This week has been an interesting one in terms of the student led seminars. I have found it really thought provoking in terms of my own practices. This has been one of the most useful aspects of this course so far generally, it has been very grounded in what you are doing now and how you can make small changes to improve/redesign. It allows you sometimes a critical thinking space which is so important.
It was very interesting listening to this weeks podcast that spoke of a whole range of factors that you may not always think of when you start designing a curriculum. For me the eye opener was the examples thinking about the UK/US-centric examples that one tutor had used in their module. The interesting thing for me was that the way that the tutor had taken note of this feedback and had the flexibility to try and react to this feedback the following year. International students often bring in such a rich experience of their own cultures, designing ways to try and encourage the sharing of experience can really. As a tutor being confident and able to encourage and facilitate this sharing can be a real skill.
As Palloff and Pratt (2013 p.30) note:
- Establishing guidelines for participation (developed in partnership with the learners)
- Striving to achieve maximum participation
- promoting collaborative learning
- Promoting/facilitating reflection on the learning processes
Are all key to to successful online pedagogy.
The key aspect of so may of these points is the role of the tutor. I think this is also true in terms of starting to build an inclusive curriculum. The role of the tutor is vital and I would say the relationships with their learners is a key thing. To develop a knowledge of their needs as online learners is a key aspect of being able to design an inclusive curriculum. The ice breaking tasks used by both seminar groups have been cleverly designed to allow them to build up an understanding of us as their learners and how we engage with courses. Their techniques have made me think about the way in which I use some similar ideas in my own teaching and how I can develop these a little more effectively throughout my workshops. For instance I use the visitors and residents idea in an introductory part of a workshop, but this two week seminar has really made me think about how I can use this activity in later parts of the workshop to make students assess their own online identities further.
So often this relationship takes time and energy to develop and often it also relies on skills of the tutor to be able to adapt and reflect on their practice. I think this is the other point that I have really taken away from the seminar and how important this process is in terms of inclusive curriculum design. An inclusive curriculum design is an iterative process.
Throughout this seminar it has made me think about the way that we have designed some online courses recently and whether we have considered inclusive curriculum design well. All of the videos and interactive elements in the courses have been developed with transcripts etc. and taken into account advice from JISC Tech Dis. However this seminar has made me start to question the lack of the tutor presence in these courses and whether this represents good practice in terms of developing online learning/ creating an inclusive curriculum design.
Palloff, R. and Pratt, K. (2013) Lessons from the virtual classroom. 2nd Edition. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass
JISC (2014) Documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Available from: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/using-assistive-and-accessible-technology-in-teaching-and-learning/documents-presentations-and-spreadsheets [Accessed: October- November 2015]