1. Action-inquiry, work-focused learning

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Introduction

Based on the Ultraversity Project, this collection of patterns identifies the key innovations developed to teach an undergraduate programme of some 300 student researchers, supported entirely online and having collaboration between learners as a central component.

The Essence of the Problem

To widen participation in HE for those who current provision does not fit.

The Problem in Detail

How to provide a highly personalised, collaborative experience that is supported through online communities and that has authentic work-focused learning for student researchers who wish to study at a full-time rate whilst working full-time with the aim of improving the work that they do.  Developing a combination of pedagogical approaches, which together provide a different route for academic study and appeal to people who are committed to their work and for whom current university provision does not fit. The approach must widen participation by satisfying learners whose need is for flexibility with time, place and pedagogy.  More specifically this could be because:
1.    They need to continue in full-time paid employment whilst they study;
2.    They wish to make their study directly relevant to their work;
3.    Family commitments prevent their on-campus attendance;
4.    Geographical location or poor transport links makes campus attendance difficult;
5.    They seek to develop further their communicative creativity and technological understanding as a complete professional;
6.    Traditional examinations and academic essay writing are either intimidating or uninviting;
7.    They seek the company, support and intellectual challenge of fellow students rather than studying alone;
8.    They seek the advantage offered by technology to enjoy the possibility of work on joint ventures and studying collaboratively.

The Solution

Personalised learning
Learners identify subject knowledge that is relevant to their own work context and needs. Through a process of negotiation with learning facilitators, the learner develops a set of learning activities recorded as Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) or inquiry proposals.

Inquiry-based learning
This methodology has an emphasis on critical reflection on an individual’s work practices and inquiry into their work context. This leads to an inquiry focus that is identified by the student, and an action that is planned, implemented and evaluated with the intention of making a positive impact in their work context.

Online community of inquiry
Online ‘community of inquiry’ offers a rich experience of challenge and debate, support, sharing findings, critical feedback, and conversations with invited experts.  The facilitation team intentionally create an environment where trust and critical friendship can grow and contribute to the development of the community, anticipating a successful environment for deep learning.

Assessment for learning

There are no timed examinations with assessment being based on a patchwork of accumulated elements of work culminating in a critical commentary that accounts for the learning journey in relation to the set module learning outcomes.  Students’ academic voice is developed through encouragement to creatively use alternate genre, rich media and technology such as video, audio, websites and blogs.

Exhibition for dissertation

Towards the end of the programme, learners are required to construct an exhibition of their findings primarily based upon the final year of their studies but drawing on the whole three-year experience. The exhibition is given to an informed audience identified by the learner, wherever possible in their place of work.  Critical evaluation of the exhibition by the audience helps validate their findings.

Internet infrastructure

Students are required to develop their understanding of the use of emerging Internet technology for collaboration and learning preparing them for a future of self-directed, life-long learners.  Interaction between students and learning facilitators is entirely online with no face-to-face meetings.

Reflections on use

Although the pattern posed many significant challenges, noteably the balancing of work/study/life commitments, it was successful in enabling significant numbers of student researchers to gain an undergraduate qualification.  It also proved to be a succesful model for improving the work practices of these student researchers.  Most significantly, since its inception several institutions have developed the ideas to their own context.

Related patterns

1.1 Organise learning places
1.2 Team Teaching
1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation
1.4 Workplace advocate
1.5 Action Learning Set
1.6 Patchwork ‘Media’
1.7 Personalised Learning Contract
1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest
1.9 Nurture Online Community of Inquiry

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1.1 Organise learning places

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Introduction

Based on the Ultraversity Project, this collection of patterns identifies the key innovations developed to teach an undergraduate programme of some 300 student researchers, supported entirely online and having collaboration between learners as a central component.

The Essence of the Problem

How to organise the online technology to support the student researcher learning experience.

The Problem in Detail

How to empower student researchers to be responsible for the self-organisation of their technology and actions.  This is a particular challenge in trying to make sense of the relationship between institutional technologies and technologies that student researchers choose for themselves.  As the latter increases, there is a tendency for the community of inquiry to fragment potentially making it difficult to organise for community learning across disciplines and interest groups.  The key challenges are:

1. the co-ordination of private, shared and public places;
2. providing access to course resources;
3. providing a secure, auditable assessment portfolio;
4. co-ordinating a range of staff and student communication needs;
5. solutions that promotes trust and provide security;
6. institution exerting control in its own interest rather than that of the student researcher.

The Solution

Components of the solution:
1. Require student researchers and staff to self-organise the integration of institutional provision and self-selected external technologies;
2. provide a place for staff only online discussions;
3. provide closed learning sets – a group of 5 student researchers who support each other;
4. provide cohort group places for co-ordination of large groups of student researchers;
5. provide online access to assessment portfolios to external examiners
6. provide module resources with facilitated discussions;
7. provide hotseat topic experts;
8. provide assessment portfolio;
9. promote private places to author and draft before sharing;
10. promote student formed and lead interest groups;
11. promote the use of external networks and communities.

Reflections on Use

In an ideal world, we support the idea that institutions reduce the level of control they exert and provide the minimal amount of services possible.  It seems reasonable that individuals should be able to make personal choices about the technology they use to support their learning. However, this tempered by the pragmatics of working within the confines of the University (rules, regulations, practices, obligations & entitlements) and the different levels of technological capacity of individuals – although always seeking to explore new approaches to learning and teaching and push at the boundary of what is possible.

Related patterns

1.1 Organise learning places
1.2 Team Teaching
1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation
1.4 Workplace advocate
1.5 Action Learning Set
1.6 Patchwork ‘Media’
1.7 Personalised Learning Contract
1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest
1.9 Nurture Online Community of Inquiry

1.2 Team Teaching

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2. Introduction

Based on the Ultraversity Project, this collection of patterns identifies the key innovations developed to teach an undergraduate programme of some 300 student researchers, supported entirely online and having collaboration between learners as a central component.

3. The Essence of the Problem

A model for learning and teaching practice in online communities that is based on sound pedagogical and organisational approaches.

4. The Problem in Detail

Historically HE teachers have worked independently without recourse to colleagues or diverse learning and teaching models employing approaches that situate them as an individual who is the powerful arbiter of knowledge over learners within their given academic discipline or domain.  This limits the exposure of learners to a diversity of perspectives. Teaching is usually organised to meet the needs of timetabling, to deliver lectures or lessons and to offer limited personal support in individual tutorials.  Preparation and marking is also undertaken individually and this can be difficult. Unplanned absence due to illness or other unforeseeable circumstances can disrupt students’ learning.

5. The Solution

This pattern proposes that staff should collaborate closely.  This entails treating all teaching acts as joint objectives which require ongoing monitoring together in a team.  This is achieved with staff working remotely and using skype, text chats, email, and assessment portfolio software.
Advantages comprise of:
1. admissions – rather than have an individual responsible for admissions a small team is available to discuss non straight-forward applicants;
2. induction – all staff (including academics, administrators and support) introduce themselves to all students with a short pen portrait, an encouraging statement and a ‘gentle’ challenge whether or not they will be working closely with each other;
3. planning module delivery – teaching staff collaboratively agree planned absence during term time, who is responsible for which student researchers, content of module and programme guides, who will be the lead ‘teacher’ for particular aspects of the programme and when
4. preparation of learning resources – share materials with colleagues for peer review and critical feedback before use;
5. team facilitation – by participating in community discussions with students beyond those for who you have direct responsibility for student researchers can benefit from exposure to a wider range of social and academic perspectives including formative assessment;
6. unplanned absence – cover is readily arranged that is less disruptive to the student experience;
7. marking – modules are marked by a team who begin with a collaborative standardisation discussion around a random selection of three submissions. Non-straightforward issues arising during further marking are shared and discussed.

6. Reflection on use

This can be a difficult pattern to establish with experienced teachers who have ingrained habits and practices gained over many years of teaching alone.  It is exposing of practice and as such can be perceived as a risky and threatening way of working.  However, there is much to be gained as observing other people working and reflecting and discussing what is going on is one the best ways of improving your own practice.  University and departmental policies and practices may mitigate against team teaching.  Although the exposure to different teaching staff brings great advantage in terms of the different knowledge and perspectives, there is the need for teachers and learners to be prepared to be critically reflective in dealing with contradictions and ambiguities.

7. Related patterns

1.1 Organise learning places
1.2 Team Teaching
1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation
1.4 Workplace advocate
1.5 Action Learning Set
1.6 Patchwork ‘Media’
1.7 Personalised Learning Contract
1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest
1.9 Nurture Online Community of Inquiry

1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation

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2. Introduction

Based on the Ultraversity Project, this collection of patterns identifies the key innovations developed to teach an undergraduate programme of some 300 student researchers, supported entirely online and having collaboration between learners as a central component.

3. The Essence of the Problem

How to maximise the learning experience and work-place impact of a dissertation or final project.

4. The Problem in Detail

Dissertations or major projects which are the culmination of a programme and that are viewed only by the author and the assessor fail to take full advantage of a significant learning experience for the student researcher.  Maximising the potential impact requires the student to articulate persuasive cogent arguments that are relevant and accessible within the workplace; considering appropriate strategies for conveying information to an informed but possibly non-academic audience provides a significant challenge.

5. The Solution

The dissertation or final project should take the form of an exhibition in the work-place for a selected stakeholder group – a celebration of the student researcher’s achievement over the duration of the programme. The exhibition provides wider impact through the dissemination of the inquiry process, findings and conclusions; offering an opportunity for the validation and defence of learning.

In particular student researchers need to:

1. define the purpose and identify effective exhibition strategies
2. identify the body of information and assemble the exhibition
3. identify and invite a selected audience of stakeholders;
4. negotiate the resources required to undertake the exhibition in the workplace;
5. design an evaluation methodology for their exhibition linked to its purpose;
6. hold the exhibition and collect data for evaluation;
7. create a summative critically reflective account of their research findings including analysis of the exhibition feedback.

6. Reflections on use

This is a very challenging activity for undergraduates that forces them to make a considered intervention in the workplace, however, this is a milestone in many student researchers learning journey and one that contributes to their sense of achievement and self-belief.
Challenging issues for the student researcher are:

* Getting feedback from the audience that is critical of their work rather than simply supportive of what they have done;
* The tendency for the focus to be the ‘craft’ of exhibiting itself rather than the exposing of a student researchers ideas to critical feedback as a way of deepening their understanding.

7. Related Patterns

1.1 Organise learning places
1.2 Team Teaching
1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation
1.4 Workplace advocate
1.5 Action Learning Set
1.6 Patchwork ‘Media’
1.7 Personalised Learning Contract
1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest
1.9 Nurture Online Community of Inquiry

1.4 Workplace advocate

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There is no picture.

Introduction

Based on the Ultraversity Project, this collection of patterns identifies the key innovations developed to teach an undergraduate programme of some 300 student researchers, supported entirely online and having collaboration between learners as a central component.

The Essence of the Problem

How to achieve an appropriate level of work-place support to help student researchers successfully integrate study with their work-role and to benefit all stakeholders.

The Problem in Detail

The approach developed to work-focused learning does not entail a formal agreement with a student researchers employer.  However, as action inquiries are being undertaken it is necessary to have a level of endorsement that allows for successful study and ideally would include active support.  In some cases, employers are paying fees and as such require confidence that the focus of study is directly beneficial to their organisation and some mechanism is required to achieve this.

The Solution

Formalise support from someone at work in the role of workplace advocate, this may be someone who already has responsibility for supporting the student researcher in some way.  If the situation in the work-context is such that there is no-one able or willing to fulfil this role the student researcher should identify another person to act as a sounding board to help them reflect upon the challenges they face and how these might be addressed.  It is important to try and identify someone who the student researcher works well with, who can support their professional development, and who has sufficient authority in the work-place to offer effectively support.  It is important that this person understands that Workplace advocacy is an enabling role; not one of directing studies and determening the focus for inquiries.

Scenario
Nadine works as a housing officer for a housing association in the West Midlands.  Her work-place advocate is her line manager who although having no experience of working in HE takes a keen interest in staff development throughout the department. In their first planned meeting of the year Nadine explains the ideas she has had for some action inquiries over the coming semester. One idea was to look at improving communications with customers in particular how complex issues that require a multi-team approach are dealt with – this could include police, social services as well housing officers.  Her advocate can see the need to improve this area of work for the association as a whole and how, if Nadine could improve her practice, their would be potentially wider benefits.  The advocate is however sensitive to potential ethical issues and asks that Nadine to consult relevant policy documentation and to include this in her planning and arrange a future meeting to discuss her plans in detail.  Nadine makes a note to consider adding a target in her PDP around ethical work-practice and what it means for someone in her work-role.

Reflection on use

The experience of student researchers was very variable from highly effective Workplace advocates through to ones who offered no support other than tacit approval by their work-place for their studies.  There is a potential for confusion between the more formal aspects of mentoring and coaching and this role which has no formal basis and is the responsibility of the student reseracher to initaite and maintain.  If emplyers are paying fees, there is the temptation for them to wish to direct the focus and nature of the inquiries rather than allow student reseracher to identify what they believe are important issues or opportunities.

Related patterns

1.1 Organise learning places
1.2 Team Teaching
1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation
1.4 Workplace advocate
1.5 Action Learning Set
1.6 Patchwork ‘Media’
1.7 Personalised Learning Contract
1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest
1.9 Nurture Online Community of Inquiry

1.5 Action Learning Set

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There is no picture for this pattern.

Introduction

Based on the Ultraversity Project, this collection of patterns identifies the key innovations developed to teach an undergraduate programme of some 300 student researchers, supported entirely online and having collaboration between learners as a central component.

The Essence of the Problem

How to generate high quality collaboration and ‘deep learning’ based on constructive critical feedback in communities.  Two issues around that are the development of trust and confidence between learners and the challenge of individual’s managing the complexity of conversations between many participants.

The Problem in Detail

Critically reflective peer feedback is an essential component of this model for inquiry-based, work-focused, online supported learning.  Feedback from student reserachers with different expertise and experience extends the range of critical perspectives and stimulates reflection and debate in the exploration of problems and identification of creative solutions to problems.  A significant proportion of students initially approach communicating in larger community areas tentatively as this can be perceived as a ‘risky’ social activity particularly so between people who have never met physically and are newly aquainted online.  Peer review in large online communities can also generate a large amount of complexity with many messages requiring some form of ‘attenuation’ to that the demands placed upon the learner to read and respond in a thoughtful way are manageable.

Scenario
Nadine’s cohort 47 students have been asked to consider the purpose of action learning sets; she reflects on how student researchers could have meaningful conversations critically reviewing their draft learning contracts. She considers the level of message generation if all of the students were sharing their individual learning contracts and providing feedback in one community space; how would she read through all of the messages; would she feel confident providing peer review in front of such a large audience ? She realises the volume of messages would be overwhelming, provision of critical feedback would inevitably be very selective; there would be no guarantee that she would receive any feedback herself.

The Solution

Identify groups of no more than 5 student researchers to work together on agreed activities to avoid the potentially overwhelming task of having to read large volumes of contributions and generate critical friendships.  The members should be contracted to support each other for a defined minimum level of commitment that should include offering as well as receiving critically constructive feedback on selected aspects.   This activity should initially be supported by someone with expertise in the process and so able to model the behaviour required as well as explaining the process and why it is valuable.  Significant parts of conversations should be shared in the wider community spaces, but the members of the learning set should decide on the level of privacy of their conversations.

In providing critically friendly support student researchers should:
– identify strong aspects of work
– suggest supplementary componants
– suggest alternative approaches based on experience
– identify inconsistencies
– challenge unfounded assumptions
– promote respect and friendship

Reflections on use

Many student researchers report that this is one of most beneficial aspects of their learning with developing strong friendships and deep levels of trust.  A wide range approaches to establishing learning sets from self-selection through to allocation by learning facilitators have been tried and have all worked well.  However, there can be issues around inclusivity if friendship groups are the basis for learning sets and on occasions the group dynamics of particular sets have lead to some levels of conflict that have required interventions to re-organise the sets.

Related patterns

1.1 Organise learning places
1.2 Team Teaching
1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation
1.4 Workplace advocate
1.5 Action Learning Set
1.6 Patchwork ‘Media’
1.7 Personalised Learning Contract
1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest
1.9 Nurture Online Community of Inquiry

1.6 Patchwork ‘Media’

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No picture.

Introduction

Based on the Ultraversity Project, this collection of patterns identifies the key innovations developed to teach an undergraduate programme of some 300 student researchers, supported entirely online and having collaboration between learners as a central component.

The Essence of the Problem

Adapting Richard Winter’s Patchwork Text approach to assessment for use in an online community of inquiry taking advantage of creative learning technologies.

The Problem in Detail

The problem with assessment:
“It’s time we found an alternative to the student essay. For tutors across the country, it’s marking time again and, reading essays, we realise that many of our students have yet again taken refuge in “surface learning”. Failing to assimilate the significance of our courses into their understandings they produce instead what they think the tutor wants; a despairing and deceptive ritual, a superficial imitation of the outward form of learning, rather than the real thing.” (Winter 2003) For a fuller explanation read An Alternative to the Essay.

Winter’s solution:
To introduce an approach that required creative imagination in formal assessment in universities including story-writing and reflective writing.  His patchwork text approach requires different forms of writing to be shaped, fashioned and assembled in order to explore the relationships between various perspectives. The resulting pieces of work are then shared among learners, discussed and interpreted in different ways, then stitched together, by a reflective commentary to form the final assessment product.  This commentary, identifies learning in relation to the module learning outcomes including meta level reflections.
Our problem:
To re-contextualise Winter’s solution for the online environment; requiring students to embrace the creative potential of digital technologies, transforming the patchwork text approach into one of ‘patchwork media’.

The Solution

In line with Patchwork Text, Patchwork Media requires:
1. Individual learning activities require the student researcher to undertake some creative authoring using different media and genre (poetry, play, about an issue or an opportunity;
2. Student researchers are required to explore an alternative literacy by using creative technologies that enable new perspectives and insights without the artificial constraints of academic voice;
3. The authored pieces are shared within the learning set for critical feedback through asynchronous and synchronous discussions. This helps the author clarify their own understanding and clarify their communication of it;
4. The author reflects and amends the patches as appropriate ensuring they attain an academic literacy;
5. The last activity requires the student researcher to identify their learning throughout the process and relate it to module learning outcomes including meta level reflections.

Reflections on Use

This has proved to be a good way of linking module learning outcomes, to authentic work-focused leaning activities.  We agree with Winter’s suggestion that the approach is particularly valuable for students with little experience of higher education or of writing with an academic voice.  In our experience, the use of alternative academic literacy aids the transition towards writing with an academic voice.  The emphasis on articulating meta-level learning through the retrospective commentary deepens learning.  The use of new media, although valuable for some, can be time consuming for student researchers to create and for assessment.

Related patterns

1.1 Organise learning places
1.2 Team Teaching
1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation
1.4 Workplace advocate
1.5 Action Learning Set
1.6 Patchwork ‘Media’
1.7 Personalised Learning Contract
1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest
1.9 Nurture Online Community of Inquiry

1.7 Personalised Learning Contract

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Archetype contract

Introduction

Based on the Ultraversity Project, this collection of patterns identifies the key innovations developed to teach an undergraduate programme of some 300 student researchers, supported entirely online and having collaboration between learners as a central component.

The Essence of the Problem

With learners studying in a diverse range of work-contexts there is a requirements to personalise the learning.  A mechanism is required that allows for a negotiation between the University and the student researcher to ensure that the planned learning activities will satisfy university and workplace requirements.  The essence of this problem is how to enhance the quality of self-directed, work-focused learning.

The Problem in Detail

In enrolling students onto programmes of study, the University is contractually and morally obliged to develop support mechanisms that give the best chance possible of learner success.  The nature of online supported, inquiry-based, work-focused learning requires the development of particular approaches to meet this obligation.  There are many parameters within which personalised undergraduate study has to operate consequently module resources and student activities can be underpinned by a high degree of complexity.  Particular issues that need to be addressed are:

  1. variety of interpretations of module requirements by student researchers;
  2. ethical considerations of planned action-inquiries;
  3. adequate workplace and university student support is in place to enable student success;
  4. pace of study will enable timely submission of assessment products.

The Solution

A learning contract is an agreement between the student researcher and the university detailing the activities that will be undertaken for a particular module.  It is a working-document that ensures clarity and alignment of expectations between the student researcher and the University and that the planned learning is authentic, ethically sound and describes an appropriate approach to meet both University and workplace needs.

Process
1. the student resarcher reads the module instruction;
2. online discussions lead by the learning facilitator elaborate the module requirements, clarify expectations, and address issues raised by students;
3. student researchers draft a learning contract and share key elements in their learning set for peer review and critical feedback;
4. student researchers red-draft and improve their proposal;
5. student researchers check that the proposed activities will meet with workplace approval making changes as necessary;
6. final draft of learning contract is shared with learning facilitator who accepts the proposal or advises on necessary revisions.

Scenario
Nadine is works as a housing officer for a housing association in the West Midlands.  She is preparing to study an action-inquiry module and her first stap is to read the module resources.  In discussion with her colleagues at work she identifies the handling of the complaints procedures as a potential issue she could explore as it has wider implications for improving practice accross the department.  In a community discussion Nadine asked “I am wondering about the boundaries of my inquiry, that is to what extent should it be purly about my own working practices or can I look at the way we handle complaints across the whole department?” a reply from fellow student researcher said “This was an interesting point raised in one of the hotseats.  My interpretaion of this is that there are different views as to how inquiries should be framed.  But what was clear was that you need to be realistic in what you can achieve withing the contrainst of just one module”.  A learning facilitator joins the discussion, “Looking at the practice across your department will be good reconaisance for your inquiry and could provide you with ideas as to how you improve your own practice. When your inquiry is completed you could share your improved practice across the department extending the impact to achieve organisational change.”

With this and other advice Jane constructs her draft learning contract and shares it in her learning set for critical feedback.  She comments on fellow student reserachers prposals and incorporates what she has laerned form their comments into her contract.  Finally Jane shares her draft learning contract with her learning facilitator who approves it but with just a few minor suggestions about how she might evaluate her action and reminds her to share with her workplace advocate.

Reflection on use

Learning contracts are an essential component of this approach to learning.  However, there are challenges about getting student researchers to engage in systematic planning activities in any depth.  This is not a particular reflection on the group of student researchers we have worked with, but more about the enthisiasm to get on with concrete tasks that feel rewarding and valuable. In order to address the issue of motivation to plan we have explored potential models that integrate the learning contract into assessment however we have not yet arrived at a satisfactory solution.

Related patterns

1.1 Organise learning places
1.2 Team Teaching
1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation
1.4 Workplace advocate
1.5 Action Learning Set
1.6 Patchwork ‘Media’
1.7 Personalised Learning Contract
1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest
1.9 Nurture Online Community of Inquiry

1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest

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Hotseat Pattern Archetype

Introduction

Based on the Ultraversity Project, this collection of patterns identifies the key innovations developed to teach an undergraduate programme of some 300 student researchers, supported entirely online and having collaboration between learners as a central component.

The Essence of the Problem

Requiring learners to determine the focus and subject content of their action inquiries raises particular challenges about how they can be supported in relation to specialist knowledge applicable to the context of their studies.  The essence of this problem is how to bring additional expert knowledge in to the online community of inquiry around a specific topic or theme.

The Problem in Detail

The online community of inquiry may not have all of the expertise required to support the learner in their studies, neither is it efficient to arrange for experts to support a learner on a one-to-one basis.  Expertise might be required from practitioners and academics on a diverse range of topics including theory, learning processes, research methods,  methodologies, etc.

The Solution

Bring external expertise to the community of inquiry on specific topics through an online, asynchronous discussion forum.  A high degree of relevance is achieved through framing a discourse that is lead by student researcher questions to which the expert responds.  Thehotseat guest responds in such a way as to relate specific questions to theories, concepts and ideas from their their given topic.  This includes references to research, professional bodies, networks that can be joined and other sources of information.  Other community members  share their relevant experience asking questions and offering feedback with the intention of exploring issues through their grounded professional practice or simple desire to learn.

Hotseat format:
1. engage in dialogue with the student researchers to inform the topics for Hotseat expert guests;
2. fix and advertise a two week period for the hotseat to run over;
3. instruct the expert to provide a short biography and a 250 word introduction to his hotseat topic;
4. supply the expert with instructions on how to access the hotseat and inform them of expectations of their participation;
5. the expectation is that the expert will will log into the hotseat at least every other day (except for weekends and public holidays) over the two week duration of the hoseat and respond to all questions posed;
6. learners read questions and responses before asking a question to avoid repetition and seek to share their own experiences in response to others;
7. at the end of the hotseat, a summary should pull together key ideas, disagreements, and resource references;
8. hotseat is archived as a resource for participants and subsequent student researchers.

Scenario
Nadine has been looking at different action-inquiry models from a theoretical perspective but has no experience of applying them in practice.  She would like some advice about the application of these different approaches to her own inquiries.  The hotseat expert replies to Nadine agreeing that there are many to choose from.  “I usually design an action research process to suit the situation and the intention of the research.  Where possible I like to do this in conjunction with the other participants in the project.  Each of the action research methodologies has its particular advantages and disadvantages – take a look at these web resources that evaluate different approaches.  I can often design a process which incorporates the advantages of several.  In this regard participatory action research can be a generic process into which other processes can be integrated.  For instance, I like the models and processes of action science for developing a critical and supportive climate in the research team.  I agree with DonaldSchon that reflection is important, including the “reflection-in-action” that he encourages.  For some purposes appreciative inquiry is useful in developing a positive and energetic atmosphere.  And so on.”

Reflection on use

In practice, it requires a high degree of organisation to arrange a programme of hotseats that run throughout a programme that are timely for student researchers needs and related to individual modules.  The use of archivehotseats helps address some of these challenges although not being an interactive discussion, some the value is lost.  Staff also gain a great deal from thehotseats as both passive observers and participants in discussions as a part of their own CPD building the overall capacity of the community as action inquirers.

Related patterns

1.1 Organise learning places
1.2 Team Teaching
1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation
1.4 Workplace advocate
1.5 Action Learning Set
1.6 Patchwork ‘Media’
1.7 Personalised Learning Contract
1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest
1.9 Nurture Online Community of Inquiry