Online learning for psychologist students

I think it would be enriching to include a blended learning in the courses of Health Psychology I run at the Institute of Psychology at Linnaeus University in Växjö. For those of you who are not familiar with what blended learning means, a brief explanation is that you complement traditional face-to-face learning with online learning activities (Vaughan, N., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D., 2013). Today, I am, as a teacher familiar with using Mymoodle, where I interact with the students, put material, films etc. From my experiences from the ONL course, I can see opportunities for further development in this area. One main goal of a blended learning approach is to increase engagement and motivation in students. In a blended approach, verbal communication with the students in class can be added with asynchronous written work of the students, and enhance the learning process. The Community of Inquiry (Col) theoretical framework (ibid) put forward three main elements: social, cognitive and teaching presence in order to incorporate both collaboration and individual work in higher education. Social presence is an environment of trust and open communication where students and teachers can, among other things, share ideas and help each other challenge opinions with a critical view. Cognitive presence, is the individual approach where the learner construct meaning, reflect and integrate knowledge. The teaching presence facilitate, organize and design the learning process. A blended learning approach integrate all three elements, and the role of the teacher and the role of the students are different from traditional ways of teaching in higher education. As the students progress in their abilities they need to take more active responsibility in the learning process. In a collaborative learning environment all participants takes responsibility for contributing to learning in different and innovative ways.

In order to incorporate all these different aspects, mentioned above, in own teaching, could be to let the students create a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). In my own experience, teaching others is a great way to learn things yourself. The students can learn to collaborate by deciding what different parts the online course should include, what would be the take home message for the audience, how do you spread knowledge etc. They could learn how to use different digital tools. The examination goals would be clear at the start of the course for the students, including both individual tasks as well as group based work. I am sure I would learn a lot as a teacher as well.

 

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press. Chapter 1 “Conceptual framework”.

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