Did it work?

Last night was a extremely interesting discussion around fundamental human virtues. For me, it encapsulated a number of problems experienced in real live. Solutions were hinted at, but one question still remain to me.

Despite our best intentions, and whatever we think, the current reality is that the system does not work like that. The system still, to a very large degree, require quantitative and NOT qualitative assessment of outcomes. One solution would be for everyone, students, lecturers, administrators, to go through the same course. Or at the very least understand the philosophy behind fundamental human virtues. That is not going to happen.

In my opinion; and I could be wrong on this; the bridge would be a system of quantitative assessment of qualitative outcomes. This could serve to convince the skeptics, and accelerate changes urgently needed.

Should we start a slogan campaign: Fundamental Human Virtues In Our Life Times!



Read and reflect

Some articles that makes for interesting reading, seen from the perspective of our experience:

  • America dumbs down
    Jonathon Gatehouse ask if the most powerful nation on Earth lost its mind. And whether or not this is confined to the US.

    Quote: “there is now an ingrained bias that favours the accessible over the exacting.”

  • Teaching as an Imposition

    Quote 1: “Teaching is an unnatural act, an incursion on another person’s learning-in-progress”
    Quote 2: “the teach/tell/talking belief that defines “learning” as “students memorizing my understandings” instead of constructing their own”

  • Self directed learning
    A what and why of self directed learning with a case study.

Construct your own

The concept map

What is a concept map? Here are some resources to get you started:

  1. The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them by Joseph D. Novak
  2. Learning, Creating, and Using Knowledge: Concept maps as facilitative tools in schools and corporations.
    Joseph D. Novak is the originator of Concept Maps. These are two original source documents and well worth a look.
  3. How learning works, by Susan A. Ambrose
    Page 228 has a good explanation about concept maps.
  4. Concept map on Wikipedia
    See especially the difference between a concept map and other visualizations, namely mind maps and topic maps.
  5. Concept Mapping in the Classroom
    The rationale for their use, links to samples and a list of tools to use.
  6. Introduction to Concept Mapping
  7. What is a Concept Map?
  8. Concept Maps on Google
  9. An example of a concept map on Flickr

Posted in KRO

Planning for the Micro-teaching session 10 March 2015

This is the planning for my micro-teaching presentation that took place on 10 March 2015. Maybe it can be of use to someone. Any questions and commentary on this would also be appreciated. I will make the presentation and hand-out available as well.

Topic: The leadership role of the lecturer

Learning outcomes.
At the end of the session, each participant should:

  1. Be able to define a lecturer and how a lecturer relates to a teacher.
  2. Have an understanding of the characteristics of a leader.
  3. Have a basic understanding of leadership.
  4. Know why a lecturer, and by extension a teacher, is in a position of leadership.
  5. Have seen the application of an analogy.
  6. Be able to argue for the importance of a lecturer in society.

Real-life problem statement.

Teaching is a neglected area in our society. However, teachers at all levels play an essential role in society, and as such, should be placed in a leadership position. The aim of this micro-teaching session is to provide a short introduction to motivate this view.

Structure/course of the session.

The session will have the following structure:

  1. Introductory hook.
  2. Construction of an analogy to be used in the conclusion.
  3. First move towards the topic.
  4. Define a teacher.
  5. Introduction of the full topic.
  6. Summary for structure and direction.
  7. Define a leader.
  8. Define leadership.
  9. Construct a diagram of teaching and leadership.
  10. Micro-assesment: most common misunderstandings.
  11. Bonus 1: twain
  12. Bonus 2: backronymn

Student activities and tasks.

Students will do the following:

  1. Answer various questions under guidance of the teacher.
  2. Use a handout to construct a diagram.
  3. Do assessment by listing misunderstandings of the topic.
  4. Listen attentively.

Responsibilities as facilitator.

  1. Create uncertainties with the students.
  2. Listen attentively to student responses.
  3. Explain and guide students in the right direction.
  4. Resolve uncertainties.

Integration of learning media.

The following media will be used:

  1. Projected slides, containing text and images. Due to time and technology constraints, it was decided not to risk using video.
  2. White board and markers to capture student thoughts.
  3. Pen and paper and pre-printed text as a hand-out to students.
  4. Old camera, as a hook.

References and sources:

  1. Imagery: Own and public domain
  2. General web searches
  3. Dyer, K. (2013-07-12) 22 Easy Formative Assessment Techniques for Measuring Student Learning
  4. Heick, T. (2013-03-14) 10 Assessments You Can Perform In 90 Seconds
  5. Goleman, D. (1998) What makes a Leader?, Harvard Business Review, 76 (6): 93-102.
  6. Davidson, T. (1920) Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary Of The English Language. Pronouncing, Explanatory, Etymological, With Compound Phrases, Technical Terms In Use In The Arts And Sciences, Colloquialisms, Full Appendices, And Copiously Illustrated. With Supplement Containing Thousands Of Additional Definitions. Published by W. & R. Chambers, Limited. London

File naming

Why is the naming of files important? If you place yourself in the centre of an expanding sphere, the value and impact of an orderly system of naming files, is as follows:

  1. You will be able to keep track of various project files.
  2. You will be able to keep track of versions of files.
  3. You will have a safety net in case of corruption of a file or disk.
  4. You will be able to identify your file amongst others in a group.
  5. Other people will be able to identify files they receive from you.
  6. You will be able to identify files received from others (if they also follow a logical system).

More on the above points:

Keep track of projects

During the year, you will be involved in many different courses, each with its own lecturer and projects, assignments, assessments and presentations. There will be Prof Slabbert, Dr Du Toit, Dr Coetzee, Dr Wagner and more. Courses are KRO, GBL, PFO, LMD, OWT and so on. And as mentioned, you will do projects, assignments, assessments and presentations.

You want to be sure you are sending the correct file to the correct person, upload to the correct course, and take the correct file along when you have to facilitate a session. Without having to laboriously open each file.


Keep track of versions

When editing a document, you can make minor changes, involving things like grammar, or major changes. Sometimes you replace a big block of material, remove parts or rearrange the existing order. It could happen that you want to go back to a previous version, where your sentence was just short of Shakespearean brilliance.

Sourced from LightStock

Safety net

Hard drives die. Flash disks has a limited number of write cycles. Sh-Things happen. If you have older versions, you may only loose a small portion of time.


Identify ownership

When collaborating with others in any environment, sooner or later you will have to exchange electronic information. This is true in a closed environment, with you present; but also when you send and receive files from colleagues. Having to open each file becomes an additional chore, eating time that could be spend being productive.

Collaboration in a group. Image from StockSnap


By selecting a sensible naming scheme, and sticking to. Rename incoming files that are not properly named according to your scheme. And keep to it. What is a sensible naming scheme?

Name your stuff. Image sourced from PixaBay


This is  a system that you can adopt to fit your own situation and preferred style of working.

Generic Scheme Project or Assignment number Course/Lecturer Document Owner Version
 Example 1  ASS03B  KRO410 LootsM 20150311
  Result  ass03b_KRO410_LootsM_20150311
 Example 2  AR_PROJ DuToit LootsM 20150501
  Result ARPROJ_DuToit_LootsM_20150501

The best way to assign a version to a file, is to use the date, and optionally the time as well. When you start working on a document, add the date at the end of the name. This then becomes the version. When you feel you have made major changes, you save with the new date. If you are slightly paranoid, you can add the date in 24-hour format as well to the date. That would allow for multiple version on the same day. To make the name easier to read, the underscore character can be used. Spaces will also work, but there is a possibility that this can cause problems on some systems.

You are unique. Help your file names to stand out as well.