Now that the regional ‘Kickstarter’ workshops have taken place, and the 22 PDF Pilot Studies are ‘up and running’, our emphasis is now shifting to how best to support the participants through the pilot study process. We are currently setting up a National Forum PD Pilots Online Learning Community for all the pilot groups, where we will share resources and materials on the professional development framework and the pilot studies in a repository and have online conversations spaces dedicated to each group. They will be encouraged to disseminate their experiences of engaging in the pilot study from the lens of their professional contexts and, just to get started, the expert mentors and pilot co-ordinators have been keeping blogs of how they see the process unfolding.
Below are some excerpts from the blogs that the PD Expert Advisory Group members are keeping to capture their experience of being involved in leading the PDF Pilot Studies in their institutions. Also included are some videos that they have recorded, some with their pilot co-ordinators to share their thoughts on the process to date.
Blog excerpts from the PD Expert Advisory Group
The first ‘kickstarter’ workshop took place in NUI Galway; Dr. Sharon Flynn is the expert mentor for the two pilot studies taking place there:
- PG Teaching Certificate Participants
- Experienced Academics across Disciplines
“I was using this very much as a recruitment event, with participants under no obligation to join one or other of the pilot groups. I had advertised the workshop through the usual event channels on campus and was quite encouraged with the number of people expressing an interest in attending…I was delighted that every single person who said they might be there, was there. We had 16 people in the room…Two of those present are members or potential members of other pilot groups…I knew there would be lots of observations and questions and wanted to make sure there was some time for discussion, so I spoke about how I hope to facilitate the two pilot groups…There were some really great questions and observations, which I expect to continue over the timescale of the pilot groups. Some we were able to respond to today, while others definitely gave further food for thought. But I guess that’s the purpose of the pilot groups. I was really pleased that a number of participants signed up to a pilot group immediately and started talking to me about scheduling meetings immediately.”
Three pilot groups were brought together in DKIT; Dr. Bernie Brereton and Angela Short are the expert mentors for these pilot studies:
- Teachers who Research
- Researchers who Teach
- Work Placement Co-ordinators
“Our Regional Workshop took place yesterday in DkIT and was a great success; very well-attended and lots of positive feedback.”
“Today’s Support session centred on participants feeding back on their reflections on the accredited/non-accredited, structured/non-structured, formal/non-formal activities, and also the first question of the Teaching Philosophy (‘what does learning mean to you? And why?) It was very interesting with lots of different capture methods used e.g. Powtoon, Animoto (inspired by the NF video which we showed last week), Google/Docs and voice recordings on smartphones. “
On Friday 27th January, there were 3 workshops in one day!
RCSI took place over lunchtime, and Dr. Martina Crehan is the expert mentor for two pilot studies:
- Healthcare Professionals
- Careers Advisors (with Dave Kilmartin from DIT)
“The majority of my core group were able to attend, and we had some additional participants from other pilots adding to the inter-professional mix and the discussions. By the time the session started, I was certainly feeling an increased confidence in being able to field any participant queries and concerns in the future. That feeling was increased by the very clear and comprehensive overview which was provided during the session, and really helped to further enthuse the group as they could see that the process was both feasible and useful for them…I have tried to emphasise the role of the participants as co-creators in future iterations of the framework and that their insights will be valuable in terms of informing our understanding of disciplinary contexts and needs…There was engaged discussion, and questions from the group. They are interested in reflecting on the need to align with their own professional body CPD requirements, and the role of the framework in further highlighting and raising the value and visibility of teaching in the academy. From my perspective, it was fascinating to see the potential impact of the project resonating with the group, and there was certainly a sense of energy and enthusiasm from all…I came across a quote which, I think, epitomises some of the spirit of the overall project. “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” (H.E. Luccock). We go forward, I think, with a collective energy as we work towards the finished composition.”
A busy Friday evening brought us to DBS, and the HECA Librarians pilot group, with Marie O’Neill as the Pilot Co-ordinator:
“We had our first meeting as a librarian pilot last Friday. All ten pilot members attended…and we minuted the meeting…I put a photo of our first librarian meeting up on Twitter. I have been in touch with Anne [Expert Mentor] throughout. She gave us great tips and advice…and advised us to reflect on the teaching aspects of our role (with flips charts etc.)…which was really helpful. The Librarian group were very enthusiastic about the kickstarter workshop on all fronts: the warm welcome, the knowledge and passion from …the Project Manager and Anne; the PDF document itself; the domains and how they were constructed, the clear way in which PD activity is categorised (unstructured etc); the fact that librarians have been invited to participate in the PDF pilot; the sheer variety, depth and range of pilots running concurrently; the fact that PD that we record may be recognised at the end of the pilot.”