Thursday, March 12, 2009

PR Works - Episode 1

PR Works - Episode 1

Posted using ShareThis

Lee Weinstein of Portland, OR, chats with Dave Mingey, Director of Olympic Marketing for Johnson & Johnson. Topics include: the upcoming Winter Games in Vancouver, the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing and other Public Relations topics.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Not teacher, but learner "guide"

Social constructivist scholars view learning as an active process where learners essentially take responsibility for their own learning. The role of the facilitator in the social constructivist viewpoint is that the instructor and the learners are equally involved in learning from each other as well (Holt and Willard-Holt 2000).

The "introduction to podcasting" course that I've been responsible for guiding as an adjunct professor at California Baptist University this semester is a prime example of an active learning process. Students have learned largely by "doing." The assignments have been built so that my primary role has been as facilitator, or guide, helping students get to their own levels of understanding. The classes have been geared to create an environment for hands-on learning, with an emphasis on individual responsibility for setting assignment goals, production schedules and quality.

I have encouraged students to collaborate, both in and out of class. For the most part, students seem to be enjoying taking part in activities which are directly relevant to the application of their learning--when it's fun to do, and it's something of a social exchange or opportunity, it can help the learning process.

On the other hand, since this is an introductory course and not all of the students have a foundation in journalistic writing or practices, the course might benefit from more guided instruction. With little or no prior knowledge of the subject matter, the students have necessarily had to practice new skills with feedback several times up to this point in the course, now about mid-way. For those who have the J background, the tasks may seem repetitive and pedantic. For those without the orientation, the practice may only just now be creating the requisite comfort level to move to the next level.

In any event, I have been trying to actively assess their individual progress up to this point in the semester, taking each student's learning approach and motivation into account and allowing for generous flexibility in scoring.

One particularly gratifying outcome of the class so far for me: several students are leaving their own imprint in the learning process. I encourage and support their boldness, and willingness to fully participate in this didactic trial.