I went to a presentation about open access teaching resources at ALT-C this year, and it made me think about the resources for teaching that have become available as a result of the internet. There is a massive resource to be used. I think it is unusual for a teacher in HE today not to use the web as a resource to find teaching supplements (too bad for the teaching supplement business). Isn’t this really what open access teaching resources are.
I was chatting to a colleague earlier about how we are quick to use the resources that are there, and she reminded me that we have begun using public blogs in a big way in our teaching.
In my module last year, I required the students to present evidence, followed by informed opinion, on a public blog. As a part of the weekly exercise, the students had to comment on each others work. This has formed a network of blog entries (600+) of a reasonably high standard discussing evidence based education. This year, we have started blogging with our psychology research methods students in Years 1 & 2. I think that it is early yet to see what the outcome is, but I know that, as we continue, there will be thousands of entries about studying psychology, and issues around how and why we conduct research. My colleague is using blogs in her MSc module studying consumer psychology, and is really pleased with the engagement of the students.
My colleague reminded me that these blogs are both public, and informative, and do add to the resources available for teaching. We all add what we have to the pool, and the pool just gets deeper and richer.
In the winter semester of 2011, I taught the Science of Learning class again to the final year undergraduates in psychology here at Bangor. The class is about applying the principles of psychology to formal learning environments. I had decided to go out on a limb, and assess the entire module using blogs. The students were required to have a weekly blog entry, and make a certain number of comments, and I would mark them weekly. With 67 students, a bigger task than I had imagined (about 2.5. hours/week), but enjoyable nonetheless.
I made a presentation to our LEG (Learning Enhancement Group) in August about how wildly successful the class was, and have uploaded it here for your enjoyment (just over an hour).