There was a small group in attendance and at the outset of the session we looked at the Module Handbook and what people are required to submit for the Module. These requirements are set out on p6-7 therein. The substantive piece that is required is a Professional Inquiry Plan accompanied by a Critical Reflection Portfolio. In addition, there are 3 other important things to submit. These are:
Employer Professional Support
Proposed award title and rationale
We all agreed that there is much to do in this module and in many senses can be viewed as a serious step up from Module 1 in terms of work required.
Clearly, what needs to be focused on is the topic of the inquiry and not everyone present had arrived at this yet. We did an exercise as a stimulant to settling on a topic. Firstly, we considered the Eraut article which has been sent out to everyone doing Module 2. If you have not already read this, please do, as it provides useful context to knowledge in professional practice. A point raised in the article is competency and capability and the distinction between these two. The first, it is suggested, can provide a straightforward yes/no answer. Capability is a quality that has an element of grading about it.
We engaged in a spot of reflective practice and evaluated ourselves in our professional practice. No-one in the room claimed to have professional knowledge at “expert” level, indicating that we all have something to learn. This gap in our knowledge / skills could suggest a topic for inquiry.
We then moved on to mapping out our Professional Knowledge and trying to organize it diagrammatically in a meaningful way. To get things started I drew out a table of Professional Knowledge necessary for a University Lecturer. In doing this we could see that there were certain things a lecturer would need to know, to be able to do which is peculiar to the job as well other more generic skills. These are set out on the table below
Professional Knowledge of a Lecturer
Knowing What: Theories of Learning; Subject knowledge; Pedagogy
Knowing How: Curriculum Design; Setting learning outcomes; Assessment
Hence one way into deciding on a topic could be to attempt the above and ask yourself what in particular do you need to know (Knowing what) to be a professional practitioner in your area. Then, what do you need to be able to do (Knowing how) in order to be part of this profession. Focusing on these two areas and doing a self assessment on capability could suggest a topic. So for instance, in the lecturer’s case, it could be that they feel they could learn and develop greater expertise in say, “Assessment of and for Learning”. Hence, doing a professional inquiry on this would deepen their knowledge. That is what we are hoping you will do in this module.
A few there had some ideas about inquiry topics. One suggested she was interested in “Open Mic’s”. This immediately set off a train of questions – what about them, who participates in them, are they used by talent scouts or as “practice opportunities” for aspiring professionals. One simple question could be the start of a spidergram or mind map of ideas.
One way to hone and shape these questions is to be involved in a Special Interest Group and ask them questions. Getting started as early as possible is recommended on this module – there is much to do.