Yes, its EBL, not IBL. You say tomato…
On the 25th May, Sabine and I attended an ‘Enquiry based learning worksop’ at the University of Manchester, organised by the History, Classics and Archaeology Subject Centre, and hosted by CEEBL, the Centre for Excellence in Enquiry-Based Learning, the University of Manchester’s equivalent of our own CILASS. The aim of the workshop was to discuss the possible applications of EBL/IBL in history, archaeology and classics courses.
Sabine and I spoke briefly about the possible uses of ICT in IBL courses in archaeology, drawing from examples that currently exist in the archaeology department here at Sheffield. We talked about a module run by Dr. Jane Rempel, in which students used the Collaboratory space in Bartolome house for a brief session entitled ‘Mapping Athenian Democracy’. The students were told that the university was to be restructured in order to form a radical democracy, and that they ahd to create a proposal of how this was to happen. The students were then given an hour to use the Collaboratory’s resources to research and structure their proposal. This was a good example of how small amounts of IBL incorporating ICt could be incorporated into a traditional lecture-based course. We then talked about the second year module ‘Research Skills in Archaeology’, in which ICT palys a large part. WebCT is used to facilitate group work and tutor feedback, as well as to provide tutorials on the key skills of analysis needed. The students also ahve access to web database resources such as Digimap and the database of Sheffield General Cemetery. This was a more radical example of how ICT can be integrated into a coursework based module, in order to provide structure and cohesion.
We also heard contributions from other members of staff from other universities, who detailed examples of the use of IBL in courses they had run. We heard about a course at Manchester where students had to produce their own anthology of Landscape poetry, a course at Durham University where students had to produce a project based on ancient clothing, in which they undertook experimental production of textiles themselves, and a course in museum studies at Reading in which students were encouraged to examine objects in museum collections, and how they were displayed.
Overall, the day was very enjoyable, and it was good to have a nosy around Manchester’s CEEBL facilities, and compare how they did things differently. It was also good to hear the wide range of examples of IBL that people brought with them. A number of people came to the workshop saying they did not know what IBL/EBL was, or had not had much experience of it, but then ended the day by saying “Oh, I realise now that I use it in my teaching all the time”, and I think everyone went away enthusiastic about the potential for IBL in their own courses.
Plus, there was a rather good buffet.