The first week of this course is mainly focussed on learning space, be it physical or online. I have organised my reflections according to the progression of the week.
Before Ibegin, let me first provide a little more detail in response to the question ‘What is learning space?’
‘Spaces are themselves agents for change. Changed spaces will change practice’ (JISC cited in Oblinger 2006).
Now, when picturing a learning space, we tend to have a standard image in our minds of a classroom, or in HE a lecture theatre. A place where students are directed to face forward and pay attention. This weeks learning aims to disrupt this image.
Identifying learning spaces
Learning spaces can actually be just about anywhere. I have a fond dream of being able to teach upon a great grass lawn outside of a university… it sounds very american! However, if the learning environment matches the topic, teaching outside would be a fantastic idea.
As part of Coventry University London, I believe a tour of London would be a great learning opportunity for British Culture during enrolment, but I feel staff and student time, as well as budgets are limited for top bus tours.
What the course brings to light is that learning does not necessarily have to take place in a physical environment. The use of online space is itself a learning environment, and this has somewhat been elluded to in previous courses of this module (active learning).
What surprised me most was how students had a preference for using learning space to engage in group work, as reported in a course video interviewing students.
When asked to reflect on the physical space our lessons take part, I was again reminded that the rooms available are not always fit for purpose, nor do they promote engagement.
The course then pushes us to think of different methods for using our space:
‘The virtual is a space in which we can be, just as we can be in physical spaces.
It’s any space in which we can meet others, interact and coexist using networked digital devices. We may interact simultaneously using blogs or instant messaging if we desire, or interact asynchronously via email and discussion forums. Whatever the function, virtual spaces can often make us feel. They have the power to immerse us, to generate emotional attachment or a sense of belonging within us, and therefore influence our level of engagement and interaction.’
When thinking of online learning, I have a few thoughts:
We were given a few examples on online learning spaces, including: Moodle, Simulation and Google docs. Prior to beginning the PGCert, I had given myself and my team the task of training on Moodle lessons, in order to create interactive online sessions. My team have also gone one step further, creating and embedding our PDF handbook as an interactive book.
‘Blended approaches use multiple methods to deliver learning by combining face-to-face interactions with online activities’ (HEA 2017).
Blended learning is something I am working hard on for personal tutoring, allowing different opportunities to engage and develop.
From this week of learning, I will definitely start looking at how to use more online tech in the classroom, perhaps even looking into the use of Social Media.
One thing I really liked about this week was how short and snappy it was. I was able to learn at a more suitable pace, with the ability to spend more time on certain areas of interest.