Assignment 102: Session Planning and Teaching
Explore the challenges of curriculum design within a specific subject area
I currently teach the CISCO/HP IT Essentials 2 course, the course covers intermediate networking and was developed to give participants a better understanding of both Microsoft Windows 2000 and Linux operating systems. The IT Essentials 2 course is also designed to allow participants to design and build intermediate computer networks.
The syllabus for the course was created and is regulated and updated by CISCO networking systems, CISCO are a network product vendor and the qualification is considered on a par with the Microsoft vendor qualifications. The IT Essentials 2 course consists of 14 chapters each with an online assessment and a final assessment. I have included a syllabus outline with this assignment.
The 14 chapters that the course consists of all link in one way or another, while chapter 2 deals with installing an operating system chapter 4 includes adding users, the students add users when on chapter 4 to the operating system that they installed on chapter 2.
Prepare a course outline for 20 hours of teaching. This must include an individual learning program to meet a particular individuals needs
I have included a course outlinethat covers the 16 weeks that the IT Essentials 2 course is taught over, I have also included chapter summaries for the first 4 weeks that the course runs (chapters 1 – 3 ), I have also included lesson plans to cover the 20 hours teaching required for the 7407 stage 1. Students who do not attend on a particular week have the opportunity to arrive early and/or stay later in order to catch up on what they have missed. In addition to handouts students are issued with a work book that covers the 14 chapters of the course, they are issued this book at the beginning of the course andit gives step by step details of each practical lab and provides worksheets for students to complete during their participation in the labs.
The scheme of work that is included was created by CISCO networking systems and this is the recommended way to teach the course, Tritec – the company that I work for follow this recommendation in order to comply with CISCO networking systems Quality Assurance Plan (QAP), this plan was drawn up by CISCO to ensure quality of service and learning.
A scheme of work may be defined as a series of planned learning experiences sequenced to achieve the course aims in the most effective way.
(Reece and Walker, 2000, p324)
The scheme of work starts with chapter 1, this chapter gives the students an idea of what they will be covering in chapters 2 - 14. This gives some familiarity with the software and operating systems that will be used and it allows students to prepare for upcoming chapters in their free time. The knowledge requirements for this course are that all students must have achieved the CISCO IT Essentials 1 or equivalent (CompTIA A+), this ensures that students are capable of the work that they need to do and it generally ensures that all students are at the same level of competence.
While on the IT Essentials 2 course students will use various hardware and software so that they will have a better understanding of computer networking, they will then apply what they have learned in a practical environment, installing computer software in a labs environment and creating intermediate computer networks, this will help the students gain confidence (affective) and so aid in future learning there is also an aspect of cognitive learning as the students recall what they have learned during previous practical sessions, presentations and demonstrations and apply it to the current activity, students also make considerable use of the mouse and keyboard which has psychomotor aspects.
When I taught the IT Essentials 2 course for the second time I decided to add a midterm quiz that would test the students on what they had learned in chapters 1 – 7, this quiz was designed so that students could choose a subject and a varying level of difficulty, the results from this quiz gave me information that enabled me to assess each students strengths and weaknesses and as a direct result it allowed me to devise a plan of action and deal with each student appropriately. The information that I gathered and the corresponding action plan were then documented on the individual learning plan, the individual learning plan is a living breathing document and is updated as required, it is a specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound (smart) document tailored to each individual.
Deliver the sessions using appropriate methods and arrange for one session to be observed by a tutor as an assessment
I decided that I would use the midterm quiz as the basis of my observed session. Each student in turn selected a specific topic and a difficulty level (100 being easy, 500 being hard) the question was then revealed and the students answered the question if they could, when the answers were given the students were asked for situations that the subject might apply to, the idea of this was to increase awareness and knowledge to students who might not know the answer. Below is a screen shot of the initial screen of the quiz.
If a student could not provide the answer the question was then offered to the rest of the group, in the event that no one could answer the question I would answer it I would also explain how and why it applied and if it was necessary I would include the subject in the teaching session and/or practical demonstrations that I had planned for when we had finished the quiz.
When I teach I try to cater for all learning styles by using various teaching methods and strategies. These included PowerPoint slides, talking, Q&A, discussions, practical labs, writing and drawing on worksheets and using a whiteboard to collect and analyse information. Auditory learners’ may benefit from discussion, listening to presentations and questions and answers. Visual learners may benefit from whiteboard drawings, on-screen computer demonstrations, and handouts. Tactile/Kinaesthetic learners benefit more from the practical labs, building networks and producing their own work.
There are unique differences in the way people learn and we must recognise this and not regard individuals as one group or body of students.
(Reece & Walker, 2002, p178)
When teaching I always try to get as much feedback as possible from my students, this includes how the session went, what they thought of the learning materials and what they considered they had learned most from.
When students are reading the online material I try to walk around the class and aid any students who need it, I also try to make the teaching session as differential as possible with the morning covering presentations, discussions, Q & A and reading the online material and the afternoon covering mainly practical activities.
A typical teaching session for IT Essentials 2 includes development, this is done using various methods and styles, consolidation, students consolidate their knowledge from several sessions in order to successfully complete other sessions and conclusion, students complete chapter assessments that are fundamental in verifying the knowledge that students have learned, this ultimately leads to the final assessment which certifies the knowledge that the students has gained.
The Learning Cycle
- To identify and describe the required content and outcome of a learning programme.
- To analyse appropriate teaching and learning strategies and techniques to meet required outcomes.
- Write learning objectives appropriate to a teaching session.
- Produce session plans that clearly identify what learning will take place.
- Demonstrate the ability to structure learning in such a way that it is likely to foster and maximise students’ interest, participation, enthusiasm and motivation to achieve.
- Utilise external and internal networks and contacts to enhance and broaden the programme delivery to meet the needs of learners.
Fento standards covered in this unit
Reece, I and Walker, S. (2000) Teaching, Training and Learning; a practical guide. 4th Ed. Business Education Publishers.
Reece I & Walker S (2002) Teacher Training and Learning Fourth Edition Business Education Publishers Limited.