At some point in the (near?) future I'd like to offer a short online workshop called something like "Curriculum Planning for Extreme, Unexpected, and Downright Strange Situations." I'd like to base it on my experience delivering "intro to curriculum development" workshops in a variety of international settings. My proposed audience would be people who do (or hope to) participate as educators in international projects or other intercultural situations.
Proposed first discussion post for participants (after the original 'welcome' sort of posts & assuming participants know how to use a discussion forum):
Here's the situation:
You have been invited to join an international project team from your institution, going to Dodoma, Tanzania in 6 weeks' time. The overall project goal involves improving the quality of instruction at 2 small institutions: a mining technical institute and a teachers' college. Your role: to prepare, deliver, and evaluate a total of 10 hours of instruction related to "modern approaches to assessment of learning."
Yep: seriously, that's all you've been told.
The project leader and one project coordinator will be heading next week to Tanzania for project finalization meetings and they have let you know that they can promise probably no more than 15 minutes to gather information specific to what you may need. Your task: come up with 5 questions that you would really, REALLY like to have answered before you start your workshop planning in earnest.
Post your 5 questions here; then feel free to respond to your colleagues' question choices. At the end of the week, we'll work together to come up with a group 5-question list.
I'm thinking that for this activity to provide the benefits of a true discussion, I'll need to encourage dialogue. To do this, I'm wondering if it might be better to post an easier first step & then pose additional questions in response to how the conversation evolves. So... 2 specific musings:
- Instead of asking for 5 questions right off the bat, should I suggest the first participant should post only ONE question, and each participant add one to the list?
- maybe this would work best using Moodle's Q & A forum, in which a participant must first post their response before they can view other participants' posts?
How about "Up to five" or "One to three questions"?
People often brainstorm several options.
I like the idea of having them post before seeing other responses.
Exactly what I was thinking about Moodle's Q&A forum type. Then you won't get the "but somebody already said what I was going to say and there was nothing left to say" type of response.
P.S. Where do I sign up for this ahhh-maaa-zzzing course?
This is so like you...have you picked your team yet? Where and when do we apply?
This almost sounds like you could start with, "What are five things that could go terribly wrong with this project if we don't have the necessary information? " Then, you could follow this discussion with " What are the five most important factors we need to know to facilitate a successful project."
Out of confusion comes clarity.
I wonder if there is a way to have students 'vote' for their favourite questions? Those can be brought forward to use as the encouragement for more discussion or to dig deeper. I am intrigued by this idea and love how students could add to keep the conversation going!
You might be able to use Moodle Workshop to accomplish peer voting. I haven't used this activity in Moodle myself, but RRU has a 'how to' around using Workshop it if you want to check it out. Of course, if you're not in Moodle there might be something else in your LMS - or a web-based voting tool?
Thanks for the suggestion, Beth. I had a quick look at the Workshop tool & I think it could indeed work. Like a lot of people I get set in my ways, sticking with one or 2 tools that I'm most familiar with, & forget that Moodle has some pretty cool tools that accomplish the learning goal better &/or more easily. Definitely worth exploring further!
oooo Karen, I *like* that idea! Like you say, I think this could be a good way to keep the conversation going.
I like that you chose a topic "modern approaches to assessment of learning" that can be appreciated by anyone who does curriculum development! However, I find it really hard to come up with 5 questions! I wonder if you could use a prompt like a journal paper that the instruction could use as the base, and come up with questions after reading the paper? Just an idea to bridge the gap a bit? And I feel that your course would be a very exciting one!
Junko, after thinking it over a bit more, I think you are right: it is CRAZY hard to come up with 5 questions! I like your suggestion to provide something as more of a base to get them started. It's tricky, because the big thing with this type of work (curriculum development in unusual circumstances) is that you often know very little about the learning audience or the environment in which you will be teaching & I'm not sure a journal article would help (unless maybe related to intercultural communication?). Maybe if I posted an image of the project community? Do you think that might help generate questions?
Gina, an intercultural piece would provide some context about possibly the educational system, communication styles and the learners expectations of teacher/student. I really like the idea of a picture to get a sense of where one is going to be. Good for packing.