- Date: Thursday, 30-10-2014
- Amount of time:
- Lecture: 90 minutes
Today’s lecture was really exciting because we were engaged to work a lot by ourselves. The topics today were Instruction Planning and Specification of the Target Group.
Learning units should not only be teached, the teaching needs a planning that is similiar to the specification phase in software development projects as I think. So first, we have to think of the target group.
Therefore, you need to identify the objects of a learning unit first. Given a programming learning unit on stacks and queues, the learning objects are students of computer science or similar studies. This sounds trivial, but I think that this is really a key point because the teacher needs to know who we talks to in order to be understood.
You should also define what the students should know. Given the above example, the students should know about basic data structures in object oriented programming languages like Java. Why do you need to question this yourself? Because as teacher, you have to be aware of the skills that students have and should have in order to contribute successfully. The question on what the students have to know is more restrictive but required because you can’t plan your teaching unit to start at the root of specific knowledge. The students have to know object oriented programming for example in order to understand the code demonstrating data structures.
An interesting questions is: which people could be potential troublemakers? A troublemaker is someone who kind of supresses the teaching process and influences it in negative manner. Back in school time, troublemakers were usually young children who are getting to less attention and have to expose theirselves. Nowadays in the university, the behaviour of potential troublemakers changes. Trouble making students could be people who are not open for the knowledge flow because they think they are experts in some knowledge area. E.g., troublemakers could be students who already implemented a stack or queue themselves and who demonstrate to be bored during the lesson.
Another important point focusses on the learning environment. This is mostly about the time and room of the lesson. It is also about details like the chair arrangement respectively general arrangement of furniture (board, tables, PCs,…). Therefore the teacher should have the possibility to arrange the furniture himself. I didn’t think of the might of furniture arrangement yet, but it is really interesting to me.
Learning goals and capabilities
Last week, we introduced the term “learning goals” (I will define my learning goals for today below). Each learning unit planning should include learning goals to answer questions like “What is supposed? What capabilities should the student recieve? Why is the learning unit important?”.
Given the example above, the student should
- be able to implement a stack or queue (Bloom’s taxonomy: Application).
- be able to draw the differences between queues and stacks (Bloom’s taxonomy: Understanding).
- be able to make a decision what data structure should be used for a certain problem (Bloom’s taxonomy: Analyzation).
The third question is nested on a much higher level of learning than the other ones. Learning units in bachelor programs usually only reach the application level which is important for universities of Applied Sciences as I mentioned in the last summaries. This specific question would more fit a master program.
The importance of queues and stacks should be clear for each computer scientist. Queues and stacks are basic data structures and important to solve a lot of (computer science related) problems. They are basic utils and therefore have to be understood.
Afterwards, you focus on the contents.
Contents, Methodology, Securing and Evaluation
The contents and methodology should be related to the research area. It should be as easy as possible. The use of a variety of media can support the teaching process as I can acknowledge from my personal experience. Different media transport messages in a different way and each one has their own advantages and disadvantages. So they should get chosen carefully.
The securing part is supported my online learning environments like moodle. It is about storing the teaching results which are products made by the student indicating whether they understood the learning unit and fulfilled the learning goals or not. This helps the teacher to evaluate him- or herself constantly and honestly.
So, my learning goals today were:
- I’m able to explain why the learning unit planning is important for successful teaching.
- I’m able to name the steps for planning a learning unit.
- The student is able to specify a learning unit.