Not to “go it alone”. If I was to lead the review, I would want to do it with a group of individuals who could help champion the progress forward. Discussions with the HOD lead to the advocacy of a “working group” that would have delegated responsibility to review, and make an informed decision and administer changes within the curriculum. At the next available staff meeting, the Head of Department called for expressions of interest in a Curriculum Working Group and a number of key (and well respected) staff volunteered to be involved
“Do a few things well”– then move on. I was keen to establish the idea that we would tackle a couple of areas of the curriculum at a time- though always returning to the agreed framework that had been established to ensure that if fitted with the overall vision for the programme.
Empathising– understanding the human needs involved. This includes consulting (and re-consulting) the students, staff, and stakeholders to understand more about their concerns about the programme. Engaging and empathising to understand their experiences and motivations of the current curriculum, which allows setting aside of own assumptions of the needs of the programme.
Defining– reframing and defining the problem in human-centric ways. The important information has been gathered to define the core strengths and weaknesses that the working group has identified up to this point. This is usually done by creating “Problem Statements”
Ideating– creating many ideas in ideation sessions. Here, solutions are generated. Now with an understanding of the needs of the students, staff, and stakeholders, the working group can “think outside the box” to identify new solutions to the problem statement to look for alternative ways of viewing the problem
Prototyping– adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping. The group then presents a number of versions to the staff- or sub-group. The aim is to identify the best solution for each problem statement. The solutions are investigated and either accepted, improved and re-examined or rejected based on the responses.
Testing– developing a prototype/ solution to the problem. While the final stage includes the application solution, there may be further refinement as a deeper understanding of the impact of the implemented solution is developed.
Empathising– Once the group had been established, I arranged a meeting (utilising www.doodle.com) and set about gathering some background information so we could start the process well informed. This included a review of the framework models and common themes proposed by teams of staff before amalgamating the models into the “preferred” framework. I also met with the Student Representative Group to ensure that I had “student voice” in any proposed changes. At the meeting (23rd July), there was general consensus in that we agreed (1) we had some good content already; (2) we want the programme to regain the “gold standard” status we had as a physiotherapy programme; and that (3) it was the framework [and delivery] that we needed to turn our attention to, and- with continued feedback from staff and students- ideas would be informed, presented, redesigned, implemented and evaluated.
Defining– Key members of the Curriculum Working Group were delegated to gather further information on identified “key themes”. Information was gathered then presented back at the next staff meeting (21st August). From this, we agreed to focus initially on two key themes for the overall framework- (1) the integration of research, and (2) the role of optional papers within the programme.
Ideating– Based on information gathered at the empathising stage, and then confirmation of key themes at the staff meeting, I was able to immediately put research and elective options to staff in a survey sent via email (21st August). The aim was to provide staff with six options, to then determine a preference with qualitative data on their reasoning. The survey was open for just under a week (21st- 27th August) which resulted in a response rate of (78%), with 21 responses from the 27 current teaching staff.
Prototyping– once I had collated the research and elective survey data, I arranged a second meeting (11th September) with the Curriculum Working Group to discuss the next set for prototyping. Ideas were discussed and documented on an “evolving ideas whiteboard”…
How will the students be informed of the video and audio being captured?
How will the video and audio be captured, and will it be able to capture the movement throughout the practical examination?
Will there be enough storage space on the device? I.e. there is currently 186 first-year students, 140 second-year students, 130 third-year students (and 126 fourth-year students). During the examination weeks, one module from each of the year cohorts would be assessed. With multiple examinations running concurrently, so to would be the need for hardware to capture the examinations. (For example; concurrently running examinations for one Year 1 paper (4 stations/ cameras); one Year 2 paper (6 stations/ cameras); and one Year 3 paper (4 stations/ cameras) would require 14 cameras in use simultaneously). Examinations would run throughout a working day (eight hours) which would need to be downloaded (and/ or viewed) at the end of the day; then cleared to enable enough storage to be utilised the following day.
Students are given adequate notice of audio and video being captured (i.e. in intro lecture; in Paper Handbook; in review lecture/ labs; and or on examination timetable)
Captured using a stationary camera (i.e. to minimise distraction) that has adequate audio capture (mic) in that position
Data captured on a secure server (I drive) for up to end of Exam Board (re. appeals) then deleted
Storage for ONE Day of assessment (up to 10 hours) before requiring downloading and clearing for the next day. While there are a number of servers that are able to host video capture (i.e. YouTube Live; Cinamaker, Periscope or LiveStream), they either could record the capture to be viewed after the assessment; or were at a significant cost for the department.
Easy to use(set up; record; playback; download for storage). This was more subjective by nature- having a trial of the various camera’s in store
Good audio capture (within a 5 metre radius of the camera). The majority of the cameras trialed were able to pick up the voice of people at a distance- though normal (not hushed voice) was required
Adequate video capture. This was mixed though was represented accurately in the specs (i.e. you get what you pay for)
Add lines for “slides”- done. No extra work to develop “ideas” into “slides”
Limited tools = no fiddling…#1. As the tools available in the Evernote presenter is fairly limited, this, in turn, limited your ability to spend potential hours on perfecting the slides; or adding in unnecessary slide transitions or animations… It is simply (1) decide on the colour of the pointer; (2) colour of the background- white or black; and (3) the font size.
External links and back- no problem. When an URL link is clicked in Powerpoint, the presentation is superimposed by the browser which then requires the user to escape, find the PowerPoint again to then return to the rest of the presentation. In Evernote however, while a full screen of the external link is provided, you have the option to open the image in the browser or to return to the Evernote presentation at the click of a button (top left corner when presenting). Makes for much simpler transfer between open applications.
Present on another screen?- easy. Evernote gives you the choice of which available screen you want to present on (right click on the Evernote and choose “Present on another Screen). While this is available in PowerPoint, it is a bit cumbersome (Slide Show-Set Up Show- Monitors).
Images/ pdf difficult to view online. When the audience clicked on the link for the associated Evernote, the web-based outline unfortunately warped some of the images. However, this could be rectified by clicking on the attachment icon, by “viewing as presentation” or “View in Evernote”.
Limited tools = no fiddling…#2. With the limited tools, it does mean that you would need to ensure that any images you need are already developed beforehand- either using Evernote tables, audio or video recorder or file from external software. This might lead you back to PowerPoint which was the case for me as I included slides from a previous presentation.
Images to pdf. On the note of inserting slides from other software, Evernote converts these images as pdf. I am unsure of the rationale for this, other than might mean that viewers are unable to change the image and/ or to reduce the size of the files.
Salomon, G. (2016). Interaction of media, cognition, and learning an exploration of how symbolic forms cultivate mental skills and affect knowledge acquisition. New York: Routledge. ISBN: 1138972959 9781138972957.
In 2016, I entered as a joint Paper Coordinator for a third-year physiotherapy undergraduate module (Managing Complexity in the Community Environment). We inherited a paper that was very didactic in delivery and required the students to incorporate their collective knowledge on the module into one Summative Assessment as a written assignment. While the assignment had to be submitted to Turnitin for a review of plagiarism; students were also required to submit the same assignment to Blackboard for the purposes of marking. This seemed non-intuitive and open for error. Student reviews for the paper in 2015 were “average” to say the least, and as incumbent Coordinators, we agreed that we would utilise creative liberty to refresh the delivery and mode of assessment.
We gathered up the teaching team to discuss a new approach to the assessment. The teaching had been delivered by four lecturers- all with their own specialty. The purpose of the paper was to demonstrate complexity in common physiotherapy conditions. With the teaching being delivered by four key lecturers- all with their own specialty- it was proposed that we adopt a problem-based learning approach, which used complex case scenarios from the four key areas as a mode to assist complex clinical reasoning and consideration of interprofessionals. These cases were delivered in small group teaching to enable discussion and exploration of the scenarios- some of which included blended learning through a virtual environment (myself) to incorporate resources they would readily utilise when on clinical and graduation, as well as to promote “investigation” of the scene- rather than providing all clinical features for the students.. .
We also wanted to emphasise the importance of good clinical documentation- in particular- referral letters to interprofessionals. Our first summative assessment, therefore, included submission of a 1 1/2 page referral letter (with 1/2 page of endnotes) that was submitted to Turnitin (Appendix 1). By keeping the assessment relevant to the case scenarios presented in the small groups; the assessment clinically relevant; and also some creative license (i.e. students came up with their own letterheads; business name; digital signature: and logo)- it made it all manageable for students. By submitting once to Turnitin and utilising the available marking tools (including cut and paste; user strings, etc) it made for easy turn over of feedback to students which was then utilised for the second summative assessment (clinical reasoning regarding the content of the letter).
Impact on Assessment
So- this is where “To Turnitin” worked for us last year (2017):
- Reflection on clinical problem-based learning
- Rather than an “assignment”- assessment was relevant to a clinically useful skill that was not otherwise introduced (or assessed) in the programme (i.e. development of concise referral letters)
- Develop consistent feedback strategies
- Use of a Rubric for learning outcomes (Appendix 2)
- Link comments in Turnitin directly to the learning outcomes
- Use “QuickMarks” “Commonly Used in Turnitin
- No information in the “User’s Comments” Section- feedback was to be provided “within” the assignment
This approach has been found to be successful by the teaching team, with the students quickly seeing the clinical relevance- rather than “just another assignment”.
In an effort to learn from other colleagues, discussions with the paramedicine team revealed that they have extended the assessment within Turnitin to using not only the audio feedback feature, though have included attaching a video (mp4) for feedback. This seems to have been well received by the students. It may be something that we need to consider for future use of Turnitin for our module; or to disseminate the effectiveness of the practice to others within our department at a staff meeting… (Appendix 3)
I have been using Evernote for a number of years now, though have not been conscious of how I use it. Here’s my reflection on what has worked for me:
- Get Premium. While the free account gets you going, I enjoy the fact that I can access the notes from a variety of devices- including offline and has a more powerful search facility (including searching pdfs and handwritten notes)
- Organise folders the same as email. I have used the GTD strategy of organising folders in my email. By replicating this in Evernote, I automatically organise appropriate documents into the right folder. Always problematic when you think that a key phase is best at the time, though makes no sense later on- better have the two systems using same “key words”
- Tag- if it works for you. Certainly helps for grouping. Personally, I find tagging more labour intensive as the built-in search tool and use of the folders above does me fine. Others I know who use Evernote swear by the tagging…
- Know your Evernote email. This can be found by looking in your Account Info
- Know some shortcuts. When sending emails, know that:
- The beginning of the subject line will be the title of your note
- To pop your email straight into a known notebook, include “@” immediately followed by the appropriate notebook in the Subject field.
- Into tagging? Add “#” immediately followed by an existing tag in the Subject field
- Need a reminder? Include an exclamation point- e.g. Email Subject: Portfolio Meeting !2017/04/12
- Need all of the above? Then the order is Email Subject: [Title of Note] ![Reminder Date] @[Folder] #[Tag]
- Want to quickly present your info? The presentation tool is a quick and easy way to present what is in an Evernote note. Once in presentation mode, look to the far right where you can change the “Presentation Settings”, adding horizontal lines to your note to create the likes of slides…
- Install browser add-ins. Most browsers have add-ins that you can download to make clipping notes to Evernote a piece of cake!
- iOS IFTTT applets. The “if [this occurs] then do this” applets for iPhone and iPad are also handy. This might include converting your Reminders to a note, saving Instagram photos or Tweets to Evernote, quickly appending to a to-do (or shopping) note, or copying new Evernote to Onenote
Our third year, semester one physiotherapy programme aims to integrate knowledge gained from the previous two years as well as “step up” from a NCEA level six to level seven paper (Table 1). This includes a shift from a more teacher-directed approach to that being mainly student-directed learning (SDL). This in itself required an integration of knowledge from multiple papers (fields), problem-solving unfamiliar (and at times complex) scenarios and learning through leading others in the development of problem solutions. In student feedback of papers in semester one, year three, students identified as being (somewhat understandably) anxious of the workload; felt unclear as to where to start; and that “bringing it together” was overwhelming. These concerns, therefore, reflected on a paper that I coordinate (PHTY710) in that semester.
Table 1: NZQF Level 5-10 Descriptors (adapted from Table 2, The New Zealand Qualifications Framework p30)
In order to capture anticipated SDL habits, barriers to learning and confidence in skills related to the paper. To do this I developed a Google Form survey which was delivered in the first lecture of the paper. First, I mapped out the types of questions I wanted to include (study group involvement; anticipated SDL hours; barriers to learning; and confidence in practical assessment and treatment skills). From there, the development of the Google Form survey was relatively easy. On opening a new form, a brief description was provided. While I had just done this verbally in the lecture, I wanted to acknowledge that the purpose of students entering their personal email was to receive in individual “snapshot” of their learning (which they could return to compare at a later date). Lecturers did not respond to individual reflections, rather, looked at the overall summary.
Reflection on Benefits
I chose Google Forms to develop the survey for a number of reasons that were beneficial:
- It is free. While there are other online survey platforms available, they sometimes come with limits to access to some of the editing tools and/ or how many responses you are able to collect before you have to pay. Google Forms does not have these limits and has some third-party plugins that can be utilised to export data into other software platforms
- It is linked to Google Drive. As a novice to Google Drive, I have been trying to utilise it as best I can. Like other “cloud-based” storage systems, you are able to share a link to the document; and can edit to meet your needs as time goes by. Previously I have set up a link to a document/ form with a Bitly address or QR Code to find that it is “not quite right”, though adapting the form would require changing the link and code. With Google Drive, you do not need to make these changes as long as the original document you are amending is in the Drive.
- It is (mostly) familiar. Students here in New Zealand have been made aware of the use of Google Drive and Google for Education platform since primary school (year three- 6-7-year-olds). Therefore, access, the look, expectations for submission did not need too much explanation.
- Data can be exported. Again, similar to (1) above, the quantitative and qualitative data can be easily exported to third-party platforms freely. While analysis could be made in Google Sheets- I am personally still too familiar with formulas in Excel to give that up.
Reflection on Constraints
- It requires smart devices or laptops to work. If you want to capture data immediately (as was the case for this survey to enable a 24hour turnaround of interpretation to direct integration in the tutorials)- then students need to have brought their devices with them. This could be pre-empted by sending an announcement to the student prior to the lecture.
- It requires reliable wifi. A couple of years ago- this would have been problematic in our University, though thankfully, not the case now. This is something to consider for those that are performing the survey at a distance or in remote, rural areas.
- It is not familiar with non-school leavers. As this was a class of third-year students, the majority had transitioned to having smart devices and use of technology. The format of online surveys was less familiar to those that had not recently left the secondary school environment. That said- I had no “mature” students identify an issue with completing the survey, and as I could see the names of the respondents, they had completed the form just as ably as their younger counterparts…
As the survey was conducted in the lecture, the response rate was 93% (120/ 129). The summary of results was collated easily as was using Google Forms analytics. The result summaries were then used to develop the tutorials for that week (i.e. the next three days) and were presented to the small groups which are between 18 and 25 students.
Study work barriers
This survey found that less than half (48.3%) had not established themselves in study groups. As this was the beginning of a new year, students are rearranged into new groups according to the papers they are taking- therefore may have had an effect on already established groups. 44% (n=57) indicated that they would be studying alongside work commitments; 1% (n=9) with high-level sports commitments; 28% (n=36) had a family commitment that may be barriers to their SDL for the paper. These barriers were not surprising, though the extent to how many were required to continue to work, sport and family commitments was somewhat revealing. The work-study-life balance is one that potentially requires more emphasis as students enter full-time study and/ or when the academic level of expectations increases.
In a recent survey across seven universities in Canada, students expressed concern with balancing work, family, and education (20.8%), failing to set aside enough time for study while meeting personal, family and social obligations (14.4%) (Sauve, Fortin, Viger, & Landry, 2018). In a sample population of 2291 college and university students aged 18- 26 years of age, it was found that working while studying reduced the amount of time spent in class by 47 minutes and on SDL by 56 minutes, with other extracurricular activities (i.e. sport) lead to 22 minutes less SDL. (Crispin & Nickolaou, 2018).
It was also interesting to see the overestimate of SDL hours that students felt they would be completing towards this paper. While the majority (58.3%) mentioned 5-9 hours; they were some that thought they would be committing 10- 14 hours (9.2%) or 15-19 hours (5%). If combined with other papers to be completed in the semester, this would equate to up to 76 SDL hours alone… A summary of the results was able to be presented during the tutorial time, as was reassurance that our expectation of SDL hours was much less than what some had indicated.
Impact on Teaching, Learning or Pedagogy
Confidence of Skills
The main purpose of the survey was to help the students to identify early what skills they were confident with as they entered the paper. Skills that the students were “less confident” with were integrated into the planning of the tutorials for the first week using problem-based learning. Some students just needed a few pointers as reassurance that they did know the information required, while for others it was a “gentle reminder” to include it in their study plan…
End of Semester Review
We issued the survey again at the end of the semester to identify progression and to focus again on skills that they were less confident with two weeks prior to the examinations. These practical skills were focused on in the “review” tutorials that were again case based. It was pleasing to see that students identified an average of 9% improved confidence in performing all 34 skills (range 2- 19%). New skills introduced in the paper were also rated on confidence, though could be reviewed again before the students enter their “intern” fourth year of the programme.
Crispin, L.M. & Nicolaou, D. (2018). Work and play take school time away? The impact of extracurricular and work time on educational time for live-at-home college students. Applied Economics, 50(24), 2698- 2718. Doi: 10.1080/00036846.2017.1406656
Sauve, L., Fortin, A., Viger, C. & Landry, F. (2018). Ineffective learning strategies: a significant barrier to post-secondary perseverance. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 42(2), 205- 222. Doi: 10.1080/13504851.2017.1343443