Thursday, October 13, 2011

TILT blog

It was a pleasure to meet the Accelerated Graduate Programme students this morning. This programme is designed for students who already have a degree and want to become a nurse. We had a chat about the role of IT in nursing and then went on to classic induction stuff. Just before the session I suggested the following to the programme manager and got a warm reception. I set up a CampusPack blog and called it 'Things I Learned Today'. I told the students that they would be writing a single entry per month, and they were all given a number (there are less than 30 students). I explained how that a key engine for learning was writing, or framing discourse, and that assessments were often just a way of getting students to do that. Here we have a different audience completely but still the learning process potential with blogging that could benefit the individual and the cohort.
The introductory post went like this:
Please post an entry on your allotted date. Write something that you learned today, even if you do not think it was very significant. Something that struck you on the radio, in a session, and why. You can write about anything you think you and your group of students might be interested in. You can be controversial, but please stay within the bounds of 'polite'. Keep the language conversational and succinct. Don't feel you have to write more than 75 words.  Make sure you add some tags to help us all find what you wrote. Feel free to add a (helpful) comment to an existing post. The list of 'dates' and names is below - best to stick to that for the first time around. That way everyone gets the same opportunity. I'm not going to be holding people to their date although I reserve the right to listen in occasionally: I've clicked 'Subscribe' to get an email notification of new posts (you should too). 
I hope you make a go of this because it has great potential for your own learning and that of your peers. If I can be of any assistance, including moving to a different blogging platform, please get in touch.
I then asked for volunteers to go first, listing the first few.... But then I noticed a few looking uneasy so I carefully asked if everyone was ok with this. I was able to address their concerns about whether staff could read what they wrote, for example. The answer to that question was 'yes'. So I offered that, if they wanted to, I'd help them set up a blogger/wordpress blog and shut us out. In the event, they were more than happy to start out using our University platform. My role here was clearly to facilitate the process.
I've also posted an example post as follows:

I don't want to steal Amy's [not real name] limelight (yes, this is your day ;) but I did say I'd share that link to the report this morning on Radio 4 about the NHS failing the elderly. The radio broadcast can be heard again over at the BBC 'listen again' site. If you want to add a link to a post just get the URL, highlight the text to hyperlink and then click the 'chain' button on the far left of the bottom toolbar.
This report attracted my attention for a number of reasons, firstly because I know someone who suffered quite a lot of neglect and negative culture, which the NHS seemed unable to deal with. The second reason is because the key to this in the report is 'leadership'. How will you go about unpicking the tightly knit cliques that exist and resist positive change? (hmmm... that was 145 words)
Nothing really new here... but it does emphasise the role of the teacher in terms of designing and facilitating networked learning. Someone has to be in there 'promoting connections'. That reminds me, I probably should give Amy a reminder that today's her day... or should I?

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