DIAL Project Outputs: Online Reflective Practice group


The aim of the Online Reflective Practice group was to focus on increasing capacity for learning openly and in collaboration with others. Specific objectives identified were the development of:

  1. familiarity with tools that enable online reflection and the documentation of process
  2. an appreciation of the benefits and challenges of open (online) reflection
  3. experience in online collaborative reflection
  4. skills and knowledge for the building of personal reflective learning networks

Achievements to date:

  • Around 70 PG Cert participants – primarily UAL staff, plus others from RCA and other institutions have engaged in compulsory online reflective tasks to a satisfactory extent from October 2011 to April 2012, certainly achieving outcomes 1-3 and with some beginning to work towards outcome 4.
  • A small but significant proportion of those who have completed both units are continuing to use their blogs.
  • A modest number of participants incorporated online reflective practice into the curricula of the courses they teach during this academic year.
  • A significant number of participants have expressed an intention to introduce online reflective practice into their courses into the future.
  • The monthly activities for the two core units, with examples of participants’ posts, have been published under a CC 3.0 license (links below):

Learning & Teaching for Art & Design in HE unit: Monthly activities & examples
Teaching Development Project unit: Monthly activities & examples

And as PDF here: TDPResearchJournalActivities

Data on participation and participant experience were gathered through self and peer assessment, a number of feedback surveys (anonymous and open), a face-to-face workshop and a short focus group that was audio recorded.

Future actions:

  • Capitalise on the driving force of summative assessment and use this to ensure the regularity of reflective activities is maintained throughout the two core units
  • Use good examples of collaborative reflective practice in the induction stage
  • Experiment with introducing an e-portfolio tool rather than a blog tool for early activities, as a stepping-stone to completely open practice

Resources & Support Networks:

The intention behind focusing on the Postgraduate Certificate is that it offers an intensive and immersive experience for a significant number of staff who are actively developing their teaching practice. The current cohort therefore naturally forms the hub of the ‘support network’ around this group, with participants’ colleagues and students also forming connections to a variable degree (dependent on the extent to which the group’s activities directly impact on an individual’s teaching practice). Despite this expanding nature of the network and the openness of the group’s reflective outputs, there is still more that can be done to make the collective learning of the Online Reflective Practice group more accessible to a wider pool of staff and students; for example, the production of multimedia resources presenting the benefits of and strategies for ORP as a learner, and as a teacher. These could include text, video, audio and images, and could be hosted on Process Arts and publicised for use in a range of contexts; in particular the new common Year 1 unit Introduction to Study in Higher Education unit, and more widely across the Academic Practice Provision. This could link up with previous work on the creation of multimedia resources for Personal and Professional Development (http://www.arts.ac.uk/ppd/) , which includes several resources to support reflective practice.

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2 Responses to DIAL Project Outputs: Online Reflective Practice group

  1. Thank you Lindsay this is really helpful ! I’m still intrigued by the ‘compulsory online’ approach, have you any online posts where you talk more about it? By compulsory online i guess the academics a put into the shoes of the student as in my experience many ‘educational’ online activities are either tied up in compulsory course requirement or aligned with assessment or reward of some sort (but aren’t we all especially financial reward) . Do you think motivation for open practice can exist without these motivating factors ? I think your SEDA workshop showed the hidden benefits open practice can have in terms of developing personal and proffessional profiles etc as a just reward for doing open practice. 

    Would there be an opportunity do you think to follow up on some of you Alumni who took part in this project in the new term and next year to find out how and if any carried forward the open agenda or even if they want to but need support through DIAL for example ? 

    Many thanks.

  2. Hi Chris – yes, the compulsory issue is a really interesting question, and it’s one I’ve been grappling with for a few years now. Mandating the use of Web 2.0 and open practice (and the impact of this on teacher attitudes to tech & sharing) is the topic of my Masters dissertation, which I’m currently about 3-4000 words into and on warp drive to complete by the end of August, so watch this space. Having started out with a fluffier, more naive perspective of the wonders of voluntary participation, in my dissertation I argue FOR mandating these kinds of practices in credit-bearing programmes as I honestly believe that the pain both participants and teachers go through is worth it five times over. Dave Cormier appears to agree with me. Jenny Mackness appears not to. The expert jury is out…

    Regarding alumni, I’m always being asked to demonstrate lasting impact of this kind of stuff for our annual reports etc., so I keep abreast of what various people are doing, and I regularly get e-mails from alumni to ask for pointers and advice. I have a couple of mini case-studies (150 words each) from two of this year’s participants who have already made great progress in using online reflective practice with their own students. I’ll post them up right now. Please feel free to tag the post accordingly so that it’s categorised alongside this one…!

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