360 degree views


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Wednesdays are our ‘Digital Thom’ days when our small Health Law and Ethics COP meets to talk, try things out and enjoy good coffee. We used to meet on campus but have recently discovered an off-site café, very close by.

Meeting off site from the university has been a positive shift for us on many fronts. We get a tiny bit of exercise, making the 5 min trek across the road to the Little Wonder café. Meeting on Wednesdays is a great mid-week event often surrounded either side by a myriad of other work related activities and pressures. During that simple act of breaking away the short travel time reminds me that there is a real world out there; a 360 degree world, where the wind blows, it rains, and for a short time the pressures of the office are set aside. The walk over is just enough time to air a thorny issue or a chance to compare slow cookers or discuss the pros and cons of house renovations. The 5 minutes of time seems to distort and seem longer than it really is.

Distorted images were also on the agenda of this week’s COP meet. Thom introduced us to his new LG 360 Cam and we were able to be his guinea pigs as he tested it out. At first he couldn’t get the photos to save on his phone and then our first run testing the video the camera  was squarely focused on the decorative plant on our table, rather than us. I reminded Thom that things not working, of setting up things slightly incorrectly, were very reminiscent of our everyday digital practice. The ‘shame’ of getting things wrong was our frequent default position, but maybe not so frequently his! In that instance though – a 360 turning of the tables.

The 360 Cam technology reminds me of the importance of gathering the full ‘big picture’ view and what different angles bring to discussions and decisions. In our COP we are planning a ‘refresher’ session where in early semester 2 we will invite programme leaders and other interested stakeholders to a workshop where we will remind the programmes we serve of our current content but will also aim to invite them to contribute and help inform new directions for the content and delivery of our papers. Engaging others, seeking their views and valuing their input are all important components of our classroom (real or virtual) ethos but also highly valued considerations in terms of the way we plan and update and move forward with the delivery of our health law and ethics papers. We would be doing our students, their programmes, and ourselves a disservice if we failed to fully consider the 360 degree views of what and how we teach.

It was a lot of fun testing out the LG 360 Cam and as with other tools we could see its potential for engaging further with our students, but this week the main point of reflection for me was the reminder of the big picture, that things look different depending where we’re sitting and the importance of valuing diverse (and distorted views). The 360 degree concept gave me much to think about on the way back to the office –  and beyond.


Moving house? #mosomelt


I’m thinking of moving house. It’s not that I really dislike my current house but I’ve been here a while – and it’s time for fresh walls and a new view.

The move I’m referring to is away from Blackboard, our university provided Learning Management System and into somewhere new.

I teach a wide range of disciplines in an interdisciplinary health care ethics paper. Many students undertake this in their final semester and so for a large proportion of these, their time is swallowed up undertaking onerous clinical placements – with some students away from the university in a full time clinical role for nine weeks of the semester as well as having to juggle reflective assessments and a placement journal before they even get to think about my paper. They are under stress, are time stretched and I am guessing many do not really see the value in studying ethics.

With that back story I too feel under pressure. I want my students to see the relevance of ethics, the value in critical thinking and undertaking robust examination of their own and others’ decision-making processes. I understand they have limited time to give to my paper. They also learn online but this is through necessity rather than choice. Many struggle with time management as well as grappling with the challenging content and required skills to effectively deliberate ethical issues.

I’m under pressure because Blackboard feels like the easy option. I feel strongly that our role as educators is equipping students with some knowledge (but let’s face it, that’s pretty easy to come by these days), but also positive learning experiences that will fuel them with a passion to keep wanting to be curious about the world. A part of this, for me, is equipping them with tools that they can use in their world, post degree. I want them to have access to the work they’ve done and contributed to; to have skills to continue using tools learned while at university and to have the potential to use them in practice or to teach their use to others.

I use Blackboard as a repository for paper content and this is where I post audio and video files I’ve created to aid their learning, power point slides and readings. I also use the Values Exchange, online ethical decision-making framework where most of the actual learning takes place. This tool hosts a number of philosophical thinking tools, created from decades of philosophical application and critique of traditional ethical theory by its creator. Students respond to lecturer and/or student posted case scenarios and use a series of interactive screens to capture their deliberative analysis of the case. I also use tools such as Twitter and Bambuser to disseminate useful information I come across or have created specifically for the students and they are encouraged to use the class in their tweets. Assessments are then a combination of theory application and critique and reflections on the deliberative experience of the Values Exchange process and outcomes -submitted via Word doc through Blackboard.

I’m quite aware that the majority of my students like the familiarity of Blackboard and when under time constraints the idea of navigating yet another piece of technology is indeed a real barrier; many are resistant to change, just as we all are at times. However, to be authentic and true to myself I feel I need to shift to using tools that are sustainable for the student beyond their time with me. I also feel it’s time for me to feel more challenged and to have new learning experiences.

My undergraduate class currently has 240 students – thats a lot of people to stress-out and unsettle so I’ve decided to see if I can first implement changes in a much smaller, semester 2, postgraduate ethics paper. Two tools that spring to mind are ones that I’ve experienced myself, as a learner in the #mosomelt cMOOC experience. These are WordPress and Google+ Community. Having experienced first as a learner enables me to more effectively step into the shoes of my students, to better understand what it means to learn about and use these tools, as well as being able to anticipate the likely issues that will arise for my students using them. I’ll continue to use the Values Exchange as a foundational learning tool, as it offers such discipline specific learning opportunities, and the other Apps such as Twitter and Bambuser but much more of what my students learn and experience will be able to be taken with them for potential ongoing use.

Starting small, with this postgrad group ,will allow me to build confidence and get valuable feedback from the students with the idea to implement a more substantial shift when the undergrad paper is next offered. Looking back to this time last year I wouldn’t have envisaged a shift of this nature, evidence that the #mosomelt cMOOC has/is enabling me to see my teaching differently and along with our little COP, has created in me confidence to start packing my bags for the move.


The return of the digital warriors for 2016 #mosomelt

Our small law and ethics community of practice is back in business for another year of learning; learning about learning, about digital tools but mostly learning about ourselves. Over the summer our School has under gone some restructuring so we now find ourselves as a distinct discipline. I’m looking forward to continuing our relationships with public health but also recognising the opportunities to expand the profile of health law and ethics within our School, faculty and the wider learning community. 

This year I’m hoping to cement the learning stemming from #mosomelt ,last year and with more confidence start implementing more, more often. I particularly enjoyed using Bambuser to live stream announcements and information to my students. The ‘live’ element somehow appeals to me as I feel it most closely replicates the live, one take only nature of face to face teaching. I got pretty good feedback from my students – none accessed these live but did tap into the Bambuser links I gave them. I had used my iMac to make these recordings but now free Bambuser access is just limited to digital devices so I’ve bought a little tripod and will see how I get on broadcasting from my iPhone.

I’d also like to increase my use of Twitter. I read last week about a nursing course where setting up and using a Twitter account was an assessed part of the course – combining teaching ethics with helping students learn how to use digital tools in paratice and as professional development tools is very appealing. One of my students this year came to see me for help and said “oh my goodness, Twitter. Good grief, how am I supposed to do that”. Hopefully I can model some simple ways of using this tool to engage and share ideas and resources and they will feel better by the end of the semester. 

I’d also like to think about a shift away from Blackboard and perhaps consider using WordPress as the main site for content delivery. Again I feel strongly that students need to be able to access their learning experiences beyond their time at university plus learn about tools that they can then implement in their practice and everyday lives. 

Above all though, I’m looking forward to the further development of our community of practice, to have that safe space to learn, to do things wrong and to build confidence. Positive outcomes will inevitably stem from our time together this year.

Digital warriors – Transforming pedagogy one step at a time


A Personal reflection for AKO #NPF14LMD Project


I teach interdisciplinary health care ethics online and in a blended learning environment. For the past ten years I have been using the Values Exchange (Vx), a web-based, networked, ethical decision-making platform, for facilitating online debate on ethical issues in practice. This is a small scale, niche, digital technology, developed by former AUT Professor of Health and Social Ethics, David Seedhouse, and currently used by 16 international higher education institutions, mainly in the delivery of health related degree programmes. My prolonged use of the Vx means that is has become a comfortable online place; a familiar space within which to teach, to network and to learn. As part of the AKO #NPF14LMD project embarking upon the Mosomelt cMOOC at the beginning of 2015 was a side step into the abyss, taking me from a place of certainty into the unknown world of digital mobile learning.

Reflecting on this experience helps me to further consider my students as new learners of technology. I now have first hand experience of being presented with new ways of doing and recognising the potential, but then being faced with a gap in understanding of how things work and how I can actualise that potential. I’m mindful of the range of social and digital media my students use on a daily basis and, like me, they are possibly taken to their own abyss through the introduction to them of the Vx, even more so when its use will form part of how they will be assessed.

Reflecting on the first steps towards pedagogical transformation

When looking back on my cMOOC experiences they can be categorised in two ways; the technologies and my own development. On the surface, the cMOOC introduced me to a broad range of digital technologies which included Vine, Vyclone, Bambuser, audioBoom, Twitter, WordPress, and Google Communities, Docs, Hangouts and Cardboard, with a new digital tool being introduced each week. Some of these I will discuss later, as I see real potential for them enhancing my teaching and my students’ learning experiences, through their implementation.

Perhaps of greater impact though, has been the professional and personal development that has taken place this year. On the one hand these developments could be seen as incidental and an aside to the accumulation of tool-specific knowledge but for me the relational deliverables are central to the ongoing transformational process of being a teacher. In essence, to teach one first has to learn; my cMOOC experiences have equipped me with new understandings not only about what I have learned, but how I learn, and how this is the same and different from others’ learning styles. This has illuminated my recognition of the multiple ways of learning. I’ve become more in touch with the ways I learn best and the barriers to learning, as exemplified in this early blog post:

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Figure 1: Reflecting on barriers to my own learning

Sustained digital learning

Given the often low completion rates for online learning courses, actually completing the cMOOC was, in itself, an accomplishment. Three things made ‘sticking with it’ possible. Firstly, having the support of CfLAT, through the provision of mobile devices to undertake the cMOOC, but also in the support provided by CfLAT’s Thom Cochrane whose approach allowed us to explore, try out and learn for (and about) ourselves, rather than simply being ‘instructed’ on how things worked.

Secondly, having a colleagial ‘buddy’ to maintain the digital connection through the weeks and in between our visits from Thom was central. In my case this was Professor Kate Diesfeld. Kate and I had been colleagues for ten years but the time together exploring digital tools brought a new richness to our relationship. Kate was very new to technology, bringing a positive spin to everything we attempted. Kate coined the term ‘Digital warriors’ to describe our community of practice (COP) and our commitment to try anything and everything – by just taking one step at a time. The significance of small achievements in our own personal learning was always celebrated within the COP, with success seen in terms of learner advancement along their own unique learner continuum. To recognise individual learning is something that I have come to value and will take into my own teaching environment.

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Figure 2: Recognising learner specific achievements

Thirdly, and possibly most important (and more difficult in the absence of the first two points), was a mindset of not being afraid to fail. Kate and I laughed about ‘having no shame’, realising that it is through making mistakes and not getting things quite right, that we were presented with the more powerful and memorable learning experiences, as was the case with some of my early Vyclone attempts.

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Figure 3: Not quite getting Vyclone right

With both Kate and I starting the cMOOC feeling much more comfortable with a well prepared lecture, the notion of creating impromptu videos in AUT’s Akoranga student cafeteria was certainly out of our initial comfort zone. However within weeks we were creating these in our own time, thinking not only of how we could use each learned technology to transform our own teaching and learning practices, but reflecting on the ways in which the creation of the small community of practice had enhanced our interactions with one another and our colleagues, as evident in this slightly better produced Vyclone: http://www.vyclone.com/movie/5580d75952e857f905000030

Implemeted digital tools

From the suite of digital tools we were introduced to during the cMOOC, Twitter and Bambuser are the two that I’ve been able to implement immediately. My own assessment, as well as student feedback, suggests that these digital additions have added value to my students’ learning experiences. Somehow the learning environment needs to safely challenge students to embrace new platforms, new tools, new ways of seeing, if they are to cope with the uncertainty and the ever-changing technological landscape in which they will work and live. However, change is challenging for many. There is often a sense of resistence from students who have their time stretched between papers and work and who feel the introduction of new tools is an imposition, and just too hard, as this undergraduate student comments:

“WE DONT HAVE TIME TO LEARN HOW TO USE A NEW WEBSITE AND GO THROUGH PILES OF JUNK AS WELL AS DO 12 HOUR SHIFTS and study for the clinical teacher and study for the ward AND do the TRANSITION to nursing practice paper. It needs to be simpler. easier for the students.”

While traditional learning management systems provide a consistent framework across papers, their content is not always able to be taken with the student upon completion of their degree and they will certainly not use the same systems in their workplaces. There is therefore an argument to find supportive ways to help equip students for the unknown future, using the sorts of digital tools they will likely have access to themselves in their post-university work and lives .Twitter is one such tool.


While Twitter seems to have reasonable uptake by young people, anecdotal evidence suggests that many people do not readily see its potential as a teaching and learning tool. I see my teaching role as being not only to facilitate lifelong learning and enhancement of a critical lens for ethical issues, but also to help equip students with tools that they might use in practice in their pursuit of these ends and to foster in them a level of self-confidence to embrace new ways of learning.

My decision to use Twitter in my teaching relates to these goals in that Twitter can be used to not only disseminate actual course content (assessment tips) and also course related content (interesting incidental readings). I also use Twitter to share resources media reports on issues I am personally passionate about (education, animal welfare, aviation) as well as sharing posts to my WordPress blog. My aim is to not only share course related learning resources and opportunities, but to model ways in which I have come to value Twitter so that my students may come to new ways of seeing its potential in their own lives. As part of my ethics teaching I highlight the benefits of open, transparent respectful relationships. Sharing my Twitter feed and including a range of professional and personal tweets helps me to feel like an authentic teacher, and I hope, reflects the values I teach.

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Figure 4: Twitter feed showing variety of posts

Each semester this year students were given my Twitter handle and invited to follow me, however only a small number of students took up this opportunity. Therefore, to ensure equity, all tweeted course related material were also shared via other mechanisms, for instance Blackboard. The relatively small number of student followers may be attributed to a number of reasons. Firstly, the earlier extract of student feedback makes it clear that some students have time pressures and the use of additional digital tools is seen as complicated and possibly, unnecessary. Secondly, it is possible that many students don’t use Twitter. Upon checking the profiles of several following students, showed that many were new to Twitter, possibly only creating their profile after my responding to my general invitation.

Challenges for the delivery of online ethics education.

Teaching interdisciplinary ethics in an online environment is challenging as students may not value ethics education, they may be pressured by their own disciplines to prioritise more clinical papers, or they may struggle with the required critical thinking skills and the lack of ‘hard facts’ that they may be more familiar with. Ethics education is, in part, about challenging assumptions and involves a degree on ‘unlearning’. To learn in the presence of these factors means that in an online learning environment, especially, students are more likely to undergo valuable personal learning when they feel the lecturer is open and approachable. A challenge therefore is, in the absence of face to face teaching, to find ways to project myself in ‘real’ ways, rather than purely as a static provider of course content. While tools such as Google Hangouts provide options for real-time online ‘face to face’ discussions, these are time consuming when the online group sizes are limited and the class roll exceeds 100 students. Bambuser suitably fills this gap.


Bambuser provides a live stream with opportunities for synchronous, interactive messaging, as well as creating links for asynchronous access by students. These broadcasts are also linked to my Twitter feed so that all followers (students and others) are automatically notified that live streaming is taking place. I’ve been using Bambuser in a number of ways, including a focus on specific areas of course content and sharing information about assessments.

I am yet to embrace Bambuser’s live messaging function as I feel I need all my enegry to keep on task and remember what I want the broadcast to cover and I don’t have the confidence to also be having students send live questions. However, I do want them to feel able to ask questions and in return receive dynamic responses that the wider class can also benefit from. My solution this past semester has been to use the Vx online survey tool to ask on a weekly basis ‘From the material you’ve accessed this week, what would you like to know more about”. This allows students to raise issues about aspects of the content they are finding difficult to understand but also to seek additional information to extend their learning on topics of specific interest. Responses are then collated and bespoke broadcasts created.

Assessments are often a focus of student anxiety. While I would rather my students focus on learning than just assessment, I recognise that with information, anxiety dissipates so I’ve been using Bambuser to explain assessments and to give background information and tips. For many students ethics is a new subject area or their experience of ethics education is in terms of determining right or wrong actions, whereas rather than looking for objectivity, the philosophy of my teaching follows more of a values-based ideology whereby decisions are deemed ‘good’ if they are well argued and clearly justified. This process involves a combination of reflective introspection and an interdisciplinary ‘outrospection’. The combination of a new subject, perhaps a different and challenging ideology, along with an online learning environment contribute to this sense of assessment anxiety. Bambuser has been very effective in addressing these issues with, for instance 257 views for a broadcast on the first assessment, from a roll of 130 students.

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Figure 5: Bambuser broadcast

Not only do these broadcasts help address student anxiety, they help me feel more connected with my class, and the feedback seems to be positive:

“… first of all I just wanted to say thank you for being so helpful with your online videos that have allowed me to understand the assignment much better and thank you for the way you have provided the students with so much information online in detail that it doesn’t feel like a online course anymore great job”

I personally like Bambuser as it puts me on edge; it reminds me that I’m a digital warrior. It is a live broadcast so one the one hand I feel ever so apprehensive that my broadcast is going out live – to everyone, not just my students, plus, whatever mistakes or fumblings I make will be digitally stored for evermore. However, on the other hand I feel very much more connected with my teaching and helps me to feel a part of my students’ learning. The ‘live-ness’ reminds me of the aspects of our ‘digital warriors’ COP that I value: an importance to embrace authenticity, to be ok about making mistakes and to model this realness to my students. Hopefully there has been a successful transmission of not only information but also an element of myself, as a person and as a teacher, and that, even with mistakes, this has more value than a pre-recorded, edited production. Early indications from students are that this might be so.

Concluding thoughts

When considering my own teaching and learning transformation process, I recognise I am still very much a novice in terms of mobile learning implementations. My efforts to incorporate Twitter and Bambuser into my teaching practices and dabbling with a range of other digital technologies has helped me establish a foundation for ongoing integration into my future teaching. And, as a learner first, I feel well placed to teach others these tools, but without the pressure to have to know it all, or always get it right. Learning involves and requires a supportive environment. For me the cMOOC experience has been about discovery and opportunity. The ‘c’ in cMOOC has come to represent many things: connectivism, conversations, community, collaboration, creativity, coffee and a can-do attitude. They were all present and arguably all necessary for the creation and continuation of such an environment. I look forward to a future of ongoing transformation both for my students’ learning and my own professional development.

#mosomelt Departmental digital discussions…feels like the COP is off the ground!!


A couple of weeks back I set up what I hoped to be a regular space and time for us, as a department, to meet to discuss digital teaching and learning and to also share our experiences of using digital tools. I hoped we could learn with and from others.

The first week it was just two of us! However we had fun and it was productive in digital and social ways. I was reminded of my trouble with instructions and with no instructions for how to connect my laptop to the projector in the room meant we ended up just talking really. It’s slightly frustrating that some Apps and tools require some functions to be carried out on a laptop or PC  and I easily forget which device I need to be on to do what I want to do!

I think for me a key thing is to feel I am in a safe environment to just be myself and to get things wrong, to try things and fail, and for all that to be ok. I wonder about my students and the technologies they use in my papers and hope I am providing this same safe space to try, to test, and to hopefully, sometimes, get it right.

I feel my department is a good place to talk and share digital ideas as many of us have dabbled a little but nobody is claiming expert status!

Yesterday there were four of us at our weekly ‘Digital’ lunch session. It’s growing in popularity!! Has a Community of Practice been born??!

As a department the decision has been made for us to relocate to South campus in 2017 so part of our time together yesterday was thinking about how this could provide an opportunity to think and do things differently in terms of teaching and learning. I recognise the value of face to face class time with the whiteboard, flip charts and pens, and the important physical connections with students, but I also see the value of combining these more traditional teaching tools with some of the very creative educational technologies now available to us.

It would be good to start to compile some literature that would support the adoption of such innovations and to think about the specific needs of our students and the associated benefits and limitations for them. That way we could feel confident that not only are we being responsive to shifts in technology but are implementing tools, and teaching and learning strategies, that are pedagogically sound.

We also spoke yesterday of some of the challenges finding the ‘perfect’ digital tool! We have been trying to increase use of our departmental Google+ Communities page. I had set up several sub-pages for our various discipline specialisations, social events, teaching and learning, and also departmental business/agenda items. I would really like to develop the idea of the ‘flipped’ meeting so that when we do meet face to face we have already been working on various agenda items rather than trying to cover all business in our monthly slot together. However from just using our iPads/iPhones yesterday it looks like we can’t view these separate pages which just doesn’t seem right. It isn’t intuitive (to me) how to view these but is quite necessary if we are to more fully adopt the Community space for departmental development work.

We also spoke about the challenges for admin staff to have to create a Google doc from a Word doc if we are to post such things as agendas, minutes and other Word documents. At the moment these are having to be copied into a Google Doc and the formatting is often lost. This is taking up a lot of time at the moment, especially when the formatting of tables, for instance, don’t accurately carry over into the Google Doc. We need to streamline this process! At the moment minutes etc are also loaded on the university’s ‘I-Drive’ for communal viewing and so we may need to think about whether we create Google Docs from the start and store on Google Drive. Again these nuts and bolts issues are things which may well have very easy solutions but we may need to seek outside advice so that we don’t spend too much time trying to figure out how to save time! In saying that the process of ‘working things out’, although not always conducive with tight timeframes and deadlines, is often the best way to learn and it seems that as a digital group, we all seem comfortable with having these unanswered questions and having a go to find solutions. The reality will be though, that sometimes the ‘solution’ will be input from Thom or Vickel (our AUT digital superheros!)

I also shared my enthusiasm for WordPress and how I have enjoyed reflecting on my introduction to various technologies but also on the impact of Communities of Practice; the associated benefits from sharing experiences with others and learning with and from them. Next week we’re going to look at blogs, and WordPress in more depth, and possibly consider the way we could document and reflect on our departmental digital developments as part of our own personal professional development but also as a group. Reflection is always an end in itself but documenting our reflections and ideas could also be a catalyst for a collective article or conference presentation.

There is an initiative from Cath, our HoD for us all to have a mobile device and we’re getting an Apple TV for our meeting room so these additions will go a long way to helping us connect with the digital world and to become learners and doers which will certainly hold us in good stead for  being able to equip our students with the skills and capabilities to face the changing world. For me though, the potential lies in the ability of mobile devices to connect us as people; to learn more about one another and to create new digital spaces for us to cohabit.

#mosomelt Creating and connecting – sharing digitally based practices within my department

Colleagues in my department (Department of Public Health @ AUT) have been very interested in what I’ve been learning through mosomelt. Some of them have been working with Vickel to establish a Google+ Community in their class and it may be that others have quietly been using other tools behind the scenes.

Participating in mosomelt with my colleague Kate D has not only been an invaluable experience for us but has begun to spark interest within the wider department. Change and the mere act of thinking about change is not an overnight process and certainly one of the things we’ve enjoyed is having the time to learn across quite a long period of time, rather than just attending a one-off workshop.

I think there is now sufficient interest among colleagues to share some of what we have been learning. Our undergraduate programme is taught over 2 campuses and some of our larger papers no longer have distinct tutorial time so there is an opportunity to consider how we can embrace digital teaching and learning tools that will not only help us overcome the logistical  challenges of teaching but primarily so that we can enhance the learning experiences of those we teach – and the experience of the teachers themselves!

Those who are free and have an interest in these factors are going to start to meet to think about how we can introduce digital technologies, what purpose would they serve and to try things out as a group.

Given that several in the department have used or are using Google+ Communities I set up a Community for our department and have, over the past few months, tried to encourage others to join and I’ve started to post things of interest.

I’ve set up different pages for each of our areas of teaching plus additional pages for Learning & Teaching, Research, Social Event and Meeting-based business.

Screenshot 2015-08-11 10.48.12

One idea I have is that as a group we could create a ‘flipped’ meeting style whereby we could post our departmental meeting agenda and associated material on the Community and staff members could be accessing this and contributing to online posts in relation to the agenda items so that some decisions could be made within the Google+ Community space, while other items would have least already had input and online discussion prior to meeting face to face. I feel that this would be worth experimenting with, especially given that we are spread over two campuses and online text or hangout discussions could be of greater quality and effectiveness than our current teleconferenced monthly meetings.

Another idea that I’m hoping I can encourage others to have a go at is setting up a reflective blog as I’ve found that a very positive experience. Not only does it contribute to ongoing professional development through reflective practice but also can be utilised within the collective group as the basis for a shared piece of reflective research documenting our digital journey.

Bambuser- putting it into practice as a teaching tool

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It’s hard to believe that it is a month since I was first introduced to Bambuser and it is only now that I have had the time and opportunity to use it in my teaching as a very small part of my online ethics paper.

Students are always anxious about assessments. I think the wider education system creates this anxiety and at times I think some of the real learning is lost when the students are so preoccupied with what will be assessed and what is expected of them.

I think anxiety is possibly elevated in my paper as I sit outside their disciplines so the paper may feel like it is from ‘the outside’ and I certainly think some of the ideas I discuss and ways of thinking are not familiar to them. Ethics is about a sense of uncomfortableness. It is that experience that alerts us to there being an ethical issue. Practice is not black and white, despite the numerous best practice guidelines and so ethics education is, in part, about getting used to that sense of unease with the situation one is faced with and developing tools for justifying one’s decisions.

So an uncomfortable subject area and anxiety around assessments led me to consider how I could address these issues using digital technology.

Bambuser enables my students to ‘see’ me as if I was talking to them in class and enables me to just talk about the assessment in a way that I hope addressing the key points required of the students but also in a way that helps them connect with me as the lecturer.

Bambuser is very easy to use, although I notice that when the internet is running a bit slow as is often the case at our house and even relatively often in our building at work, it will sometimes time out while trying to load a video. This is slightly frustrating and I wonder if this impacts on students who live in areas where the connection is not great. It can also be a bit slow to load, again this just might be my experience, but for those trying to get to grips with new tolls I wonder if students will assume it is not working, rather than being patient. These are operational issues that I need to test out further.

So…here is my first Bambuser made for my students- A overview of the first assessment: http://bambuser.com/v/5703566

Interestingly after one week it has had 56 views (am sure only 2 are mine!). My class roll is 129 so a little under half have accessed…or fewer than that but they’ve watched multiple times…or people unrelated to the paper may have found it…but I doubt that is the case.

Given students queries about the assessment and the emails I’m still receiving about the assessment I’m wondering why more haven’t watched the clip. It may be that they will closer to the submission date given that they are all free to move through the course material in their own time and so will have various time management strategies in place (or none in some cases!). It’ll be interesting to see if more people do view it. I’ll also be interested in finding out to what extent it helped their assessment preparation or contributed to their online learning experience.

One student has written to me with some nice feedback which is encouraging 🙂

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Enhancing students’ online learning experience through the use of Bambuser

new Bambuser

With almost every App I’m introduced to in this mosomelt cmooc comes a sense of excitement and my mind goes racing, thinking of the potential to enhance my students’ learning experiences.Bambuser is no different.

But actually Bambuser IS different!

Bambuser seems to combine many of the features that I am looking for plus is easy to use (I only had one false start then was able to seamlessly record something and have it automatically posted to me Twitter feed). Students who are learning online are definitely looking for some sort of authentic connection with the lecturer that is often missing when there are no face to face teaching sessions scheduled. My online students get to see my image and get to hear my voice but together these elements still do not create a real sense of ‘presence’.

Bambuser may well fill this gap by at least allowing my students to see and hear me ‘in action’. I can see a real use for this tool in providing short analyses of case studies as a way to help cement learning of course topics plus could easily be used to live stream a Q&A session on questions posed earlier by students, again based on a specific areas of the course or aspects of assessment. I continually try to focus my teaching on learning and have assessment as a secondary element, despite many students wanting things the other way round so one more avenue would be to use Bambuser to produce commentary of ethical issues in the news. Fellow mosomelt participant Laurent Antonczek has used Bambuser in all sorts of outside settings and I really like this. It reflects my aim to facilitate students seeing ethics everywhere not just in the course content.

Here’s my initial thoughts, via Bambuser (am sure there are more to come): http://bambuser.com/v/5647074

Thinking about collaborative inter professional teaching using Vyclone

The mosomelt winter camp created an interesting opportunity to create some synergy between law, ethics and paramedicine. The morning started with a recap of the last few mosomelt weeks and quickly those present saw a unique chance to collaborate; bringing together our commonality of preparing students for the complexity and uncertainty of real world clinical decision-making.

Vyclone seems to have made a real impact on Kate and I this semester and it seemed only minutes before Kate was proposing numerous out-of-hospital ethico-legal scenarios where the use of Vyclone would add value to the teaching and learning experience. Using Vyclone for teaching not only allows us to be creative and engaging with our content but also enables us to model the use of technologies for students to then consider their own creative ways to think, learn and work collaboratively.

The intersection between law, ethics and paramedic practice illuminates issues such as minors’ consent (the law is grey), decisions about providing out-of-hospital care for those with terminal illness and the relationships between student and on-the-road mentors.

To test out our collaborative skills, and after some very helpful iPhone camera tips from Laurent, we decided to create a Vyclone on consent for minors in out-of-hospital emergency care.

What could we achieve within Vyclone’s 3 minute parameters?

After a ‘take 2’ here’s what we came up with:


Certainly scope to consider this sort of technology for thinking about all manner of practice-based situations not just in paramedicine but in all the clinical programmes Kate and I are involved with across the faculty.