What’s new?

17 Sep

Theemptyraincoat In an educational environment, the first hint of autumn signfies the start of a new year. (It’s no stranger really than New Year being celebrated in deepest winter).

Here’s what I’m looking forward to this year:

  • We have a record high proportion of PR students out on year placements. As well as visiting several and keeping in contact with others, I’ll be helping to ensure that this work experience is equitably assessed as it now counts towards the final degree classification.
  • Welcoming new students and attempting to enthuse and inspire them. I attempt this each year and am learning to moderate my expectations. For many first year students, the big novelty is leaving home and settling into university; the course is secondary.
  • We’re piloting electronic and online portfolios this year. Students will do the same mix of practical work experience, but present it on screen rather than on paper. This raises questions of content, confidentiality and copyright that it will be interesting to work through and resolve.
  • In once of those happy Dance to the Music of Time coincidences, my wife is starting a course by distance learning (also at this university). So the boundaries between teaching and studying, earning and learning are blurred. That’s as it should be (and as it will be for all members of The Empty Raincoat generation).
  • I’ve taken on a some new management responsibilities. The details aren’t of public interest, but it’s time for some new challenges. That’s also as it should be.

4 Responses to “What’s new?”

  1. Richard Millington 17/09/2007 at 10:30 am #

    Here at Glos Uni placements aren’t given a grade as such, rather just a pass (you survived a year of employment and managed to hand in a portfolio)or a fail (you didn’t do the 48 weeks or you didn’t bother to hand in a portfolio).
    I was disappointed really, I felt I had a lot to show for my placement which didn’t then have an impact upon my degree.

  2. Richard Bailey 17/09/2007 at 11:25 am #

    Thanks, Richard. I’d remembered you saying this, but can’t claim it’s influenced our decision. Work experience is clearly a good thing in itself, and it’s a bonus to have it contribute towards your degree.

  3. David Phillips 17/09/2007 at 4:56 pm #

    Hi Richard.
    We did this last year with a common assignment across all students using a wiki for presentations. The golden rule was that using other student’s work is encouraged but it has to be fully and properly attributed.
    Really good student work was cited a lot and it became important for students that their work was cited by others and, of course, all students could see it their work was copied and not attributed – they were their own policemen and could also comment on each other’s pages.
    I was told that this would produce vanilla work all looking the same and with exactly the same content. Far from it. Sheer peer pressure meant that they had to out do each other with some wonderful work resulting.

  4. Richard Bailey 18/09/2007 at 10:05 am #

    Well done, David: a pioneer of ‘open source education’.

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