This is a quick post to get your brain working and help me out. I have been given a task, and in true IBL style I am inquiring, to get some answers. We want to come up with a slogan for CILASS, something catchy that we can use to tell people what we are about. The point being that we can show how practical IBL is to students and can explain what CILASS is all about effectively.
I am not asking you to do all the work, just give me a bit of help. Just try and think of a few key words or phrases you think are essential to explaining what CILASS or IBL is about.
(I appreciate that not many comments have been given on this blog, even though I know you read it, but on this it would be really useful in getting the IBL message out there.)
In my department (Biblical Studies) there used to be something called â€˜cascade learningâ€™, whereby students would teach students in the year below skills that they would need for that year. It ended because it was not maintained properly and the skills they were teaching (e.g. computer skills) were so commonly known to students already it was not worth it.
I have had a few conversations with staff members about getting this going again. The question is whether the benefit is worth the effort. There would be skills gained from both the â€˜teachersâ€™ and the students*, but would it just be too much work. To get really good results, involving a lot of IBL, it is going to be a lot of effort from everyone involved.
This post was originally going to be called, â€œCascade Learning, IBL for allâ€¦?â€ with the question of who this task is actually going to benefit in an IBL sense. I suspect that the â€˜teachingâ€™ students will use a lot of IBL. While the â€˜learningâ€™ ones will just learn what they are told unless the teachers go the extra step and set inquiring tasks.
The department is really keen for it â€“ as am I, and they have had good results in the past â€“ which is exciting. I just wonder how it is going to progress when it expects so much from students.
This is a search for comments, have you got any to make? Do you have any suggestions of how the concept of students teaching each other skills could be done practically? Whether it is right to credit a degree with this type of thing? How should topics be chosen? And if it is not assessed, is it right to expect so much work from students, especially in their 3rd year?
* The â€˜teachingâ€™ students would learn to work in a group, refine what skills are useful, devise tasks for aid learning, time manage to make it effective and present information clearly. The â€˜learningâ€™ students would have to do tasks set by other students, rather than staff and of cause they would learn what they were being taught.
Yesterday, Natalie, Claire and myself, accompanied by Sabine went forth (at a ridiculously early hour in the morning) to Manchester Metropolitan University. We had been invited by Chris Dawson, a lecturer in the Business School there to come along and take a lecture for two of his second year groups all about the joys and rewards of IBL. We did not know quite what to expect or how receptive students would be, but nevertheless we prepared an exciting one and a half hour workshop for them. After much discussion of how this workshop should be structured, we decided that business students more than anyone may be interested in improving their employability skills and so this is the way we decided to introduce IBL to them – as a way to gain these vital skills. Natalie kicked off proceedings by explaining who we were, what CILASS was, and what exactly IBL was. Claire, as our token business student (!) then gave them a great example of an IBL module she did in the Management school here in which she got the opportunity to design Wayne and Coleen Rooney’s wedding, and take part in simulated projects in order to learn skills in project management. I then spoke to the students about how to recognise the IBL they already do in their everyday university lives, especially when conducting library research. (I also managed to slip the seven pillars of information literacy in there, Pam would be proud). We then launched into the most exciting bit – the workshop itself. We asked the students to mind-map the skills they thought could be gained from IBL. We then presented them with a real-life application form for a graduate management scheme at the Co-op, and asked them to fill it in as best they could using the skills they had mind-mapped, plus specific examples they could think of of how they developed these skills at university. Finally, we hosted a small discussion where students had the oppportunity to suggest ways in which IBL could be implemented in their degrees and ways in which they could take action to improve the learning and teaching in their course.
Overall we had an absolutely brilliant day and we all successfully identified our first teaching ‘buzz’ as Sabine calls it! We had a great response from the students who seemed really motivated and engaged throughout the workshop. I think relating IBL to employability is a way of really bringing it ‘down to earth’ for students as this is something they can all relate to. They found the activity of filling in the application incredibly useful, as it was the first time some of them had even looked at one. We had some great suggestions to pass on to Chris from the students, and some even stayed behind to ask about how they could be more involved. We are now considering conducting this workshop at Sheffield as well, as we feel it was very successful. We may even try to liaise with the Careers Service.
Oh, and we had the most fantastic steak sandwich at lunch!
Â I am currently in the middle of producing an essay on language in organisation where we have to put the theoretical framework into context in the real world. This is something our studies don’t usually let us do so this a module that will really enhance our thinking. The essay will be hard to write though as we have to include our own personal experiences and let’s face it we don’t think about how we speak normally. Anyway i’ll let you know how it goes when i’ve done a bit more of it….