Remembering My Hat

30th September 2009

Visions for K319

The K319 course team met this morning. Each course team member had been asked to prepare a 10 minute presentation about their vision for the course.

(K319 is going to be a third level 60 point course, covering both health and social care and with a particular, but not exclusive, focus on older people. Its holding title is ‘Health and Social Care with Adults’ but that is unlikely to remain its title)

N.B. Disclaimer: what follows is in no way a statement from the course team – it’s just my personal vision.

I decided, rather than doing the now traditional PowerPoint presentation, to illustrate my ideas with items from my children’s toy basket:

K319 props

(Somewhat noteform, for speed of posting)

Coming from working intensively on K101, another broad general course (although that covers the whole lifespan), what will be different about K319? Because it’s third level, I would like to see a more explicit foregrounding of  the research evidence base for practice. I would like us to hone students’ skills in assessing research evidence. I want to help equip them with a sophisticated understanding of the evidence-based practice movement, in order to enable them to critique it as well as use evidence in their practice. I’d like evaluating and thinking critically about research evidence to be a visible thread throughout the course, like the stripes in the Guatemalan purse (middle left)

I’d previously suggested that we should try to come up with a question that the course is answering (not necessarily a student-facing question, but one that will help us work out what we need to cover). My suggestion is:

  • How do we know how to improve care for adults?

Since you need to know what’s going on now before you can know how to improve things, this might mean our (?)two Readers fall into:

  1. what’s going on at the moment in adult care?
  2. how might it be improved?

(Students dot about between the two Readers, directed by the Activities)

This might contribute toward my vision for the Readers, which is that I want them to be:

  • exciting, cutting edge and coherent as books in their own right
  • extremely well written – clearly expressed but sophisticated ideas
  • contributors to include some big names
  • but also some newer scholars who write well
  • attractive and reasonably comprehensive, just like The Baby’s Catalogue

I want the course to make good use of new technologies. Ideally we’d find something quite exciting and shiny, that allows us to do something really good pedagogically that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. (My illustration for this (plastic thing, middle, 3rd from left) would have worked much better had the batteries not run out. How apt as a lesson in the perils of technophilia).

As a pedagogic strategy, K101 has left me a big fan of the detailed examination of particular issues (the magnifying glass), especially through case studies. I think these work really well to involve students and to move them from the particular to the general.

But it’s very important that these build up systematically to the bigger thematic issues, creating a tower of knowledge and skills (building blocks), but not an ivory tower

Three specific topics I’d personally like to see covered (not necessarily as detailed case studies, although obviously I’d favour that):

  1. Domestic violence – symbolised here by that notorious perpetrator of domestic violence Mr Punch (Mr Punch attacks Rag Doll).
  2. LGBT issues in care (Rainbow flag)
  3. Older people portrayed as complex, rounded, varied individuals, not as stereotypical sweet old ladies or dirty old men, and including as sexual beings (This Mr Punch dates from at least the 1940s. He kisses the rag doll)

I want the course to avoid the various monsters (Purple Cthulhic glove puppet) lying in wait for course teams. Particularly the one that is preying most on my mind at the moment – understaffing.

I want the course to end up:

  • Improving the lives of adult services users
  • Making a major impact on the field of adult care
  • Placing the OU back as a major player in gerontology

If we achieve all this, it will be cause for celebration (cake hat)

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