Last week I attended NAIRTL / LIN Annual Conference held at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Over 300 people attended and I early benefited from this conference as many of the presentations were fresh topics to me. All speakers presented on learning and teaching enhancements that they were investigating at their institutions. Martina Crehan and I were lucky to be chosen to present on how we have “Integrated reflective practice through the use of blog technology for professional development of teaching staff in higher education”. Martina coordinates the Post Graduate Diploma in Third Level Learning & Teaching and quite often it is a challenge for students to begin writing as a means to enhance reflective practice. Martina and I thought that blogs could be the ideal way of providing support for students to develop reflective practice. Blogs were piloted with students from February until June 2010. The findings were quite positive, the students enjoyed writing reflections in their blogs and felt that it contributed to their practice of reflective writing.
Based on the findings the blogs will now be made mandatory for all future students of the Post Graduate Diploma in Third Level Learning & Teaching.
The Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) workshop organised jointly by Athlone Institute of Technology and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology was very useful. This workshop featured role-play, the presenters took on the role of PAL tutors and the participants played the role of the first year students. It was a novel way of experiencing PAL from the first year student perspective.
I was delighted with the Technology Enhanced Learning stream and gathered lots of information. Etain Kiely (IT Sligo) investigated emerging technologies and showed how Dropbox, Googledocs, Sciplore (mind mapping package that identifies and tags files within a folder on your computer, then it links docs together) and Livescribe can all be used for learning and research.
All abstracts are available from http://www.nairtl.ie/index.php?pageID=27&eventID=236.
Niall Watts has written a post about Larry Ragan’s session Skills and competencies for teaching online.