Resilience (again) – a critique.

Just sharing this super post by Dr Dave Webster and Dr Nicola Rivers, provoked by a recent learning and teaching event which caused Dave to think about the pervasive nature of the term ‘resilience’ and what it stands for.

Read the blog post here:

A Contrary View: Critiquing Discourses of Resilience in Education

They refer to the term ‘snowflake‘ used to describe students which was new to me, and probably from some crap agency handbook of market segmentation. There needs to be a demographic term for people who sit around degrading other’s in society ‘waste of space’ I’d call them.

Nicola and Dave talked about the associations of the term resilience with weakness and lack of being able.  Here is my summing up of the Twitter and blog responses to a previous post of mine on the subject which got quite a barrage of responses.

Resilience. Do you want to talk about it? Yes they did!

The community need to draw together to reframe this narrative and empower the students in our care, not to label them as failures. My thoughts about the term ‘snowflake’ I cannot possibly publish here.

A wall, a bothy and open.

Just prepping for #OER17 and a wall is an odd image to use to represent open, but this is a special wall.

Side gate “Wayside”, Kearsney Court near Dover. CC BY Viv Rolfe

We were guardians of this wall once. Our house was behind it. It was the Victorian kitchen garden designed by Thomas Mawson at Kearsney Court. This was the side door from the kitchen garden into the main park. We never locked it. And it was wonderful on occasions when inquisitive people from the park would just open it and walk into our garden. Walls can be open too.

“And through Wall’s chink poor souls they are content”
(A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare).

What I like about these memories is that we were guardians of these walls, and the amazing conservatories, terraces, ponds, steps and pathways within it. We never own houses do we – they seem to own us for that short period of time. I feel the same about our education system – those of us that work there are passing through it at this moment in time, and I can’t help but feel we aren’t providing the nurturing and attention it needs.

Kearsney Court

Back gate “Wayside”, Kearsney Court near Dover. CC BY Viv Rolfe

In the 1987 hurricane, when the insurance company came around to inspect the damage to the roads and driveway caused by innumerable trees having been blown down, I remember the man’s face froze in horror when he saw the wall. He said that it would bankrupt the company if it was damaged. It was a miracle that although trees were blown down on all four sides, the walls were untouched.

One memorable Saturday night after I had left home, the family were having a bonfire in the garden which got slightly out of hand. The next thing they knew was a fireman peering over the wall. My mum climbed the wall to explain that everything was under control. He checked that there was nothing more he could do, and Muvva explained – “well you can get your ladders, I’m stuck on this wall”.

Kearsney Court

Peeking In “Wayside”, Kearsney Court near Dover. CC BY Viv Rolfe

There were more types of apple trees, plum trees, pear trees than I could ever name or remember. There were lilacs of every colour. Each main wall had remnants of fruit cages, metal frames and brackets to ensure early and late crops growing on the South-facing and North-facing walls. There was a vinery and melon pit. The ornamental pond was a land mark on German World War II maps to indicate the flying route from Dover up to London. There were acres of daffodils in the spring and a clematis in every corner.

It was a truely shared space. Ducks from the park used to make nests to hatch their ducklings. There were rabbits, foxes and badgers. A green woodpecker spent the best part of a day creating a hole in one of the apple trees. He pecked for hours and hours. Misses Pecker came to inspect the next day, and to no avail. The hole was clearly no good. They never returned. We looked at what he had created and it was the smoothest and most perfect hole in the tree that you could imagine.

It was a wonderful house – well, quite small bungalow really. It originally was the gardener’s ‘bothy’. It looked along the Alkham Valley and you couldn’t see another single roof. How lucky was I spending some of my time there. My parents stretched themselves financially, and the snooty local estate agent frowned when they turned up to view it in a battered old Morris Minor. The intention was that my Nan could live with us – but sadly she never made it. I used to so regret not being able to walk her round the garden to savour the different plants, and being blind, it would have been the most amazing sensory garden for her. She never made it away from the horrors and fumes of the A13 in Essex where she lived for most of her life.

Walls can be wonderful if you can peep over them or walk through them. Humans turn them into barriers. You need the walls to protect and cultivate the things within. Openness in education needs to be nurturing, hopeful and touchable. But ultimately what is the point if people can’t freely come in and you choose not to share beyond the walls?

Open Quotes


 

 

 

 

 

Open Education 1972. CC BY Viv Rolfe

Quotations from:
Resnick LB (1972). Open Education: Some Tasks for Technology.” Educational Technology 12(1), 70-76.
Katz L G (1972). Research on Open Education: Problems and Issues.

Photographs taken in 2015 as part of Muvva’s 80th Birthday ramble.

Open Textbook Mashup

Introduction to Open Textbooks – let’s hear from inspirational teachers, researchers, students, policy makers and advocates in the US and Canada.

I have been following these open textbook initiatives for a number of years now, and the books you see photographed in this video are from BCcampus and OpenStax. Other excellent sources of open textbooks include the Open Textbook Library and for books specifically relating to international relations please visit E-International Relations. Further open content textbooks can be accessed from Wikibooks.

Why this video now?
I am worried about the plight of our students. The National Union of Students have reported on the rising costs of university in terms of tuition fees and living expenses, alongside the escalating costs of essential study items such as books. I wrote previously how my students were spending between £300 and £900 on books, and one of their major concerns was echoed by a UMU student in this film – that often they purchase expensive books that the teacher / professor / faculty member then does not even use.

Last summer I was struck by one student who had secured a dream placement at a local children’s hospital. Students on professional healthcare courses such as these do not have the long vacations in which to earn extra cash. This individual was holding down four part-time jobs to support their studies. I was devastated to hear that they had not passed their modules and the placement opportunity was suspended. I cannot imagine such pressures of having to earn money, study and have my career aspirations in the balance all at the same time. I decided then to start raising awareness about open textbooks and linked in with the National Union of Students (NUS) #cutthecosts campaign. I started up @UK_SWOT to promote ‘Success With Open Textbooks’.

Introducing open textbooks!
I participated in #OpenLearning17 last week and was very much inspired by Steve Greenlaw’s sessions on open educational resources (OER). The live webinars and recordings provided were excellent – some of which you see in my video, although it does not do justice to the depth of discussion and debate from last week. (Thank you Steve!). The video I hope serves as an introduction to open textbooks – what they are, what are the benefits to learners, emerging pedagogies and the results of evaluations.

References and attributions

Student debt data:
Science textbook costs – Viv’s own data Textbooks cost whaaaat?

National Union of Students 2015 – “Debt in the first degree” report available via this blog post: https://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/debt-in-the-first-degree-9k-fee-graduates-dissatisfied-with-degrees/

Star performers:

Dr Kelly Damphousse, University of Oklahoma
Featuring OpenStax.org books, Feb 2nd 2014,

Kelly is editor of the OpenStax “Introduction to Sociology” textbook and in the video talks about his rising concerns about student study costs. The book is a wonderful collaboration by authors and reviewers across a number of institutions. One of the Amazon reviews of this book captures everything:

“I am so thankful that so many professors are switching to OpenStax textbooks. Written, in my opinion, more clearly than some of the textbooks that cost all four limbs, OpenStax has given me access to an affordable education without a sacrifice in quality or understanding”. (16th November 2016)

Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education SPARC
Feb 18th 2012, CC BY

Nicole is a wonderful advocate of open education and leads international debate to put open education in the spotlight. Her blog summarises some of her incredible work influencing US education policy that has been seminal in enabling open textbook adoption in US schools, colleges and universities at such a scale.

Mary Burgess, Executive Director BCcampus
Filmed at 2015 #OpenEd converence, Vancouver
Jan 16th 2015, CC BY

Mary is Executive Director at BCcampus which leads open education initiatives across post-secondary institutions in Canada. The growing collection of Open Textbooks are widely adopted across 32 institutions, and Mary’s work at BCcampus also includes the publication of accessibility toolkits and a range of guidelines for institutions and authors.

John Hilton III, Brigham Young University
Video by Steve Greenlaw for #OpenLearning17
March 21st 2017
(Note – John is live-broadcasting top right – photographs on the slides are of co-authors).

John is a seminal scholar in this field and was awarded the Open Education Consortium’s 2017 “Excellence in Research Award”. He has conducted several evaluations of the impact of open textbooks on student learning and their wider education experiences. As part of the Open Ed Group he has established a useful research framework for academics (COUP) and the group website provides details of on-going and published work.

Kelley Swenson, Molly Miller and Steve Greenlaw (moderator)
University of Mary Washington, 27th May 2016
Series of 6 videos here including no. 3 Student Panel.

Steve is a Professor of Economics at the University of Mary Washington and he shared this student panel video as part of OER Week for the #OpenLearning17 course. He is a critical friend of the open education movement and conducts his own research into the effectiveness of open texts. He has co-authored OpenStax texts on Macroeconomics and Economics and in this video here (Textbook Hero) he describes the authoring and collaborative processes experienced in producing the books. (Note to self – good topic for next open textbook video). I really liked the student contributions to the debate as they echoed some of the thoughts of my own students around the purchase of books that are then not embedded within classes.

Amanda Coolidge, BCcampus
Filmed at 2015 #OpenEd15 converence, Vancouver
January 12th 2016, CC BY

The #OpenEd15 crew in Vancouver filmed a number of videos which are all worth a view. Amanda is a Senior Manager within the BCcampus team and is a real champion of open textbooks. She has co-authored guidelines and other materials for those wishing to author open textbooks – Open Textbook Authoring Guide  and in 2016 she was selected to be an Institute for Open Leadership Fellow to contribute to discussions on policies and practices around openness.

Dr Robin DeRosa, Plymouth State University
Filmed at UMW OER Summit 2016
May 27th 2016
Series of 6 videos here and you may need to select No. 6 featuring Robin.

Robin is a Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State University. She is editor of an open-access journal Hybrid Pedagogy, and combined with her regular blogging in the field of digital and critical pedagogies,  she provides a much respected critical voice which is helping shape the open education movement. In her video which was part of a UMW event in 2016 she describes how the co-authoring of open texts empowered her students, and how the open textbook can be and should be re-imagned beyond being a replacement for a traditional book.

 

Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani, Kwantlen Polytechnic
Filmed at BC Institute of Technology, Feb 26th 2016
CC BY

I do insult to Rajiv here in snipping out just a short statement about the need to raise awareness of open textbooks, from what was a superb hour long presentation on the future of open education hosted by David Porter at the BC Institute of Technology. Rajiv is author of several open textbooks including Research Methods in Psychology (for BCcampus), Principles of Social Psychology (for BCcampus) and has contributed to the psychology-based NOBA Project. Rajiv is a passionate advocate of open, a researcher and recipient of notable awards and fellowships, as outlined on his blog ThatPsychProf.com.

Open educational resource Tweet Chat.

Thursday 8th December 2016 10am UTC (UK time)
Use the hashtag #altc
Look out for the hashtag for the ALT Open Education Special Interest Group #OpenedSig

Why this chat?
This Tweet chat session is part of the ALT Winter Conference and aims to provide an introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER).

Many people don’t know about OER and I think are missing out on the benefits of using, creating and sharing openly licensed materials in their teaching. Creating and sharing OER can provide learners with a wider variety of resources to chose from, and as a teacher I find other people’s materials often an inspiration and a guide for my own practice. Teachers who share resources or co-create them with their students will see their practice and the dynamics in their classrooms change. OER come in all shapes and sizes from individual assets – pictures, text files, video to entire textbooks. Someone might contribute to the open education community through Wikipedia or any of the elements of the Wikimedia Foundation. The use of a Creative Commons open license enables you to share the resource on the web (under the terms that you select).

Visit here for the results of the chat!
I’ll ‘Storify’ the chat and summarise main points. I’ll point you in the direction of web resources to help you get started using OER in your teaching or learning, and particularly focus on getting you thinking about your teaching and assessment practice in the context of being more open.

Storify –> http://vivrolfe.com/blog/open-education-tweet-chat/

Everything is connected game…

Liking this Wikipedia/Wikidata game as introduced by Martin Poulter:

“Here’s a fun activity that creates open educational resources. Thanks to programmer Denny Vrandečić, there is now a tool to create puzzle games based on Wikidata’s 24 million entities and the relationships between them. To create a game, you just need to construct a query string using Q numbers, Wikidata’s language-independent identifiers. They are multilingual games in that you can choose which language the puzzle pieces are labelled with”.

Instructions:
https://tools.wmflabs.org/everythingisconnected/about.html

Examples:
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Wikidata:Everything_is_connected

My attempt:

Click to start my Everything is Connected game….

OK, so there weren’t quite the data connections on Wikidata yet, but this did ultimately seem to combine all my wordily interests in one game. Click here for what I imagined the answer to be!

My answer:

Click to see answer…

 

So Wikipedians – we have work to do!

Innovation – it has to be more than the shuffling of feet.

I’ve had an interesting few days out and about at meetings, the first with our South West healthcare science group, yesterday at the Jisc Student Experience event, and today have had an interesting conversation with a psychology colleague about  innovation.

So I’m thinking innovating in educational practices today, and linking back to my OpenEd15 presentation in Vancouver. (Slides can be found on SlideShare). I reviewed interviews and data from a number of science open educational resource (OER) projects that I lead, and viewed them through the blurry lens of innovation. What were the innovative features of these projects? What structures were in place? What was vulnerable. Here is what I suggested:

  • Innovation in education / digital practice relies on champions / early adopters
  • Impetus from local partnerships can help gain momentum (colleges and hospitals)
  • Global partnerships also drive processes (OER translations)
  • Innovation can create conflicts – the digital tussle – staff wanting to be creative but constrained by institutions and infrastructure
  • Open education innovation relies on the ‘spirit of OER’ and shared ethos. (Not a solid basis you might think, but that must be the one common thread in all of my work going back 10 years or more).

Innovation versus sustainability?

An innovation by definition has to have an inventive step or application. You can’t patent a thing, but you can patent a thing with a function. Innovation in education is a step-wise creative improvement in practice. When more people adopt this, it leads to change. In my research I then went on to think about how things can become sustainable within teams/departments/universities, and also how fragile and vulnerable they are.

OER sustainability

So what about innovation this week?

Here are some further examples and ideas relating to education innovation that have emerged this week.

Enforced innovation and at any cost.

  • Investment. Wholesale organisational innovation and change can be achieved quickly through investment and strong leadership.
  • Innovation can obviously fail without adequate investment, such as the catastrophic ‘modernising scientific careers’ initiative that has left most of our healthcare science professions at high risk. Also due to lack of buy-in verging on actual conflict by key groups.
  • Some people will achieve innovation and change at any cost. One project talked about staff working solidly for months on end, and those not complying were performance managed through appraisal processes.
  • Lots of talk about enforcing innovation and change through monitoring virtual learning environments – monitoring staff compliance with the systems; making processes or life difficult for academic staff to achieve outcomes. Enforced innovation.

How to innovate beyond a mere foot shuffling pace?

  • One of the most common problems raised always is how to bring people with you? How do you get at the ‘tail end’ of colleagues who do not wish to change their practice?
  • How do you reach over stretched people who really do not have the time?
  • The problems with champions is they set a precedent. How do you manage student expectations where they may have a small number of creative and innovative modules, and others that won’t comply?
  • Do you go for horizontal innovation (cohort by cohort embedding of practice) or vertical (innovate through disciplines/subject themes across all years)?

These are just thoughts. Do share yours through comments or via Twitter.

 

 

 

Critical Appraisal for Forensic Science Introduction and Goals

Introduction to critical appraisal!

Welcome to all students studying the MSc in Forensic Analysis. This blog post is part of your Research Methods and Practical Skills module led by Helen Green (USSKM3-30-M). USSKM3 = the module code; 30 = indicates this is a 30 credit module; M = indicates master’s level).

I’m Viv Rolfe and we have a number of 2 hour sessions together as follows:

Week 9 (20 September)
Lecture and discussion –> Notes here lecture-1-19sept2016_online
Task 1 – writing critically

Week 11 (4th October)
Week 15 (Independent learning)
Week 16 (8th November)
Week 17 (15th November)
Week 18 (22nd November)

Learning goals!

My goal for you is of course to pass the January 2017 examination in which you will write a critical appraisal of a forensic science journal article. I also hope we have a constructive and fun time in these sessions and that you will also develop valuable skills in critical thinking and critical writing.

I think we take for granted our ability to read scientific articles, and write about them, but do we ever stop to question whether we are being really effective? How are your critical thinking skills?  Do you sometimes think critically about the scientific world around you, or are you too rushed to stop and do so? Do you consider yourself a fair person, unbiased, in the way you think and communicate your ideas with others?

I hope these sessions help you grow as critical thinkers and writers. You might wish to watch this introductory video to critical thinking, which references the work of Richard Paul who was a leading proponent in this area.

 

How are these sessions structured?

You will need to bring a pen and paper to these sessions, as a big part of them will be you developing your thinking and writing skills. We shall be forming pairs and groups to discuss aspects of forensic science research and court case studies. Each week there will be a ‘task’ or homework which I very much hope you will all take part in; these will include the opportunity for you to complete small writing tasks for me to help you develop your talents!

Some preliminary reading for weeks 9 – 11

READING 1
I am hoping you’ll find these sessions a bit of an ‘eye opener’ and we will be challenging some of the established doctrines that surround our research industry – from experimenting, interpretation, communication and publication. Here is a blog post that I wrote reflecting on the quality of medical research – or often, lack of it.

Research Quality’s Scandals 2014

READING 2
We are going to base some of this module work on the writing of Trish Greenhalgh. She has perfected the art of ‘trashing a paper’, and there are a number of articles that you can refer to, all freely available here. I’d focus on two at the start of this module:

Getting Your Bearings
Assessing the Methodological Quality

We’ll work toward understanding these papers toward the end:

Papers that Report Drugs Trials
Papers that Report Diagnostic Screening

Greenhalgh T (-) How to read a paper. The BMJ. Available: http://www.bmj.com/about-bmj/resources-readers/publications/how-read-paper

The do’s and don’ts of publishing.

American Association of Immunologists (2010). Dos and Don’ts
for Authors and Reviewers. Available: http://vivrolfe.com/research-methods/Assets/Scientific%20Publishing_Dos_Donts.pdf

READING 3
These items may also be helpful:

A blog post on basic journal searching and some openly licensed (again free) learning resources coving all basic skills for students.

Seek and ye shall find.

Roll up. Roll up. Get your free study skills OERs here.

 

Let’s get started!

You have my UWE email address and contact details on the Blackboard Module Page, but you can also contact and chat with me via Twitter – in fact, I would love for you to share any interesting articles or videos relating to our studies.

@vivienrolfe