Reflection on the course with Travel and Tourism students Term 2 09
Well the course has finished, though hopefully there is still a short film to come (and be posted on this site for your viewing pleasure!).
There are a number of things I would do differently next time:
- As this is the second year of study for these students, my ideal would be to integrate the process of this course into a first year paper at a modular level.
- These students seems to lack a strong ability to work as a group. They also lacked enthusiasm and motivation for their studies in general and more ownership of their work with consequences for lack of ownership through assessment and a stronger student directed element to their studies may help this, with a good practical understanding of reflective practice and self/peer feedback.
- Also stronger experiential learning, making things relevant, meaningful and real for these students would set them up for really taking on the 'student driven' process of this course. Having not worked with these students or on this programme before I don't know what educational experience they have received prior to this course. However, what they lacked was evident to me.
- Failing the ability to implement the above suggestion I would spend more time on these basics at the start of the course.
- More time on group work and what is required.
- Writing a 'living' contract (though not calling it that as it was evident that they have negative feelings associated with this concept), that is referred to every day or at least every week and adapted by the students as necessary.
- Smallish group activities that allow for a self and peer feedback following the activity. At least 2 'in person' feedback sessions would have helped clarify what feedback involves, how to give it effectively and how to accept it!
- More 'out of class' social, yet education related sessions - this is difficult to arrange as students have busy schedules - social and part time work, but the one thing we did do - dinner out together got great feedback and helped to bring the class together more. Activities such as viewing a movie together - An Inconvenient Truth or Home would be something I'd do next time.
- I would also develop (and may do so, so keep an eye on the main page!) a list of people and organisation who maybe willing to give lectures and/or assist students with a chosen project.
- If I was to do it again I would not use the wiki as a teaching tool. At least, not until I'd got to know the students better. It seemed that because the wiki was there they didn't have to come to class, yet they still didn't use the wiki to stay up to date with what was going on. Possibly because it's not structured as an online course as such, but also possibly because there is just not enough understanding of the use of a wiki from my (a teachers perspective) and a students perspective. I don't know the answer to this.
- The following is an email conversation with one of the students about the Self and Peer Feedback assessment. My final response to this student is what I would DEFINITELY do next time. I kept putting it off as there was never everyone there and there was always soooo much to do. More contact hours were needed for this particular class and being 15 credits at Level 5 there should have been more. A well facilitated feedback session with prepared feedback from each person for themselves and others would have helped them to understand the idea and realise that we all come from different perspectives so we're never all going to agree with (or even like, in some cases) what we're told. Here is the email conversation:
You have said "Disregard what you don't agree with (after having a good think about it!) and take on the feedback that you know is true, both positive and constructive", and I find one of my feed back with grade 1 and 2 seem to be too far off reality. The fact that the comment part was so poor (the person only said that i made little commitment without any explaination), just proves that the person did not pay any effort to actually make a fair feed back. I don't want to be hating here, but it is just blatantly awkward how one of my feed back can be so different from the rest. You have also said that you have taken off one person's feedback because it was too far off the mark, and even though my final result is a pass, I still think that you should take this part of as well, not because I don't accept low mark, it is just the fact that it was way too negative, compared to my actual effort. Thanks - student.
There will always be feedback that is ‘off the mark’ in this kind of process. I can’t get rid of the ones that I (or you) don’t agree with in every case as that would defeat the purpose. I think what I would do next time is make people sign their name to their feedback so that people can approach them directly with any questions they have about the feedback. The important thing in this case Giang is that you know this feedback is ‘off the mark!’ This is what receiving feedback is all about. The persons feedback I disregarded was sooo off the mark for everyone. That is different. Thought this part of the process would be controversial, I just hope it has been valuable on the whole too. Cheers. Anna
Thanks for making this clear for me, just a suggestion that I thought would be useful for your future courses. If someone was to give peer feedback, keeping his name anonymously would be a better idea, considering our previous class, right after I got my feed back I got some messages from other who strongly disagreed with their feed backs. If the feed back wasn't anonymous, it could be a reason to tear the class apart. Regarding the sustainable perspective, maintaining strong relationship among our society is what we need in order to preserve the Earth, then having the feed back person signing their names would not be a good idea. However, this is not up to me to decide, but after realising the importance of sustainability, I just want to contribute some thoughts toward this course. Regards - student.
I do appreciate this feedback. I think if I had made the time to do what I meant to, which was at least 1 if not 2 face to face feedback sessions in class (hard when there were always people missing from class), then people would have been a bit more comfortable with giving and also receiving feedback. It probably would have given people more perspective too – hearing what others say to each other, e.g. if a couple who know each other quite well gave each other feedback, others listening may get more insight into those people. Face to face feedback would also give opportunity for clarification (not justification!!!) thanks again. I’ll be in touch next week to see where we’re at with the film. Anna