P70408 Assignment brief


Reflective account of supporting and engaging online learners.

Task type:

A written reflective essay of 2000 words (not including references and appendices).

Submission requirements:

This assignment must be submitted on or before 23:00 GMT on Wednesday 4th May 2016

You must submit your assignment via the course assignment dropbox (in the P70408 tab).

Formative feedback

You are urged to send an early draft  to the submission box for formative feedback. You may do this anytime up to 21 April. Feedback will not be provided on drafts submitted after that date.


The format for the assignment is a reflective “patchwork text” (Winter, 2003) . This has been described as small variety of sections of learning, which have been shared with a social group, and the final submitted assignment is a reflective commentary based around these short pieces, which you may revise or edit.

How will you use the concept of patchwork text in order to develop your assignment?

During the course you will be participating in learning activities some of which will require you to write a piece of text, collaboratively and individually, and present this to your peers and tutors for feedback on the discussion forums. There are two key learning activities during #TOOC16 which relate specifically to this assignment. These are:

  • Week 3 Collaborative group task (Task 2, week 3)

    • In this task we ask you to reflect on that experience and more broadly the complexities of supporting online groups. What are some of the key ingredients for designing a good online group work activity? What resources need to be in place for online groups to be able to work well? What kinds of support do tutors need to provide? What challenges will online students meet in their group work? How, if at all, are the challenges of group work different online to face-to-face? Please post your reflections on these questions and your experiences of online group work on the discussion forum

  • Week 6 Articulating good practice. (Task 2, week 6)

    • Early in week 6 each person should compile their own brief inventory of good practice in online tutoring, drawing on your own practice, research and experience and the four inventories that have been presented here -- Chickering and Gamson's 7 Principles, Salmon's 5 Stages, Macdonald's 3 e learner capacities, and Palloff and Pratt's 6 excellent online tutor characteristics. Post your own individual inventory to the week 6 forum.

    • In the forum explain your rationale for your inventory. What features of online tutoring  does it emphasise? What features does it play down? How might your inventory be specific to your present professional role? How might it be generalisable across roles and disciplines?

It is anticipated that you will write two specific texts as an outcome of these two learning activities (one for each activity). For the purposes of the assignment  you may wish to revise or edit your texts in light of feedback you receive on these  and your continued learning. You then will be expected to write a running reflective commentary based on the development of these pieces (approximately 2000 words including your selected texts).

 You are expected to apply relevant theory and educational research in your analysis of these learning activities.  You should discuss the implications of your reflections for your future practice, for example in the form of an action plan.

 Structure and format of the assignment:

 You should provide the following in your assignment:

  • A cover page that includes your name, the title of the assignment and the word count (2000 maximum, excluding references and appendices).

  • Reference to the literature

Learning outcomes for the assignment

 It is expected that this assignment will allow you to demonstrate the following learning outcomes:

  • explain the characteristics of online communication and use strategies for communicating effectively in the online environment

  • apply key theoretical concepts to designing online learning environments and supporting online learners

  • design and use a repertoire of appropriate online activities including generating online activities from familiar offline tasks

  • analyse, using a variety of evidence types, online learner support problems and recommend appropriate responses

  • effectively use a variety of digital technologies for learning and teaching, including collaborative writing tools and both synchronous and asynchronous learning environments

  • identify your continuing professional development needs and aspirations within higher education

 Alignment with UK Professional Standards Framework

This assignment partially covers the following aspects of the UK PSF:

A1 - Design and plan learning activities and/or programmes of study

A2 - Teach and/or support learning

A3 - Assess and give feedback to learners

A4 - Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance

K3 - How students learn, both generally and within their subject/ disciplinary area(s)

K4 - The use and value of appropriate learning technologies

K5 - Methods for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching

V1 - Respect individual learners and diverse learning communities

V2 - Promote participation in higher education and equality of opportunity for learners

V3 - Use evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development

V4 - Acknowledge the wider context in which higher education operates recognising the implications for professional practice

Marking Criteria

It is expected that this assignment will cover your teaching and/ or your support for learning (A2).

You will also be expected to demonstrate your engagement with your own professional development (A5)

The assignment will be assessed against the following marking criteria

  • Core Knowledge – you will be expected to demonstrate your knowledge of how students learn in general and in your discipline (K3)

  • Reflection and evaluation - you will be expected to reflect on and evaluate your teaching and/ or support for learning (A2)

  • Professional Values - you will be expected to demonstrate your commitment to the values of individual respect for learners (V1) and equality of opportunity for learners (V2)

  • Critical Analysis & Synthesis and communication – you will be expected to critically analyse the activity from an evidence-informed perspective using research and/ or literature and demonstrate a commitment to using such literature to inform your future practice (V3). You will also need to place your experience in the wider context of higher education and what this means for your practice (V4)

Last modified: Monday, 4 April 2016, 8:44 PM