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Learning Outcomes are formal statements that articulate what students or learners are able to achieve after following set of instructions, and why they need to do it. It is a process that weighs the objective of doing something and the outcomes of doing that thing. To measure if the LOs have been met, students need to be assessed. Assessment gives the assessor the opportunity to understand how well students have learnt, and also to use the evidence for constant improvements (Baume 2009).
LOs, enables the selection of contents that are important for learners, develop instructional strategies to deliver these contents, design, develop and chose what instructional materials to use, build tests materials for assessing and evaluating learners and improve the teacher ability to deliver contents. Using actionable phrases (verbs) to know the why can lead to great learning outcomes formulation. For example, in order to locate background information and statistics of a phenomenon, a learner starts by identifying, consulting and evaluating reference books or journal articles related to the topic. To formulate the LOs in this case, the teacher starts with what students need to know? And why they need to know it (Pek 2002).
This introductory section of LOs, form the preamble for what LOs should be and how they should be formulate for quality teaching.
LO1 Using effective teaching methods and support of learning
With my experience of delivering lectures at the university, colleges in London, being an IT trainer, I have used a wide range of teaching methods over the years. Depending on the environment and the LOs, in this section I intend to elaborate on some of the methods that I have used in the past, advantages and disadvantages of the different teaching methods used.
The process of determining LOs starts with the selection of a teaching method (TM), lecturing, small group and class discussions, videotapes, webcast and one-to-one discussion are common examples of TM. In my experience, there is no cut and dry method, in most cases a combination of strategies works well. In line with Gibbs (Gibbs & Habeshaw 1993) due consideration should be given to the following when selecting a TM:
The subject matter, i.e. what is it about?
How knowledgeable the learners are to the subject
What need to be achieved (learning objectives)
What is the available time frame to meet the learning objectives
How many learners are involved or the size of the group
Are the participants the right people for the subject?
Learning styles of participants
The room layout
Different students learn better in different ways, for example, international students in my class in London prefer visual information while home students prefer verbal inputs. My class is not unique, Glauco reported the same phenomenon in his work on learning style in the multicultural classroom (Vita 2001). This phenomenon can be attributed to cultural differences which play an important role in individual learning style. Additionally, different subjects and topics are easier to understand when taught in different ways. I deploy an interactive strategy with adult students undertaking Cisco Networks training program, this permit discussions, interactions, participation and exchange of viewpoints because of the subjective type and the learning environment which require interactivity between students, the trainer and hardware equipment (experiential learning). Contrasting this with a lecture hall at the university with over 80 students, I deploy a power point presentation with explanations, pauses, questions and answers because of the class size, the time frame (1 hour) and the subject type which has a no student-hardware interactions(cognitive and constructive learning).
In light of selecting teaching method, I have always select suitable methods for the stated learning objectives and LOs.
The following sections highlight some of the methods I have used in the past and reasons behind their selection.
Lecture is widely accepted as the best teaching method for larger classes (Carpenter 2006), in computer science (e.g. computer networks), lectures are often followed by lab sessions where students individually work on materials through guided lab sheets. In most cases, the lectures are used to illustrate processes rather than analysis of contents. As a lecturer of computer network (CNET) modules at the university we follow this approach. Students attend an hour lecture which is then followed by a two hours lab session where they implement different network designs and architecture discussed in during lectures. By using both cognitive and constructive learning theories(Swan 2005), the learning objective of the module can be achieved.
Though a very useful method, based on my experience and research in this area (Griffiths & Oates 2003), lecturing strategy has the following advantages and disadvantages as summarise in the table 1.
Table : Advantages and disadvantages of lecture method
Lecture can be used in any classroom size. In a larger classroom, lecture is the only option.
It is teacher centred and do not take account of different students learning styles
In a conducive and well-presented lecture, students can be motivated to investigate more about a topic.
Reduces student participation as they become passive and less active with topics of less interest.
The teacher being at the centre of the lecture has total control over everything that happen in the class creating a "one-to-many" based communication which might be ideal for a large class size learning environment.
It is one way communication, student's ability to learn depends on notes taking and attentiveness. The teacher can only know if learning is taking place through questions and answers.
This learning method enables students to be actively involved in what they are supposed to be learning. In the computer science discipline (e.g. computer network) which I am involved, students are divided into groups of 3 each. The first 10 minutes of the lab session used to read and brainstorming possible implementation solutions by reflecting on the in-class lectures. This is important because students are given the chance to openly express their opinion about the lab, and what is deemed as possible implementation solution is agreed by the group with the guidance of the teaching.
Using discussion method and social learning theory (Bandura 1969), I am able to pull knowledge and ideas from different students. This is useful because in most cases students will have background information about the lab from lectures and should be able to evaluate and analyse different opinions. Students learn by being able to implement their own solutions to a lab scenario.
Though a useful method in the lab environment, from my teaching experience and research in discussion teaching methods (Welty 1989), table 2 summarize the advantages and disadvantages of using discussion method as a teaching method.
Table : Advantages and disadvantages of Discussion method
Students have the leverage to actively process information and ideas.
It is time consuming and unfocused if no clear direction is given to the students.
It is unique opportunity for students to share experiences and get involved in making decision on what best practices should be used to achieve the objective of the lab.
Students could be protective of their ideas and makes it difficult for the instructor to get others involved.
Being interactive, it open communication channels between teachers and students to feedback each other.
The size of the class must be restricted
This laboratory work approach of learning enable students to role play (i.e. experiential learning theory) concepts introduce in lectures (Fry et al. 2009) and (Kolb & Boyatzis 1999)
Introduction to new concepts, procedures and techniques, can be a bit daunting to students; I have used demonstration to complement in-class lectures at the university and in other colleges that I lecture. Demonstration sessions generally begin with an overview lab session, and the list of points the students need to focus on. Using this approach gives them an idea of what the objectives and the LOs are. This is followed by the session proper, where students are given the chance to perform the procedures just explained in the introduction session.
To ensure students are in line with the objectives, I spend the rest of the time observing what they are doing, offering suggestions and feedbacks.
Using demonstration as preliminary approach for students to practice some of the concepts learnt in lectures has proven to be a good method of teaching. In light with Brophy (Brophy 2000) and my experience in using demonstration teaching method, table 3 show some of the advantages and disadvantages of using demonstration as a learning method.
Table : Advantages and disadvantages of demonstration method
Active participation is critical to learning new skills, demonstration enable students to participate in learning.
This method does not work well in large class environment, in most cases, videotapes are shown in monitor, which takes away that interactiveness with students
Students interest peak up, as they can experience some of the concepts first hand by getting involved
It is time consuming to set demonstration sessions
In computer networks, demonstration is the only method of conveying complex theories.
Demonstration might not always go as planned, as things break down, takes a long time to set them up.
Teaching methods form the bases on how teaching has to be delivered, different environments, subject, topics and students may require different teaching methods. A combination of two or more teaching methods can be used in effective teaching. However, due consideration should be given to what learning theory can be used and the pros and the cons of individual teaching methods.
LO4: Designing, selecting, and using learning resources and ICT to develop an effective learning environment and learner support system.
An effective lesson depends on the materials used to deliver or teach it, for students to learn to their maximum potentials, teachers need to identify and create effective teaching materials. A teaching material could be any tool used to deliver or convey information and test student's understanding of a subject. Teaching materials includes videos, audio cassette, worksheets, websites and simulators. Designing and selecting teaching materials takes into account the educational goals of the students (Allwright 1981) and how the teacher want the students to absorb, process and retain information during learning (learning theories).
With experience of designing and selecting learning materials (e.g. simulators, websites, presentation slides, websites, hardware and software) for students undertaking courses in academic and professional environment, many factors including those in the literature(Commonwealth of Learning 2005) have influence my design and selection of different teaching materials (Cisco packet tracer, MS PowerPoint and Word) among which includes;
The objective: the design and selection of learning resources start by identifying what I want the students to know at the end of each lesson, this is known as the cognitive objective (Krathwohl 2002). For example, during the design and selection of learning resources (e.g. Cisco packet tracer, words documents and www.pritmas.com) for Cisco network first year students, the introductory materials are always in form of hand-out and references to useful internet websites. These materials set their expectations from day one and give students an overview the course. Additionally, the design and selection of learning resources also take into account what I want students to be able to do at the end of each lesson, also known as behavioural objectives (Kizlik 2002). Resources vary with learning objectives. For example, computer science students undertaking networking modules have different learning objectives from Cisco students undertaking Cisco Certification courses. However, achieving the objectives of the lesson is deeply incorporated into the design and selection of learning materials. By using tailored learning resources, my students have constantly show high level of interest in the subject.
Audience analysis: who are the learners, this comes into play when designing and selecting learning resources. Their race and ages are some key attributes that has to be taken into consideration. This attributes enable tailored delivery of learning objectives. In a multicultural or single culture classroom where students may or may not have different experiences, considering their background knowledge before making references to objects or places they are more familiar with can increase students understanding of a lessons. For instance, HND students undertaking computer hardware module in Cameroon and have never been to the UK have a quite a different type of environment compare to students in the UK taking the same module. With this disparity, the design and selection of materials for the two audiences is different. With experience of delivering the same module in both countries, examples or references used to relate learning objective is different.
Different students have different learning style and will learn more effectively when their learning style is used to convey information. As shown in (Vita 2001) foreign students turn to prefer visual learning while home students prefer auditory learning style, having an inventory of what learning style students prefer is important in learning material (e.g. head on projectors and audio clips) design and selection. In a multicultural classroom, it could be daunting to design or select learning materials that will appeal to all the students. To overcome this, I have constantly deployed audio and visual learning materials interchangeably during lectures and practical lessons to ensure no particular group is at the disadvantage.
Designing and selecting materials is one thing, how they will be delivered to students is something different. Methods of delivering learning resources include image projection using LCD projector, hand-out copies, website based delivering methods. My methods of contents delivering are largely influenced by students learning style which could be a function of culture as mentioned above.
Instructional technology has been at the forefront of my learning material design and selection, technology ease the process of creating and dissemination learning resources to students. However, technology could hinder students who are not familiar with the technology being used in learning (Lea et al. 2001). As an IT teacher, technology has enhanced my ability to engage students and enact different learning theories. For example, I have used personal website(Pritmas.com 2013) to distribute learning resources and support students queries.
Advances in instructional technologies inherently have a great impact on how lesson resources are design, selected and distributed. For effective design and selection of these resources, key factors such as learning objective, knowing who the students are, learning style, how these materials will be delivered and seeking to integrate technologies into the design and delivering of learning resources is important. However, technologies might be a disadvantaged for students who are not familiar with the technology in used. So teachers should work to overcome this hindrance by selecting appropriate learning theories i.e. how they want students to absorb, process and retain information during learning.
Response to reviewer's and feedbacks
In what ways did the review help? What new ideas do you plan to investigate? Part 3, is your opportunity to respond to the reviewer's feedback.
In the light of the feedback and discussion with your reviewer, which of your session intended learning outcomes listed in part 1 of the form do you feel were achieved by your learners? How do you know this? Were any met less well and why do you feel this was the case?
The following LOs were achieved:
Understand DNS concept
Explain the composition of an IP address and Domain name
Install configure a DNS server and client
Through quick assessment (in class question and answer, and the ability for students to implement the lab scenarios) and feedbacks from students, they now feel comfortable to implement and explain theories behind DNS and can now define an IP address and its function in communication
On reflection, based on the comments and feedback, explain how you plan to adopt or follow up on new ideas. In your second and third reviews please identify any commonalities between the feedbacks from the different observers. Which aspects will you investigate or find out more about? What will you do and why?
This process has been learning exercise, on reflection; I intend to adopt and use the objectives and LOs to structure my teaching, starting from session planning to delivering and assessment.
By using SMART objectives and identifying learner's needs, it is important to follow a pedagogic structure to ensure LOs are met. I now look forward to work on some of the issues raised during the teaching session. For example, my body language, encouraging students to take down notes and making sure students are actively participating in class or lab sessions.
Feedback on the review process
How useful has it been? Could the process be improved?
It has been an eye opener to get someone to review my teaching, and being able to review someone else's teaching.
I will suggest, more time be allocated to the exercise, two or more reviewers per session for cross referencing.
Reflections on the PREP Process
To be completed by the reviewer and sent to the their PGCAP600 tutor - this completes this part of the process.
Part 4, is the reviewers opportunity to reflect on the process of reviewing somebody else's teaching. What did you learn from conducting a teaching review? Did the process cause you to think about your own teaching differently? Have you developed any new ideas that you plan to investigate?
Has the process of review helped you understand your own teaching strengths and preferences? Has it caused you to think differently about your own methods, design, values etc? Has this helped to confirm or challenge any assumptions about what constitutes effective teaching? Did you gain a different perspective on teaching from a student perspective?
Yes, I found it really interesting to observe someone from another discipline teaching, for sure, the review process has reshaped my understanding of teaching and the structural approach that need to be followed to meet the learning outcomes. The process has also renewed my confident in teaching and my ability to impact other people's future.
Taking up the challenge to review a colleague from another discipline was nerve racking in the first place. Lorna's engagement with students, her ability to easily connect with them and deal with a difficult situation (fire alarm) just added to some of the things that I have learned from the process.
Have you generated any ideas about how you might like to develop your teaching?
Yes, as mentioned above, being able to watch someone deliver practical lessons and give feedbacks on how well she has done has been very helpful. I come out of this process with the following new ideas, which I think will enhance my teaching:
Seek to understand individual student's background
Be more open and accommodative
Being more knowledgeable in my subject area.
Making sure a lesson plans is in place in all Lessons.
Build a feedbacks process to improve and to know if learning is taking place
Application of different learning theories (per needs)
Feedback on the review process
How useful has it been? Could the process be improved?
I think it is definitely useful to observe others teaching, however my role as a lecturer and demonstrator allows me to design, select and deliver learning materials while also observing other academic members of staff teaching on a regular basis, the PREP exercise was not different. However, observing someone from another discipline demonstrate was unique and reminded me that teaching is about following pedagogic processes and I really value the opportunity to discuss the experience afterwards (i.e. as a reviewer and reviewee).
I will suggest, more time be allocated to this exercise (PREP), two or more reviewers per session for cross referencing
Teaching is a process of inducing learning to other people, how this process is accomplished and how it impacts both learner and the teaching defines effective teaching. By setting appropriate learning outcomes, defining the best methods to deliver and designing and selecting materials to achieve this outcomes can lead to effective teaching in higher education.
University of Plymouth
Basic LAN network design using Cisco Packet Tracer
The objective of today's lab is to design and describe a functional network using Cisco packet tracer simulator.
You are a network engineer. You were given a job by a company who is one of your most valued customers. You have to design a functional LAN for them that contains 2 groups of 5 pc's each connecting to 2 separate switches. Then the switches are connected to a router (R1) and R1 is connected to the ISP router (R2). So basically you have 2 rooms with 5 pc each and both of these rooms have a switch and they are connected to R1. There is a third room and in this one there is a web server running Server 2008 OS. Connect that one with a separate switch and then to the R1.
Using Cisco Packet Tracer (open cisco packet tracer by clicking start ïƒ All programsïƒ packet tracer on your PC). Design a functional network you will use to accomplish the customer's business needs. Save it (to save: on packet tracer, use file ïƒ save as ïƒ <give file name>.pktïƒ location) we will need this later. An example with pc and servers can be found in the diagram below.
Figure : Sample Network Design
Report: Individually write a report of NOT less than 400 words to explain your network diagram using the following guide.
Write a list of the devices and cabling you have used in the design.
Write a step by step report on what cables you have usd to connect all your devices and the reason(s) behind the selection.
Explain the reason (s) behind the devices you have chosen in your design.
What ports (interfaces) are you using to connect the devices in your network?
Please save your report for a brief discussion on it next week.
It is important you all attend next week lab, which will be on IPv4 subnetting.