currently in the completions stages, but there may still be room to pursue this in either this or a later iteration.

Online Discussions

I’ve had a great deal of success over the past few years building an integrated PLN on Twitter, and in the past few weeks have used that to further the conversations about planning, instruction, and assessment in light of the fluctuating perspectives around curriculum philosophies.

Below are screenshots of some of the discussions and interactions I have had on a variety of related subjects.

On the viability of incorporating video into class and how it affects student agency in the class and online… On instructional design opportunities… on conceptions of e-assessments…

Final Thoughts

As I surmised earlier in this course, the Technological concept of curriculum is one that is still trying to find its place. Technology can be used to explain understanding in a Perennialist or Essentialist philosophy of education, can be used to demonstrate and learn in a hands-on Reconstructivist philosophy, or can be used to show, to create, and to transform learning in a Progressive classroom or school. It is both all of these and none of them, depending on many factors not the least of which are the comfort levels of the teachers, the willingness to try new ideas, and the culture of an organization.  My discussions have been inconclusive; the teacher jury as to whether incorporating technology into a classroom and why and how and how much….is clearly divided.

On the other hand, there is a leaning towards a more humanistic and student centered curricular design. This runs the gamut from giving students choice over assignments, to giving choice over the entire curriculum. It too is not without naysayers, and there is pushback from Academic Rationalists who tout standardized tests and accountability and point out that there is some data supporting this perspective as well.

I have a great deal more thoughts on both of these and how the different perspectives play into and influence my own teaching and assessment choices, and will actively pursue writing about this over the course of the next few months.

Course Outcomes

I’d like to reflect on whether I met the course objectives in this section of the course.

They are stated as being

  1. to educate participants in your professional community about conceptions of curriculum, educational philosophies, curricular designs, planning, instruction, and evaluation;

I have certainly made an effort to do so. This is still a work in progress, in part because of the timing of the course (summer). However, given my role at my college as part of the School of Contemporary Teaching and Learning, and given that I am already planning a start up workshop on assessment, I feel confident that I will be continuing to meet this objective.

  1. to share your views based on your newly-acquired knowledge; and
  2. to stimulate dialogue of practice.

I do both of these regularly already. Specifically for this material, I have shared my views with the greater PLN on Twitter, and in doing so have encouraged dialogue through different mediums including an ongoing Padlet. This is in no way confined to online; through informal meetings over the summer with our faculty coach, we have been looking at ways to continue to “stimulate dialogue of practice” on our campus in the fall around this and other curriculum-related ideas.



2 thoughts on “Module 5: Final Wrap

  1. Hi Denise,

    Your final thoughts really resonated with me because I feel as though I have come across the same divide when speaking with my colleagues at the school I teach. I find that sometimes the divide is department specific and sometimes it can be age specific. When I think about conceptions, I too find myself divided. I find different aspects of different conceptions appealing and find myself wanting to take bits and pieces and create a new conception. I also find that this “new found conception” would not also not necessarily apply to every class I teach and certainly not every grade. Perhaps this is where the conflict lies … we experience such differences between our classes and from year to year that one conception may be hard to nail down as the “go to” because it may only work with specific classes and their dynamics.

    Great post! Got me thinking!

    • Thanks, Corinne,

      I think educators need to be comfortable switching our delivery depending on students and content needs. Educators who are inflexible, who are stuck in one way of thinking, are not necessarily reaching everyone effectively.

      One thing that has bothered me in recent years is seeing the move towards student or problem based classrooms at the expense of subject based learning. I get that this switch gives other (sometimes less academic) students options to demonstrate learning through collaborative practice and that’s great. But at same time, this risks marginalizing fast, smart, introverted learners for whom subject based was very effective.

      I’m not saying we couldn’t all benefit from learning to collaborate and show divergent thinking; just that it seems clear to me that there is a place for all approaches and that one size fits all is not necessarily in our best interests.

      This course has opened my eyes to the philosophies underpinning what we all do in classrooms, and the importance of understanding why we choose certain approaches and what the benefits (or perhaps shortcomings) of each might be. In this way, we can better tailor our curriculum and ensure our planning, instruction, and assessment practices align.

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