Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Virtual role play in midwifery education

As I have mentioned before, I am off to the ASCILITE conference in Singapore on Saturday. One of the workshops I have registered for is about using role play in education. People who know me will attest to the fact that I am a real drama queen so this form of learning/teaching really appeals to me.

I have used it in class for getting ideas across for example, asking students to act out a scenario about a midwife giving information to a woman in a way that facilitates informed choice. I have always found it to be a fun class activity, although I know it does not appeal to all students. But virtual role play is something very new to me.

The first thing of note is that the workshop facilitators are using BlackBoard as a platform for this. I am finding this quite a challenge because there is heaps of information and it has taken me some time to work out where it all is and where it fits. I would love to try out SecondLife for this sort of activity - I bet it works really well.

The second thing that has struck me is how much preparation and thought has to be carried out by the facilitators behind the scenes. I would imagine that if you do not put enough thought and preparation into an activity like this, it will be a real disaster. Yet at the same time, if you overload students they will not engage with it.

Anyway, the scenario I am involved in is one about plagiarism and the development of a policy in a university. There is concern that it is on the rise, especially amongst foreign students. I am the rep for foreign students and I have to defend their position and make sure the new plagiarism policy does not discriminate against them. I am just getting my head around this so will let you know how I get on.

I would love to hear from anyone who uses role play, virtual or otherwise in their teaching. What have you found to be the advantages and/or disadvantages? Do you have tips about it from the facilitators point of view? How have you used SecondLife for role play? How have you incorporated assessment in role play? If you are a student, what have your experiences been?


Sandra said...

Hi Sarah - have used online role play with the undergraduate nutrition course and used Discussion Board as the platform. The reason being was that it allowed students to come and go as they like, have time to think about what they want to say, how to respond etc. The problem is that the flow of conversation gets lost in an asynchronous medium and in particular the discussion forum in Blackboard isn't particularly easy to follow. Have developed an online role play for postgraduate nutrition students using blogs, wikis and discussion board - see for more detail. Have fun!

Sarah Stewart said...

You have upheld what I was thinking about doing role play in BlackBoard - I am finding it quite difficult to follow and BB has collapsed on me several times. I'll have a look at your blog and wiki - thats sounds a lot more user-friendly than BB.