I have been challenged this week to look back on personal experiences with open course spaces. I thought back to my initial experience with forum posting in my first masters class. All students were asked the same questions and required to answer and respond to 3 of our peers. Amy discusses a similar experience. There was very little “room” for original thoughts and thought provoking discussion. Having had nothing to compare this to at the time I thought it was alright but time consuming. Often the responses were all very similar with virtually no “unstructured” critical reflection. I would respond because I had to for marks according to the rubric but not because I was actually interested in what my peers were saying.
After taking ECI 833 I came to understand that open spaces were so much more than what I had been exposed to in the past. I was introduced to online blogging/twittering and loved that through posts I could take theory and concepts introduced in the face to face portion of the course and discuss/utilize and explore them in my own way. This was the first class that I felt I could directly relate my learning to nursing education and try tools that I would actually use in my own classes.
We are given blog “prompts” but I feel we are able to choose how we interpret them and have freedom to post with relation to what we are interested in. I have always been a bit torn about whether I should have taken a Master’s in Nursing as opposed to Adult Education. However, I am starting to feel differently as I am learning so much from my peers through open space learning. Through their posts and tweets I am able to generate ideas for my own students and also for my own elementary aged children. I have introduced my son to Bill Nye thanks to ECI 834 discussions. https://youtu.be/UtVJdPfm0F8
As the Open Education Consortium says: “sharing is probably the most basic characteristic of education: education is sharing knowledge, insights and information with others, upon which new knowledge, skills, ideas and understanding can be built.”
I have started to think much differently about student centered learning and the importance of peer sharing especially in adult education . Prior to this class I would have students write reflective journals based on their clinical experiences and then be the only person who read and gave feedback. I have come to realize that this is pretty much a make work project for students and myself and does not engage them very well. I still have students write reflections but we take time to read them out load and talk about them as a group. This stimulates great discussions and students have a more vested interest in their writing and research because they know they need to be able to answer questions from their peers and facilitate discussions. I feel the students reflection and self-awareness has considerably increased with the sharing space.
I have even thought for next year of developing a google document that students can post and respond to. I suppose this will be like a forum but with more of an “authentic” purpose. Students will be able to post based on experiences and will not just be answering questions.
I would love to see all of the students in the obstetrics course be a part of this. I believe it is important that students have some freedom to discuss what they find interesting. I am not sure if I am ready to have students openly blog in a public domain because I would be worried about hipa and breaches in confidentiality. Even without the use of names people may recognize certain situations. Given the nature of nursing we need to be so careful about what we post in online spaces. I would be concerned that students would not feel comfortable sharing negative experiences and perhaps even upset others reading their blog posts. I think in this field of post secondary education it may be difficult.
What are your thoughts on blogging for nursing students? Do you think it is an appropriate tool to use in an open space given hipa? I would love your insight!