Your Personal Learning Environment

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By Dr. Jodi Sandfort, Associate Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

I’m spending some time this week preparing for my visit to Kenya where I will be providing three days of training for scholars working at 12 African Universities that are launching a collaborative Master’s in Research and Public Policy.

In the training, I’m really emphasizing with the experts are discussing is the disruption in higher education today.  There are new forms of course delivery (MOOCs), new teaching methods (flipped classrooms), and new learning models (competencies and learning analytics).  There are new demands from our students.  In this type of environment, we all have to practice our craft with new tools.

So the public affairs community has responded with the creation of Hubert and more of us are using multimedia learning materials in our classroom (traditional face-to-face, hybrid courses, and fully on-line).  But we also must do more.

Educational technologists are writing about our own development and assessment of personal learning environments.  I’ve spend some time cataloging how I receive information each day (streams through apps like NYTimes online, Feedly, Alltop), how I collaborate (using Google apps at my school, Twitter), how I collect information, and how I create & share new things (harvesting open access images for talks, sharing my slides through SlideShare, Vimeo).

Through this assessment, I’ve realized where I’m strong (I really get how the google suite works) and where I’m weak (I have not really internalized Twitter).  This has, in turn, given me motivation to learn more about the part of my environment that is weak and to invest a little bit of time this summer in enhancing my skills.

Feel free to share your thoughts about your own learning environment in the comments so we can help assure that public affairs schools thrive in the new higher education context.

Photo Credit: PLE as a subset of PLN, Joyce Seitzinger, Flickr

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