Follow by Email

Monday, 7 October 2013

GCTLT - Design overview

I stated in my analysis of learners blog Analysis of learners the reasons for my re-design of this paper.  This was evidenced in part by the response from the students evaluations of themselves, their peers and the course.  See below an excerpt of a response from one of the students in reply to some specific questions regarding the course.

Student evaluation of Destination paper

The paper is taught at the beginning of the academic year and in order to settle the students into a positive pattern of behaviour for the rest of the year, I feel that a more structured approach to this paper would help.  Therefore I plan to link the lesson plans to the assessment activities and the guest speaker slots, with an emphasis on team building activities/quizzes based on the International Destination.  The idea of separating some of the assessments into individual ones is in direct response to the students feedback.  I used the ADDIE model of design in an earlier post for my flexible learning paper and realised that I designed this one with the same students in mind, just for a different paper, but I feel the same principles apply; Link to ADDIE flexible learning draft plan.  Instead of planning a conference and dinner as shown in this design the students would plan and design a magazine, using a blog to illustrate their progress.

OTARA design model (Hunt,2013)

I have used the OTARA design model to illustrate the activity-centred approach I wish to incorporate into the paper.  

  • Objectives - These are the learning outcomes
  • Themes - I will base my lesson plans around these making them generic enough that any destination can be used
  • Activities - How they will do this
  • Resources - What we will use
  • Assessments - Marking criteria to show evidence

In previous papers I have explored the importance of scaffolding the learning so that each segment fits together and builds on the last, I have used an example of 'making a cup of tea' and how the sequence is crucial to the end product, see Link to learning sequences.  I plan to build on each of the 'themes' during the paper so that they have all the resources to be able to produce a travel magazine.

My philosophical approach to teaching has been explored in a previous post see Link to Teaching Philosophy, as has my paradigm in which I teach and I believe that Vygotsky's approach fits best with my aims, beliefs and values.  See Link to Vygotsky's constructivism approach.

Hunt, K. & Moore, M. (n.d.). resources.Learning, design and editing. Retrieved October 7, 2013, from

All other references in linked posts.


  1. Hi Helen
    I really enjoyed reading your post. Course evaluations from students are so valuable.
    I find the feedback from your student about the team work interesting as that is how I feel about group activities, when being assessed as a group rather than based on the individual contribution. If there are no assessments resulting from group work, I feel alright about team work though. My daughter had a frustrating experience in the 3rd year of her nursing BA. Some group members simply did not 'pull their weight' but got good grades because of the ones who put a lot of effort in. The overall group grades were lower than what some of the hard working students would usually get when they are assessed on their individual work.
    It's great how you moderated your course content according to the feedback, by separating some of the assessments into individual ones.

  2. Hi Jacqueline, thanks so much for your comments. I certainly share your frustrations with this process, particularly with your daughter's experience. My students felt exactly the same, the only difference being that they were only able to achieve a passed/not passed. However I did keep note of the areas of responsibility via the blog, each student had been given a topic to complete, and I was able to set re-sits for individual students that had not completed their section sufficiently. This was an advantage of having a small group of students.

  3. Hi Helen
    Thank you for your reply. Reading about how you monitored the individual student's contribution/task through their blogs is great! I think that your version of team work is a lot fairer than when a tutor is just looking at the team's overall presentation (as they did in my daughter's case).
    As to the pass/not passed 'grade' - hmmm - I am still thinking about this one. Admittedly, I actually do not know why some courses have 'only' a pass/not passed grade system. Would you know Helen? I'd be very interested in the answer to that one.
    I think that for some students, the pass/not passed dynamic might create less performance pressure (stress), because a pass is - well - a pass. Nevertheless, I do sometimes wonder about the lack of differentiation on a pass, as there can be some ambiguity if this grade was 'passed well' or a 'just passed'. Again - someone who put a lot of effort in passes but so might someone who didn't put as much effort in. No differentiation.
    If I would be an employer and look at someones 'pass' in a course, I would definitely wonder if that person has just passed or passed well - hence the A's, B's etc give a much clearer picture to the student, a potential employer or for acceptance into further studies.
    The pass/not passed grading somehow could potentially be viewed as lessening the overall value of the grade or even the course, and/or possibly encouraging an attitude in students of 'oh well - I just have to pass'.
    Anyway - just a few thoughts on this one as I'm still pondering on the pass/not passed situation.
    I do know that my older daughter - who is half-way through her 2nd BA, this one in Social Anthropology (Massey) - raised her eyebrows when I told her that the GCTLT course is a 'pass/not passed course'...

  4. Thanks for your reply Jacqueline,
    I would agree with you about the pass/not pass mark, I have had this conversation with my students too! I think it sends a message to the learner of 'oh well, I only have to get a pass, so will do the minimum required ', however for those that see any form of study as a challenge and go above and beyond as they see it as beneficial to their development, they don't see the benefits. I do try to give informative feedback at this stage to acknowledge the amount and quality of the work produced. In the past we have given the students grades just as a guideline for them to see the results of their 'hard' work but the end result is still a pass.
    I am doing a paper on the GDTE course as well and am enjoying the fact that the paper has grades and I am certainly motivated to improve based on the results from each assessment.
    Thanks for your thoughts, there is certainly scope for further investigation here particularly if it means changing to grading a certificate to give potential employers more information to work with in their decision processes when recruiting.

  5. Helen what a great idea to get the students to "plan and design a magazine, using a blog to illustrate their progress". I think the design template is shaping up well. Perhaps rethink the main activities associated with this. If the blog is the main activity for planning and designing - what are they going to be doing to demonstrate that this is happening? Set up a blog. Post ?????

    Are they working in teams or individually? Which aspects are assessed - the phases of planning and designing on the blog or the final magazine product? Do all three learning objectives relate to use of the blog? We can discuss this in class but I think you might need to be more specific with regard to either planning and designing or producing the magazine, with the blog as the main activity.