#EDUC90970 Creating a blended Ecology undergraduate subject

In the latest assignment task for Facilitating Online Learning within the Graduate Certificate of University teaching we are re-designing our courses to be delivered either fully online, or using a blended approach. During this course I have been particularly interested in the Pedagogy-Andragogy-Heutagogy continuum, and the potential advantages that a heutagogical approach has in promoting deep learning, and better preparing students for the workforce through enhancing skills like innovation, creativity and self-directedness. Up until now though, it has been hard to envisage how this might work practically within a subject, and so this was a challenge I set myself when considering the design of an Ecology undergraduate subject. This learning framework, along with that of Social Constructivism, which is where students create the knowledge within a co-learning environment (Palincsar, 1998) are the pedagogical approaches that were applied to this curriculum re-design.

In the current face-to-face delivery mode, the learning is generally synchronous and directed, with the group research projects only taking place during a one day excursion, leaving little opportunity for iterative double loop learning.

The current structure of a face-to-face Ecology undergraduate course

In the new proposed structure for the course, the movement to short online videos to deliver the content gives the opportunity for self-directed and self-determined activities within the face-to-face lecture time, in a flipped classroom approach. Peer-learning can be maximised through group presentations, or solving of problems applicable to the theory learnt (‘authentic learning’). The group project is chosen by the students, and they present their ideas, and methods for class feedback early in the process. The group project will occur over most of the semester, allowing students to consider what and how they are learning in an iterative process with time for reflection.

The structure of a blended undergraduate Ecology course
The Ecology of Resources. Collaborative learning will be promoted through social media and online collaborative spaces.

The design of this subject should be adaptive, learning as the new delivery mode is applied and reflecting back on whether it has been successful in creating a more authentic and self-determined approach to student learning.

Generic model for conducting educational design research (McKenney & Reeves, 2012)

References

McKenney, S., and Reeves, T. (2012). Conducting educational design research. London: Routledge.

Palincsar, A. S. (1998). Social constructivist perspectives on teaching and learning. Annual Review of Psychology, 49(1), 345-375.

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