12 April 2016

PGCertHE postponed

It's good to sometimes be a student; that reminds you of how human it is to do things like not read all instructions, or relying on hearsay rather than official information. And I am a student; in order to do my PGCertHE I had to register as one. And as I have to do assignments and upload them I end up with the same sort of questions as my students do. What should I write? What is the word limit? When is the deadline? And sometimes that goes wrong.

I sometimes find the course manual rather vague. We have to, for instance, write both a "Reflective Learning Statement" and a "Reflective and Evaluative Account of Teaching". These are two entirely different things, and that has nothing to do with the difference between teaching and learning. You really need to spell out the course manual to get an idea of what is meant, and that idea is still not robust enough to my taste.

We also have to comment on to what extent we have addressed, in our portfolios, the various aspects of teaching, such as module design, lecturing, giving feedback, being inclusive, etcetera. But one of the aspects we have to address is "acknowledging the wider context in which higher education operates and recognise the implications for professional practice". Is that entirely unambiguous? No, I didn't think so either. I didn't ask about this, though; the question is so inherently vague I will just address it in a way I see fit. 

File:Nice waffle.jpg

This sort of confusion makes me do two things: first; revisit my own instructions and check whether I am really as straightforward as I think I am, as the people who wrote the above probably also thought they were being entirely clear; and second, I ask. It always bothers me if students clearly don't know what is asked of them, but then don't ask me. So I asked one of the coordinators about the difference between a Reflective Learning Statement and a Reflective and Evaluative Account of Teaching. That helped!

And the hearsay? The aforementioned coordinator had told me the deadline for submisison was April 21st. It isn't; it's the 11th. When did I check? The 8th. So that was too late. I was still in the middle of reflecting and evaluating! So that has reminded me of the need to check official information. And it means I will have to submit in autumn. Which in a way is OK; these weeks I have plenty to do. I have two more normal lectures, a very special lecture coming up, several meetings, some marking of student posters and presentations, and a dentist appointment in addition to my day job. I won't have to be bored!

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