Teacher for Learning

Syllabus Concept Map – HLTH 326

I’m working on the Teacher for Learning Activities at Ontario Extend and have just encountered the Syllabus Concept Map activity.  Inspired by Greg Rodrigo’s map (found at Rocket Fuelled Squirrels on an Adventure), I decided to give it a try using HLTH 326 – Information Systems and Technology, a course I developed for Fleming College.  The course covers both IT and IS, but is also a repository for a variety of other topics which didn’t fit anywhere else in the Health Information Management Program.   This means that topics such as Workflow Analysis are found in the syllabus.   As you’ll see from the concept map, this course covers a lot of ground.

I often advocate the use of mind maps and similar approaches to my students as a way to make notes and encourage recall.  For the Extend Activity, I decided not to use Mind Map Pro which I have at home and try out a tool that may be of use to my students.  I tried out Bubbl.us which is a free (up to 3) web-based mind-mapping tool.  It was very easy to use and I’ll be adding that to my list of tool recommendations for my students.



The results of creating the concept map only confirm my thoughts.  That there is way too much to cover in this course.  I’d previously identified that some of the topics that could be shifted to other parts of the HIM program and work on that was initiated.  The concept map makes me realize I need to look at it again and see where else balancing can be done.


Teacher for Learning


Working through the Extend Teacher for Learning Module, the activity Misunderstood resonated with me.  It seems that there are one or two concepts which persist as issues year after year.  Even when explained once, they are often immediately confused.  One of the concepts my students tend to have a lot of trouble with is Goals vs. Objectives.   I can explain it one week and the next, there is confusion again.

After a few years of showing a slide with text that explained the difference and having no success in having it stick in student memories, I went to a new graphical format.

Ahhhh!  That seemed to do the trick!  Make it visual, make it a story.  Then students will remember.

My new approach shows Frodo setting off to drop the One Ring into Mount Doom.  The mount has a goal post and shows the ring dropping in – reaching a goal.  The goal is something that is further off and defines the direction that they must go in.   The objectives are a series of measurable steps that must be taken to achieve the goal.  So in my new description, Frodo and Sam have to complete a number of objectives before they can get to the goal.  These objectives show tangible things they need to obtain or do.  Obtain food for the trip, sharpen Sting, walk the first leg of the journey to Rivendell.  These objectives need to be accomplished before they can get to the goal

Extend Activity - Misunderstood

My learning from this is that when students seem to be stumbling with learning a concept or coming back repeatedly to ask for clarification, it means that the story needs to change.  Misunderstood concepts need to have a new perspective that’s relatable in order to achieve that “Oh!  I get it now!” moment.


I’m an Extender!


Today I joined the ranks of previous Extenders to take part in the latest cohort of Ontario Extend.  As part of Extend East, I’ll have the opportunity to explore new practices in online and technology-based learning.   This fits right in with the work I’m doing developing and leading online courses.   It will enable me to expand my teaching practices, try new things, and become part of a growing community of educators who are exploring the intersection of education and technology.

Meeting this fantastic group of people as we prepared for and participated in the kick-off activities today has given me a boost of enthusiasm.  There are so many creative minds out there.  I’m looking forward to sharing with everyone!

I’ll be documenting my activities here as I progress through the modules, take part in the daily Extend and the Activity bank.