Critique of Scenario B

 
 
Sally Markwell
Scenario B reflection
by Sally Markwell - Sunday, 26 April 2015, 8:29 AM
 

In this scenario, initially there were some very clear instructions were provided by the tutor, however, the choice to then opt out of the developing discussions, may well have had an impact upon the motivation of the participants. Although there was some demonstrable enthusiasm to ‘get going’, students waned in their contributions after a couple of postings and there was a considerable gap in participation between the Monday and the following Friday. The lack of tutor engagement during this time could well have contributed to what has been described as ‘anomie’, “alienation or purposelessness experienced by a person or a class as a result of a lack of standards, values or ideals”.  There were a number of opportunities that could have benefited from Anderson et al’s (2001) indicators on facilitating discourse and potentially encouraged more consistent participation. For example, in seeking to reach consensus/understanding, encouraging, acknowledging, or reinforcing student contributions, prompting discussion and assessing the efficacy of the process.

Sally

Abi Ball
Re: Scenario B reflection
by Abi Ball - Wednesday, 29 April 2015, 2:35 PM
 

Sally

It is interesting that you focus on the motivation of the participants and the relationship between how well the activity is taken up by the students and their unwillingness to engage in formative assessment, rather than on the disengagement of the tutor.  Clearly these students do not understand how this activity could have a positive impact on their summative assessment.  Perhaps if the tutor had been more involved he could have helped them to make this link but perhaps not.

Have you any personal experiences of facilitating group work (either online or face to face) that you could draw on to think of some solutions to these problems?

Abi

Sally Markwell
Re: Scenario B reflection
by Sally Markwell - Wednesday, 29 April 2015, 5:19 PM
 

Hi Abi

I'm a bit confused by your response.  I thought I had focused almost entirely on the disengagement of the tutor by highlighting how this had impacted upon the students!! For example,

"The lack of tutor engagement during this time could well have contributed to what has been described as ‘anomie’, “alienation or purposelessness experienced by a person or a class as a result of a lack of standards, values or ideals”. The students becoming so due to lack of 'teacher presence'... There were a number of opportunities that could have benefited from Anderson et al’s (2001) indicators on facilitating discourse and potentially encouraged more consistent participation. For example, in seeking to reach consensus/understanding, encouraging, acknowledging, or reinforcing student contributions, prompting discussion and assessing the efficacy of the process."  This was described as a role for the teacher.

Expectations are key if we're discussing group work - and I use group learning sessions every week in my face to face teaching. However it is clear that there has to be good communication, instructions, aims and objectives, ground rules and a n understanding of role and contribution on behalf of the students. I don't think these issues had been addressed well in the scenario in empowering the students to undertake an effective group task.

S

 

Abi Ball
Re: Scenario B reflection
by Abi Ball - Thursday, 30 April 2015, 9:09 AM
 

Sally

It is funny how we interpret things differently; I had focussed on your first sentence where you switch from the disengagement of the tutor to the motivation of the students.  Yes I appreciate that the root cause of the problem is the tutor but you also raise some interesting points about initial enthusiasm for the task by the students and their waning contributions, so I didn’t interpret this as focussing on the lack of tutor engagement. 

Your other comment about reaching consensus/understanding, encouraging, acknowledging, or reinforcing student contributions, prompting discussion and assessing the efficacy of the process being a tutor role is absolutely correct but there are large elements of this that also fall to the students particularly if we consider them in the light of peer support or peer review (I probably had my week 5 hat on at this point!)

Abi