Ben R. Atkinson

EDU720 Week 1: Introduction to Developing Flexible Learning Environments

EDU720 Week 1: Introduction to Developing Flexible Learning Environments

In this first week of the second semester of my PGCHE course (EDU720: Developing Flexible Learning Environments), we were asked to consider the second assessment task by way of an introduction to flexible learning environments. The second task will ask to write a series of summary reflections covering the various teaching weeks of this second semester and our own reflections. We will also be tasked with undertaking a second Learning Conversation review with a colleague in our own institution which, along with the CRJ for each week, will be taken into account during the marking and feedback process for the second assessment.

Overall, I feel I engaged well with the tasks required of me this week. The main objective was to review the marking and rubric (Falmouth University, 2018b) for the second assessment and both the brief (Falmouth University, 2018a) and additional information (Falmouth University, 2018c) for the task. I feel I have understood this, as shown by the way in which I have summed up the required task in the introduction to this post. I have to admit that at first, the task seemed very complicated as compared to assessment tasks on the first module of study. On reflection, I think this is more to do with the number of required elements than the actual task we are being asked to complete. As expressed in the additional information, our main focus should initially be on the development of a weekly CRJ (Critical Reflective Journal) which will later form a major part of our final assessment. As the weeks move on, other tasks will come into play such as the Learning Conversation Form which we will need to complete again for this module. I already have an idea in mind for this task and hope to review a colleagues session on the use of Creative Play Lego in the humanities discipline. I believe this could be an interesting session to review and one that will provide lots of opportunities to feedback, not only on my colleagues approach, but to improve my own ideas when it comes to developing interesting and engaging teaching sessions.

The second task this week focused on writing an example summary reflection covering three weeks of study on the first module (EDU710). Completing this task provides an opportunity to consider how we have developed as practitioners through the course of the first semester and also attempt, in a safe environment, to write a reflection in the style that we would need to complete for the second summative assessment in this EDU720 module. I chose to focus on the first three weeks of the course for my summary reflection as I think I gained the most out of these weeks of study. At first, I was quite unsure about how I would adapt to a PGCHE course; the last time I taught at a HE level was several years ago and my experience now is more of supporting academics than of teaching students myself. However, I found that the experience of online learning was very cathartic and the strong emphasis placed on peer reflection and discussion helped a lot. It wasn’t long before I settled down into the course and was able to focus on the task required of me. As I pointed out in my example summary reflection, I found the required set texts from Moon (Moon, 2004) and Scales et al. (Scales, 2011) in the early weeks of the course very useful and the work around reflective practice changed my approach to teaching and learning completely. I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to develop my reflective practice early on in the course and feel that I was able to carry this through the rest of the first module.

Overall, I have found the process of online learning to be a good one. However, I was pleased to note that several of my peers responded to my summary reflection with a similar approach to that which I had outlined. Namely, even though the process of learning is online, I still find myself fitting the various tasks into some kind of schedule as if they were physically taught sessions on a timetable. I think this approach is true of many on this PGCHE course, as the comments on my summary reflection suggest. We are all very busy in our academic roles and without some kind of schedule, would not be able to devote nearly enough time to the coursework of our PGCHE course. Writing the example summary reflection was very useful in this regard and helped me to understand the successes of last semester and how I can take these forward into the next.

Reference List

Falmouth University (2018a) ‘EDU720 : Developing Flexible Learning Environments : Assessment 2 brief : The task overall ’: Falmouth: Falmouth University, pp. 1–10.

Falmouth University (2018b) ‘EDU720 : Developing Flexible Learning Environments : Assessment 2 Grading Rubric.’ Falmouth: Falmouth University.

Falmouth University (2018c) ‘EDU720 Assessment 2 : Reflective Blog : Addressing LOs and ACs extra guidance Demonstrating your achievement of the Assessment 2 : Reflective Blog Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria in your assignment.’ Falmouth: Falmouth University.

Moon, J. A. (2004) A handbook of reflective and experiential learning: theory and practice. London: RoutledgeFalmer. Available at:

Scales, P. (2011) Continuing professional development in the lifelong learning sector. Berkshire, England: Open University Press. Available at:

About The Author

Ben R. Atkinson is a writer, musician, and presenter who can be heard broadcasting on radio stations around the world, is known for his novels, radio dramas, and who writes and performs his own music in the country/folk genre. Ben is currently studying for his PhD in Ethnomusicology at the University of Lincoln in the UK.