Media Professionals Module

I have just had another interesting meeting about embedding coaching principles directly into the module process. The module Media Professionals’ Workshop (school of cultural studies) explores professional practice and future career paths for students in the second year of their degree. Part of the module is focussed on a live production with a current media professional, forming 40% of their assessment. Part focuses on career planning which builds 60% of the assessment. Coaching is being considered for the second part (career planning) aiming to enable students formulate their goals and solidify a plan of action, what, where and when.

This module currently offers workshops on such as aspects as CV development, supported by the careers advice department. Our discussion today focused on using coaching methods with students on a voluntary basis, possibly as group coaching sessions, similar in format to the ones I have been developing with Tony Renshaw’s insight. Areas such as skill/competency assessment and change management could form the bases of workshops to support goal development and strategy planning. Many of the resources from the PLC module could be used to support this process. There was also some discussed about the possibility of using a reflective approach so as students can build a portfolio of evidence.

Much of this fits in with what Nick Halafihi has being doing and some cross over with Sarah Patrick’s work in health. I enquired into the nature of the course’s PDP structure, as this has been seen as a common link area with coaching, but this is currently more skill development based for this course.

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Tutor experence of student diffculties

I have recently been considering the types of issues and problems students face when coming to university. There is some general talk that at present the school and college system doesn’t successfully prepare all students for the expectations at university level. While many courses design their first year to account for a wide variety of abilities and knowledge, considering many cohorts includes both mature and international students, there are still concerns that this is not as effective as it could or should be.

As someone who’s teaching experience is primarily from the student perspective I have been recently gathering data from a more experienced tutor. A colleague of mine, Tony Renshaw, has been kind enough to spend some time reflecting on his teaching experiences for me. He identified that there is a difference between the nature of the problems students face in their first and subsequent years. In the first year a number of students are experiencing independence for the first time. This means having to deal with many issues outside of University life as well, such as: learning and living space; new friends and old friends; responsibilities; a new job; working with teachers and fellow students. From an academic perspective students often find throughout the term at university it difficult to deal with: feedback; critical thinking; reading and writing; time planning; asking questions; and self-expression, verbal as well as written; and assessment processes and procedures.

In some ways a number of these issues are not much different to those we all experience when entering a new job or integrating with a new environment. I think the students they can become particularly prevalent problems because of little previous experience of coping with this process. There is also the added pressure from personal and family expectations regarding this being the first main step in their career. In asking Tony to reflect on his teaching experience is that I’m looking for some key areas to develop into a series of workshops for students that use coaching principles to enable them to raise their awareness, take ownership and develop confidence.

One area that has been highlighted during my discussions with Tony was that of assessment and how students approach this. I have asked Terry to reflect on this to see if there are any specific aspects I can focus on.

Using a coaching framework with Pupps

On Friday I met with Iwi Ugiagbe-Green who ran the Pupps pilot last year and is a frequent blogger on ALT issues. The conversation was around running the pilot again with coaching support from the PC3 project.

The general idea is to provide a self-coaching form set through PebblePad for students to work through as and when they need the support. Pupps used a self-assessed competency profile last year, as a means of gathering data at the beginning and end of the project. This provides a good start to using the sort of questions you would use with tools such as the wheel of life. Taking a low score and asking: What would a nine look like, what would the outcomes of being able to do X be? This enables them to understand their understanding of what a competency or role entails. The wheel of life process takes you through to actions on making a high score possible. These actions are identified by the student enabling ownership in moving towards their chosen career or life goals.  Well that’s roughly how it works.

Pupps participants are placement students who are required to produce a reflective statement about their activities. This is ideal for working with PebblePad. Iwi has also invited graduate trainees to participate this year which gives a nice link into CPD and work based learning activities. She thinks that the use of a coaching based profile will fit in well with their PDP when they come back to level 3 after placement. There is also the possibility of hooking this into PDP @ level 1 next year which would provide a nice counter to what we are currently doing with Nick’s team. Another thing we considered was getting some form of coaching and reflective process in at the placement decision making stage, which we might be a bit late for this year but could be developed for next year. The final thought, it was a busy conversation, thanks to Iwi, was using coaching to support buddying systems, peer coaching, level 3 informally supporting level 2 etc .

Coaching fitting in with CPD and PDP seams to be a recurrent theme at the moment. The next step is to identify some good coaching questions and create a structure within PebblePad for them. This will also feed into the work we are doing with Nick’s team and can be released as a general resource.

Preview of PebblePad 3

Attended a PebblePad workshop in Preston today at which a demo of PebblePad 3 was given. Didn’t get the opportunity to play with it directly 😦 but some demo accounts may be available shortly so will keep my eyes open. Interface looks light and airy with more opportunities to use it a more like your desktop. Multiple asset types can be opened which is good. Text formatting within asset fields is also great, which will make blogs and webfolios better in appearance.

There is a social element that draws in from popular Social Networking apps, Facebook, Twitter and Blogger, as well as posts out. Institution tab acts like a portal with one stop login to other systems, pulling information in and linking out to more details, all admin customisable. The main difference is being able to completely customise the standard wizards and forms with your own designs. At the moment you can create new forms but not replace the standard set. The other useful feature is being able to replicate assets across multiple PebblePad accounts.

The workshop also went over some of the features in 2.5 and I now understand the potential of forms and gateways much better. One of the issues we have had with PebblePad and the disengaged students is being able to assess what they are having an issue with. If we had used the Gateway instead of a Blog we could have tracked student progress much better. The other thing I realised was how you can create a work booklet for students to complete as they progress through their studies. Again shared and published via a gateway, becomes an effective means of keep track of students you don’t meet face-to-face. Some good lessons learned today, Ill be definitely working on the booklet idea. Possibly as a means of implementing focus questions around the GROW model of coaching, for staff and students.

First Coaching workshop for staff

Today we ran the first in a series of two coaching workshops with university tutors. The aim was to give them enough insight into the coaching process to start to change the type of conversation they have with their students during personal tutorials. Traditionally a tutorial would revolve around the student expressing areas of concern or difficult and the tutor providing them with direction on how to move forward. What we want to encourage is the tutor to find out first what the student is really after, and how they, the student, can draw on their own resources to resolve the issue or problem.

The group of tutors at the workshop are all running course that require the students to make decisions about their learning or career paths. Nick Halafihi and his team are looking to use coaching within their PDP module which builds towards student placement. Student placements are very affective and can give students an edge when it comes to finding employment after university. However they can be equally disastrous if the student discovers they are stuck doing something they don’t enjoy or find uninteresting. By using coaching during the PDP modules students should be able to make this placement choice with much more confidence in both the skills they can employee and their personal interactions.

Sarah Patrick is in the process of redesigning a course within Health that has multiple module options to enable students to create very specific specialisations. Again the choice to the student is critical to their future employability as well as enjoyment with the course on the whole. From personal experiences I have known students to select options because their friends are doing the module or because they perceive it as an easy number of credits. Quite often this is not a solid foundation for developing a career path that is enjoyable or interesting.

Sue Smith and Ian Truelove also attended as they are interested in how coaching can be used to support students and the tutorial process. It was a successful event and everyone seamed to enjoy the activities. Looking forward to the feedback and see if that collates with my thoughts and feelings.

Potential Cohort with Mental Health

Today Janet and I had a productive meeting with Sarah Patrick from the department of Mental Health. We were looking at what aspects of the PLC module and coaching could be used to support a part time degree in this field. One of the problems that senior people in the health sector have is finding time for their own personal development and extending their specialities. Sarah’s team ran a series of modules that covered a range of highly specialised topics. The problem with running these types of modules for people with little time is that recruitment can be very varied, resulting in periods when they are not run at all. These modules are also subject to rigours standards from various accrediting bodies which mean they needs to be some sort of continuation to retain the endorsement.

Sarah is in the process of re-write a couple of the courses and looking at how the process can be improved. At the moment students are required to spend one day a week on campus which for senior practitioner is not always practical. She is looking at providing a more online alternative. The courses are also focused around a portfolio of evidence based on competencies and one has a number of choices the student needs to make regarding the specialist direction.

Our initial ideas is to run the PLC module as a long thin over a year period as a support process for choices, finding evidence and building the portfolio. Coaching linked into the profession development module as both a support mechanism and a peer support mechanism and providing a sense of why the students have chosen what they are doing. Provided the glue for a range of different modules where students are not working within a common cohort.

There is some work to do here, Sarah homes to have a more structured view of what she is a after early next semester. In the mean time we need to consider how coaching and the PLC module can be used to support CPD and PDP. Which fits rather well I think.