Stepping Out – Learning New Skills.

imageMy intention this year is to challenge myself with learning and using new technologies.  I have been away from the classroom for many years during which I have taught in workshop settings, one on one office settings and through the creation of some videos with the expertise of students we hired into student work-op positions in the Advising Center.   I am crossing over into uncharted territory for me!  In January, I am going back into the classroom, but have decided to “flip” my class.

My intention to create a “flipped” learning experience has meant that I must become more proficient with our school’s learning management system: D2L.  I am, therefore, playing with D2L and creating course materials that can be accessed by students on-line during their “homework” time.  The flipped classroom moves more passive activities like readings, watching videos and lectures and Power Point lessons into the virtual, on-line learning space which creates more space for active learning within the classroom setting.  It all sounds very fun and I am busy trying to create lesson plans that actively and interactively process the more passive materials found on-line.  As I utilize this new format for setting up a learning environment I hope to be self-reflective and gather information from the students to learn what they like, do not like and have found effective or helpful in their learning process with this “new to me” teaching and learning format.

In preparation for the term, I also attended a Symposium on Scholarly Inquiry Into Teaching And Learning Practice.  It was fun learning from the session presenters, through conversation and discussion with faculty from around the province. The day gave me food for thought and I am now convinced I need to grow my connections with colleagues at my institution who are also interested in scholarly inquiry into teaching and learning practices.  Thankfully, our Director of the Center for Excellence in Learning at VIU also thinks this and has already sent out invitations to meet and grow the networks that already exist here. While at the Symposium, I also learned about this free course which I have subsequently signed up for, which takes place in the new year: Introduction to Learning Technologies.   Both the Symposium and this free on-line course are supported by BC Campus.  I hope to be able to report that the term was wildly successful and that the students and I all absolutely loved the flipped experience!  I am sure there will be bumps in the road, but I hope that the flipped experience, and my attempt to deliver on the creation of an engaging, interactive and fun face-to-face learning experience in the classroom will be a positive experience for all.  If I can also devise a simple and effective way to self-study, I will be absolutely satisfied with my foray back into the classroom this upcoming year!