On Wednesday 12th March, I attended the ASPIRE Student Ambassador Conference which was held at King’s College London. It was great to hear of the outreach projects in secondary schoolsÂ that 4 of the Universities are doing across South East London with over 400 Student Ambassadors. But what was most interesting and relevant to us here at CILASS, was the evaluative process that the Student Ambassadors went through on the day. It was an opportunity to share good practive and reflect on the activities that they had done and the skills that they had gained as a result. I went to an ‘Employability’ workshop which focussed this even further. It gave solutions as to how to really sell your ambassador experience on your CV and your applications for future employment. There were some interesting workshop exercises, such as the 30 second CV, which I think could be really fruitful activities to use within the SAN here at Sheffield. This event really helped to shape my thinking and planning for the IBL cafe that is coming up on April 15th on ‘Employability’ and for the Staff Student Symposium that focusses on the impact of IBL and Ambassador activity on lifelong learning and future employment. Look forward to seeing you at these events!
The student side of Inquiry-based Learning
On Monday, from 10 to 12 am, Sarah Gold (SA for Architecture) and myself attended the 1st Journalism session on Problem-Based Learning. It was designed for 1st years Journalism students.
It took place in the CILASS collaboratory 7, and was run by Alastair Allan, in collaboration with one of his collegue, and the head of the Journalism department. He had asked for student ambassadors to attend his session to observe how students reacted, how they proceeded, possibly help them if they needed, and provide some feedback on areas for improvement and also on what went well.
First of all, he told them to form groups of 4 people, and reshuffled some of them. Then he gave them the briefing sheet, which explained what they had to do: each group were a Newspaper, they had to choose an editor, a foreign correspondent, etc. They then had to decide which of the 3 articles they were presented would be the main feature article, the leader article, and what sort of illustration they would put. (they had current issues to deal with, like rising gas prices, the US primaries, …)
At the beginning they were quite lost because NOBODY told them how to do their work, and there was usually 1 leader per group who organized it and assigned tasks. They got caught up in it, and tried their best to find information from official websites, and pictures from online libraries.
After half an hour, Alastair gave them the 1st tool, which was how to “advance search” on Google. They then tried it out, for more detailed information. After an hour he gave them a few websites to get information from. Overall, they had a good share of the work, planned and listed their action on the space which was created in their Journalism MOLE. They knew what they were doing, and even decided which political orientation their newspaper would adopt. Then each group was asked on their sources, and their Newspaper structure.
Sarah and I created a feedback sheet, which contains comments and suggestions. It is interesting to see that it is actually very useful for students not to be given all the tools at the beginning because they come up with a wide range of possibilities. I think that giving them the “answers” straightaway would limit them, and restrict them to a certain procedure that they would reproduce everytime they need to.
This Problem-Based learning exercise can be apparented to the Inquiry-Based learning concept that CILASS often refers to. The students have to look for information themselves and think within a group of people, and justify their development. Groups have been beneficial to each other, because they came up with different websites and strategies.
I think this is an idea that should be extended to other department, and I am looking forward to the next session!