Higher Education Academy Seminar Series, Enhancing Employability Skills 17 March 2010. Employer Engagement and Development of Skills for Employability. Preparing for technology-enhanced practice Learner perceptions of skills development within the OU Social work degree PART 2.
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Higher Education Academy Seminar Series, Enhancing Employability Skills17 March 2010
Employer Engagement and Development of Skills for Employability
Prof. Mary Thorpe (IET)
Ingrid Nix, Lecturer Learning and Teaching Technologies (FHSC)
Choices, critical moments, skilled e-communicators, personalising tools/environments, institutional factors
ICT & learning effectiveness, relationship between study and work context, change in own use of technology, course specific issues
I enjoyed doing the reports, formatting the reports…because I didn’t know half of what my computer could do at the time…Bearing in mind, I got my laptop for Christmas, and there was just Vista on it. Nothing else, and I didn’t know what I was doing, and over the length of the course I’ve put all sorts on to it…I know where all my formatting stuff is. I can put colours on it. I can put borders. I can change my text…I can put photographs on…
I do nearly everything online now. I do all my shopping, all my xmas shopping online…I love it now…I’m lost if I’ve not got my laptop…It’s another research tool…Sometimes it’s instead of reading my book. I can get it up on the screen.
Interviewer: Have you used anything you’ve learned on the course in your work?
Yes I’ve done all the plans at work using Client Care. I’ve updated them to time, all with my ICT knowledge…
Interviewer: By doing the course you’ve got better at databases?
I’m much more confident, yeah…I was really impressed with the database…I keep my referencing on the database now…then I can copy and paste it…so I’ve gained in confidence that way. I’m not afraid to try things you know…and adapt them to what’ll help me.
Interviewer: What about the information literacy – searching for things?
Anna: I’ve started to do more research…and using the OU Library online…I use ROUTES a lot more
Now I’m at the age where you told your children not to talk to anybody that you couldn’t see…and there was me being encouraged to go on a chatroom and it just went against the grain really. But it was a compulsory part of the course…So I had to make some sort of contribution, but I was never the first, I would answer people, but I was never the first to make a point…
and it was only when it got to one of the tasks…something like…devise an appraisal form…before the next tutorial and I thought how the heck and I going to do this….So I watched for everybody else’s…skipped to the ICT session and it wasn’t bad actually and I was quite pleased with myself. It wasn’t the best but…I’d done it from scratch and that’s what mattered to me.
Urm and then I got to quite like the forums and I started taking part a bit more, because she gave us all a roasting at one tutorial, ..you had no choice, this was compulsory, so will you please all take part…I thought oh no I’m not going to get away with this, so I started to take part and then I found that when I needed a break in my studies I would go on the forum and I’d say hello, how is everybody doing, and bla bla
And then my sister in Scotland said to me why don’t you put a Facebook together…so I can talk to you on that. And it grew from there really and then my children said to me, mother you could do with a Bebo…and I found I’d study for about half an hour and then maybe send a few messages on Facebook or Bebo for 5 or 10 minutes…because you can’t carry on studying all the time
Yes definitely. And I’m looking forward to doing more of it next year…I wouldn’t have thought it could have been so useful…It’s been very very beneficial to me. I’m 50 now and this should have been out when I was a kid, you know. I’d have loved it…I’ve even got my own Facebook and Bebo.
Interviewer: and finally just to sum it all up. Has the course affected the way you use technology?
Oh it’s opened doors for me Rob…it really has opened doors. I’m still finding things that I might have been frightened of – no I didn’t have the confidence to open things up. ..in fact last Saturday I was talking to one of the tutors on the 303 course that I’ve started and he was saying that he’s researching other search engines rather than Google. And I’m really interested. I can’t see myself stopping now. It’s opened another door. I love it
I just want the qualification; in all fairness if the ICT wasn’t included I don’t think it would be a massive loss to me. I understand why it has to be done, as there are a lot of people out there who aren’t computer literate, but for me it is just an exercise I do to complete the course.
…Interviewer: Did you go through the assessed bits?
No no, I go through each ICT session because I don’t want to miss bits. ..It hasn’t really taught me anything I didn’t already know but it’s always good to have it double confirmed and rubberstamped…
Interviewer: Did you do much searching for information online before you took the course?
Yes I am a big researcher, because I know there’s a theory that backs everything up…It doesn’t necessarily mean that I quote the theory but I like to have that background, underneath it.
Interviewer: Did you learn anything from doing the information searching exercises on the course ?
Well I was working in a different context and I think you always learn something when you work in a different context.
Interviewer: Did you use any of your skills from work to do the exercises?
Yes absolutely…I probably took some stuff from work to be able to do it and I took some stuff from the exercise in order to develop myself in work.
I think I’ve taken a lot from the ICT – much more than I expected to…I kind of had a lot of confidence in my ability as a computer literate person. What it did make me realise was I perhaps got a bit complacent…I’ve realised that the capability of a spreadsheet is way beyond where I was…(Carol, Social Work)
To be honest I felt it was a bit of a waste of time. Cause if you already know how to do something one way it shouldn’t matter which way you learn how to do it as long as you can do it…I mean time is precious you know. Working and studying at the same time and to have to learn to do something again a whole different way just seems like time wasted to me…
Some of the more difficult stuff …I hadn’t done before. It’s been really good to sort of have the step by step procedures to work through…like the spreadsheets. Whereas before I just sort of used them for putting data on, I didn’t know how to get them to add up and to make the graphs….
I have been asked to do a presentation next month. So I’m going to have to try and get to grips with Powerpoint. So I think I’ve got more confidence actually to have a go at doing that without sort of asking for help first…I’m hoping that with the skills I’ve learnt this year I’ll be able to work it out and be able to know sort of where to go in the help menus and that to be able to find out.
It [course ICT activities] gives me an opportunity to sit down and sort of work out where I am up to with it really instead of perhaps working through things at work. Doing the exercises has given me a chance to learn brand new things and get a bit better at them. So I feel a bit more confident and able to use those things that I’ve mentioned.
(Brian Social Work)
I work as a Community Support Worker for a project that
provides housing related support to people with mental
health problems. Although employed by a Housing Association, we provide social care and support to vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals.
I quite like it. It’s good because it breaks the learning up a little bit and makes it a bit more practical in a way in terms of producing a presentation or providing
a report. So it’s good in that sense that it is
not constant reading and writing essays, there’s another aspect to the course as well. It also helps because I have been able to get people’s ideas when we are outside of our tutorials on the online discussions as well, so that is kind of an added bit of contact that I have gained from as well. (BrianSocial Work)
I suppose I’m positive about it just because I…quite enjoy using computers and technology and things. And I know that it does make life easier if I know how to use it well and get the most out of it…so yeah I mean it will hopefully save time with work and make me more effective…
Interviewer: so you think the ICT elements of the course have sort of benefitted your work practice then?
Student: yeah, yeah…I can incorporate some of the things I’ve learnt and making sure that I you know, use them regularly…it’s good from my point of view that it’s incorporated as part of the module as you go along…you can see its relevance and use in different aspects of the work as you go. (Brian, Social Work)
…I met up with my colleagues after the exam…and it was quite interesting to see how many of us pulled out all these mind maps that we’d done on the computer…previously we would never have done that so we’d all learnt that from the course…that was what was so strange that, you know, we were all working on exactly the same wave length but none of us had discussed it beforehand.
It meant I could get everything onto one page and if I thought of something else it’s easy enough to move one of your boxes…if you’ve written it and you’ve got no space left, you have to start all over again. Where with the computer you can always just make it smaller, fit more into it and you can highlight it in different colours and then you can change it. So if you decide something isn’t important or you made a mistake you can get rid of the whole box…and it didn’t take that much time…once you got into it. It had the same sort of spontaneity of doing a mind map as it was done doing it by hand…It was something that I hadn’t really used before.(Brenda SocialWork)