Reflections from CANLearn

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It has been almost 4 months since I started my blog with every good intention to regularly post and share my personal reflections from my work and my learning.

Well as you can see, I haven’t managed to achieve my goal! What I have achieved however, has been the completion on Module ICL01 and the near submission of my e-portfolio for ICL02. Both form part of the Jisc SEDA accredited Institutional Change Leader award run by the Jisc Change Agents’ Network.

ICL01 is delivered through a series of well designed learning activities in Moodle. The module provides a sound overview of student engagement and students working as agents of change in their institution. The module also covers the essential skills for managing a change project – discussing approaches to change, project management techniques as well as the importance of engaging key stakeholders. It was a valuable refresher on all the key issues we have been facing in the actual running and management of the Change Agents’ Network.

What I have valued is experiencing learning in Moodle seeing how technology can be seamlessly integrated into the design of effectively learning activities.

For IL02 I was required to compile a portfolio of evidence in Mahara on how I managed and implemented the Change Agents’ Network. This was a valuable process in reflecting on the achievements of the network and also what skills and experience I had developed as a consequence of my involvement.

It was the first time I had created an e-portfolio and I really enjoyed the way I could gather and link to supporting evidence of video, audio and web links.

Being a student again whilst working and having 3 young sons has been a challenge – it has often meant working in the evening and setting myself targets of answering a question a night! It reminded me of just how hard it is to fit learning into life and the challenges many face in doing this.

Developing successful student-staff partnerships:

From reflecting on my experiences as project manager for CAN, I have personally benefited from my experiences on this project through:

  • Working with students – being able to speak to students who have been involved in change agency and have been working as change leaders and in partnership with staff. Hearing their articulation first hand of the benefits they have realised through these roles has demonstrated to me the impact of this work on the student experience.
  • Engaging with inspirational staff and leaders – where we have seen evidence of best practice in partnership working, there is a clear institutional vision and commitment to student partnerships. This is embedded in all areas of the university or college. The support from senior leaders is evident and this is echoed by staff and students working on these projects. More work is needed to share these leaders’ vision with other senior staff across HE and FE so that they too can realise the benefits on the student experience. We have been fortunate to gather examples of such practice here.
  • Student staff partnerships are a driver for institutional change particularly in the area of technology enhanced learning. An unanticipated outcome from these projects has been around the co-development of staff and students’ digital literacies. This has had a positive impact on the student experience. Jisc’s Developing successful student-staff partnerships has valuable advice and guidance for institutions.

Future developments:

A further area for exploration and my own personal development is to gain a greater Sknight.pngunderstanding of the potential of partnerships between staff, students and employers and also to foster successful student partnerships within curriculum design. Both of these areas are key in the current educational climate where the implications of the Green paper and the Teaching Excellence Framework, could be a driver for institutions to use this areas to demonstrate enhanced student engagement.

Having experienced the CANLearn course first hand, I have gained a far greater understanding of developing successful student staff partnerships and change agency. I look forward to continuing conversations around this transformative initiative.



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