This blog post is part of the examination for the course IT in education I’m taking at Karolinska Institutet (KI). The course has introduced a number of different tools and techniques to help us as teachers in higher education to explore the benefits of using online tools in our teaching/learning activities. This examination assignment focuses on describing our current teaching practices, identifying a pedagogical problem that can be solved using ICT, writing a plan for how I will use ICT to solve this problem (and any support I might need in doing so), and finally to describe the results I hope to achieve.
Background – my current teaching scenario
I teach at the International master program in health informatics in at KI. The student group is very homogeneous with varied experiences and expertise; roughly half have a clinical background (physicians, nurses etc), whereas the other half have a technical background (software engineers, computer scientists etc). The scenario I have chosen for this assignment is quite narrow – one theme in one of my courses: prototyping. The learning outcomes are that the students should gain both theoretical and practical knowledge about prototyping in health informatics. Today I give a traditional lecture introducing the concepts, with shorter interactive parts, but with a lot of focus on transferring information to the students. Then the students work in smaller groups to develop their own prototypes, and at the end of the module they present their work and get feedback.
The pedagogical problem
As a teacher, I never have as much time as I would like to spend together with the students, and so I need to spend the time with them as best I can. Right now, I am active most of the time when I meet the students, whereas they are passively receiving information. It is not until they actually start to work in their groups that the questions occur – and then I’m not there! In addition, since the students have such varied level of experience and knowledge before, some students are already very familiar with prototyping methods and for them the lecture becomes very repetitive.
I have found a number of really good, short lectures from Stanford University on youtube that introduce the concept of prototyping. My plan is to use such learning objects to flip my classroom – to enable the students to prepare before we meet. That way the “passive” part of listening to a lecture is done before, alone. Of course I also want my students to be more active – so I will also try to activate their preparation time. Then the traditional lecture will be transformed into a prototyping workshop where we can work practically together – that’s usually when the important questions arise!
- Identify the learning objects (online movies/short lectures) that can replace important parts of my lecture.
- Formulate good questions the students can answer after having watched each short film.
- Identify important parts of my lecture material that are NOT covered by the learning objects I have found. This will probably include examples from healthcare, specific issues in health informatics etc. Then decide how to deal with these aspects – either make them part of the introduction to the workshop, or use Screencast-o-Matic to make movies of my own.
- Plan the workshop well to complement the information provided through the lecture films.
I hope that the students will find the course more fun, more flexible, and more interactive – that they will learn more from having access to me as they work on developing their prototypes! For my own sake, I also hope that the course will be more fun to teach – I have enjoyed using the tools in this course so much!