Saturday, August 22, 2020

Mentoring student group work online, 8am Wednesday

I will talk on "Tools to engage students online" Wednesday 19 August, 8-9 am, AEST (Canberra Time) as part of the Microlearning Series curated by Manisha Khetarpal at Maskwacis Cultural College in Canada. This is the third of six weekly sessions. Free, register now.

Higher Education After COVID-19

  1. Responding to the Coronavirus Emergency with e-Learning
  2. Open Content for e-Learning in Response to the Coronavirus
  3. Online Assessment with e-Portfolios in Response to the Coronavirus
  4. Tools to engage students online.
  5. Mentoring student group work online.
  6. Higher education after COVID-19: Not business as usual
These are online, open to all and free. Suggestions are welcome.

Mentoring student group work online

The best way for students to learn practical skills for a vocation is by practice. This can be in a real workplace as an intern, or in a team of students working on a real-world project. But many "real" workplaces are now virtual, with staff working online remotely. This requires new skills of those providing Work Integrated Learning.

Questions for participants:

1. How do you provide individual students, or teams, just enough advice, when you can't physically meet with them?

2. How can online mentoring techniques be used after face to face teaching and working resumes?

Mentors give guidance based on experience

Telemachus son of Odysseus and Mentor
from Aventuras de Telémaco
by Pablo E. Fabisch / Public domain

The tools a mentor uses may be much the same, but their role is different to other teachers. The mentor is experienced in what it is the student is learning to do.  The mentor answers questions and provides advice, rather than taking the student through a set of coursework. Other educators may have set out what the student needs to learn, the mentor helps with the practicalities. As an example, I tutor students undertaking team projects and mentor participants in hackerthons, not telling them how to do the project, but asking what they intend to do.

Work-integrated learning (WIL)

Dr Penny Kyburz,
Game Developer
 Take the learning to the workplace or the workplace to the learning.

Australia has Work-integrated learning (WIL) both in its Vocational Education (VET) sector and universities. I was trained in computing in the Australian Public Service (APS), through short courses by contracted professionals, and supervision in the workplace. Employers may also release staff to attend courses at VET institutions or universities. The APD trainees are called apprentices or cadets. There are also university courses where students work in a company as "interns". Students may also work in a team on a project for a client. 

Mentoring has a role here as these trainees need a form of supervision which takes account of their role as someone working but also learning. Ideally there will be someone with work experience working alongside an educator to ensure the trainee makes a practical contribution, learns from the experience and that can be formally recognized through a educational qualification. In some cases the professional is also an educator, such as Dr Penny Kyburz, Game Developer, and Dr Charles Gretton (AI Developer).

Project Audits

  • Project Audit 1 - Week 3, to set or reset the agenda and scope for the semester
  • Project Audit 2 - Week 6, to guide and evaluate progress, based on the project scope
  • Project Audit 3 - Week 10, to finalise and prepare for the next stage of the project
From: Project Audits (PA), ANU, 2020

Many Eyes Process

From: Many Eyes Process, ANU, 2020

Mentoring Online With Remo Conference

Remo Conference Example
Remo Conference Example
Participants in Canberra's ZeroCO2 Hackathon 2020 took part in an online idea forming exercise this month. Teams were each allocated a table and booked sessions with a mentor. The mentors had their own virtual table where they could chat between mentoring sessions. At the end of each set time period a bell would sound indicating it was time for mentors to move to their next team appointment.

This format has been used at the Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN), for fast paced start-up sessions for several years. The difference this year is that it has moved online due to COVID-19. The room and tables are virtual. While many video conference and forums tools could be used, Remo Conference was used for the ZeroCO2 hackerthon. This displays a floor plan of the virtual room, with participants seated.

Mozilla Hubs is Too Much Like Life

Mozilla Hubs Example
Last week the


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