The course I am currently teaching is Careers and Digital Communications 11. It is a blended learning approach with about 70% of my time now spent in face-to-face instruction and the remaining 30% online. However, when teaching online I am always visible on the large screen and there is always a career in the physical classroom with students (although merely there so that students aren’t unattended).
- We took feedback from students last semester and have redesigned the course to suit the growing needs of ‘mentorship’ as a part of the Careers curriculum as well as personalizing the learning and providing more ‘real-life’ experiences. Furthermore, to fully embrace the partnership between Careers and Digital Communication, students are graded for the whole course and not 2 discrete grades as previously. Students (and staff) complained of the sheer amount of assignments that had a numerical grade attached (every lesson) and so this year we have moved to grade-less marking and are focusing on using rubrics to help students self assess as well as teachers giving more personalized and specific feedback. At the end of each unit students will reflect, self assess and attend a conference where a grade will be agreed by student and teacher based on this process. The hope is that students take more ownership for their choices, work ethic and possible career path.
- The increase of face-to-face teaching will be effective as it will allow us to follow Bates advice (Bates, 2005, pg 320) and develop independent learning gradually whilst students are in campus (or in this case- with me in the classroom with them). To that end, the units have been tweaked to allow more face-to-face lessons at the start of the course. As this develops, online lessons will be developed as will the independent Capstone and Career Passport Units. By this time all key skills and new technology will have been introduced and embedded.
- Last semester the course used Moodle and Microsoft Office. This year we are now teaching exclusively with Google Classroom and already we are seeing a noticeable difference in productivity and communication with students. We use lots apps (such as Canva and Piktochart ) to develop different technical skills and the expectation is that students choose technology that supports their learning needs- thus there is more variety in outcomes than last year’s prescribed ‘you will use this app’ approach. We still need to incorporate some ‘real life’ experiences so hope to introduce some Virtual Reality field trips. Using breakout rooms in Blackboard as well as sharing google docs amongst students has helped to promote group work which was a skill massively missing last year.
Overall I am really happy with how the course is developing and as my confidence in using Google Classroom as well as Google Sites (now replacing weebly) develops I hope try and incorporate different tools as well as developing a wider range of ways that mentorship can achieved online.
Bates, A. W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Vancouver, BC: Tony Bates Associates. ISBN-13: 978-0-9952692-1-7