Learning subjectives – things that glisten

How to put pretty stuff in those drops. by Steve took it, on Flickr

I’ve not got a good track record with MOOCs, I sign up for them, start a few, lurk a bit but invariably don’t finish them as I never  seem to have enough time to commit to them.  Last year I managed one post on #rhizo14, the other week I spotted that #rhizo15 was starting up so here goes let’s see if I manage more than one post this time round!
For the first task we’ve been asked to think about building learning subjectives and how we design our own learning when we don’t know where we’re going.  I’m not sure if I have specific learning subjectives for #rhizo15 but the concept of subjectives brought back to mind the final year of my degree.
Thinking back to my undergraduate student days I can’t really remember having learning outcomes, there was a sense that we’d be assessed on what was covered in the lectures, labs and practicals.  I’m sure there will have been course objectives and outcomes but I don’t recall them being explicit or communicated at the start of teaching sessions in the way they are now. Was this a bad thing? After some of my peers complained that they couldn’t hear one of our lecturers he pitched up at his next lecture making it clear that if we wanted to get a decent class of degree then we’d have to do more than regurgitate lectures in our finals.  He went on to say we should be doing 10 hours reading per week per module to supplement the lectures. This struck a chord with me and it’s something I’ve reflected on quite a bit over the past few years as I’ve pondered whether our use of technology in higher education has led to spoon feeding students.  I didn’t do 10 hours reading per module but I remember reading more round topics that particularly interested me.  Certain things spark off a light in your mind, and you pursue your curiosity, or you want to find the information that will help you solve a problem.

In medicine it sometimes seems that students are almost like slaves to learning outcome and objectives, so much of their learning is driven by assessment.  The one opportunity they have to break the tyranny of objectives is when they choose their student selected components, they can propose their own 4 week module and set their own objectives.  It’s a bit like when you’re at primary school and you all get to pick a topic to explore and create your own topic book.  There are things that standout and almost glisten as they grab your attention and stimulate your interest and curiosity.  You get drawn to question and explore as they lead you to discover a whole series of other interesting things and take you down paths you’ve never been down before.

I’m not sure what my learning subjectives are but there are things that I’ve been thinking about the past few months including an exasperation around the concept of minimum standards in VLEs and the fact that so often when it comes to technology in higher education there seems to be tunnel vision and a lack of joined up thinking.  I’m not sure if these directly relate to the whole concept of rhizomatic learning but perhaps #rhizo15 might serve as a catalyst to help me put aside some time to think and explore and unpick the things that are glistening and catching my eye.

Image Credit
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Steve took it 

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