Ontario Extend mOOC – Module 6

Set of coloured paints

I’m currently participating in the eCampus Ontario Extend mOOC focused on technology enabled learning.  As part of this medium sized Open Online Course (mOOC) it was suggested that participants keep an ongoing set of notes to document and organize their thoughts about the experience.  As a way to document my experience I’m going to be keeping informal blog notes that reflect on what I’m learning and the activities I’m engaging in via the mOOC.

Module 5 of the mOOC is called “Scholars” and is focused on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) with an emphasis on identifying instructional practices that might work in your classroom. I’ll be working through this module’s activities this week and will be sharing my work below as I complete it:

Identify and list three key characteristics of SoTL that resonate with your own experience and practice.

  • Looking closely and critically at student learning and changing practices based on analysis (inquiry/action)
  • SoTL is about sharing knowledge, about communicating what works and what doesn’t work, and creating a community of practice
  • It is reflective, and that reflection should be personal and tied to your teaching practices.

Pick a few statements that would motivate you to become more engaged in SoTL activities.

  • Building networks among faculty to share strategies and increase student outcomes. Emphasis on conversations and relationships
  • Student centered approach – with emphasis on student success

Create and refine a SoTL Research Plan

Research Question

-How can my work support students to develop critical reading skills for history/archives classes.
Identify challenge/outcome related to learning  that is related to your question.

-Measurement might be done through gauging students ability to discuss assigned readings and their ability to complete verbal and written response exercises. This measurement could be done before and after the activity proposed below.
Describe the instructional activity, assignment, or teaching strategy that will promote student learning on the outcome you identified.

Old Approach: Have students read through assigned readings on their own, provide suggestions of questions they might ask while reading, and suggest they bring one or two questions about the reading to class.

New Approach: Provide an in-class session focused on critical reading skills, where the class annotates an article together and critically reflects on the reading. This could be followed-up with a written response or discussion activity.
Describe the evidence that would persuade an external audience that the new or modified teaching strategy improves student learning on the targeted learning outcome.

-Compile background literature on critical reading assignments including pieces specific to history, eg. “Assessing Critical Reading Assessments at Huron University College” http://activehistory.ca/2018/04/assessing-critical-reading-assessments-at-huron-university-college/

-Compare discussion levels after the learning activity — use open access materials in both cases so there is no barrier to students accessing the information.  Compare skill of written responses based on readings.

-Provide examples of instructional activities which could be used to develop critical reading skills, that way others don’t have to start from scratch.
How and where would you publish, present, or disseminate this work?
-My go to dissemination platform for this type of work is ActiveHistory.ca or a similar history blog – publishing on such a platform would allow for the piece to reach a range of historical practitioners. I would likely also consult informally with colleagues both at my institution and those at similar institutions in Canada. My strategy is also partly dictated by the fact that I don’t see this work informing a full academic paper at this point, partially because of the ethics listed below.
Reflect on whether there are likely to be any ethical concerns with the research you are planning.
-If this project is aimed solely at improving student responses to reading by the introduction of a new assignment/teaching method there shouldn’t be any ethical concerns.
-However, if a decision was made to publish/formally disseminate this work I think a clearer plan taking into consideration student privacy would need to be developed — especially since I work at an institution with such small class sizes.

Feature photo credit: Denise Johnson on Unsplash

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