Activity 1: Baseline Ice Breaker Activity

Download this activity as PDF

Purpose

Activity 1 is a Baseline Ice Breaker activity.

The purpose of this activity is (i) to create a shared understanding among the group members of the key concepts pertaining to constructive alignment as well as (ii) to reflect on how these concepts are valuable when internationalising the curriculum. This interactive activity engages the participants at the start of the module as well as breaking the ice.

At the end of this activity, participants should be able to describe the key concepts of constructive alignment and explain the role of intended learning outcomes in the curriculum design process. Furthermore, participants should be able to translate the generic design principles to the internationalising course and curriculum design. This activity contributes to the achievement of the first learning outcome of this module, LO1: To critically reflect upon and appraise the role of IILOs for graduate attributes within disciplines, institutional and other relevant contexts.

The activity draws upon the components of constructive alignment (Biggs and Tang, 2011), a concept which is highlighted in the module’s thematic text.

Procedure

Please refer to slides 8-14 of the PowerPoint presentation of this module.

The activity is divided into 3 parts: A, B and C.

a) Instructions

Time: 10 minutes

  • Refer back to the module’s thematic text in which the concept of constructive alignment is highlighted. Activity 1 is an elaboration of a simple constructive alignment model. Ask one of the participants to explain the concept of constructive alignment (slide 10). If you feel the concept needs to be explained, you can show a video (slide 11). Ask all participants if (and how) they use the concept in their daily practice.
  • Divide the participants into groups (minimum of 3 participants per group is advised). The groups preferably consist of participants who do not know each other yet (when the module is run as a stand-alone module) and who have different backgrounds and/or years of experience. Ask the participants to wait with moving into their groups until all instructions have been provided. As the activities in this module strongly build on each other, we advise that participants remain in the same group throughout the module.
  • Explain to the groups that they will have 15-20 minutes to work out a solution to the puzzle, using the pieces of the elaborate constructive alignment framework. It is very important to mention that there is not one correct solution. The idea of this activity is to familiarise the participants with the different concepts in constructive alignment and to start a dialogue about course design among the participants.
  • Encourage participants to start thinking how the different pieces of the puzzle might be influenced by, or might have an influence on, internationalisation of the curriculum.
  • Check with the participants whether they have understood the instructions.

b) Puzzle

Time: 15-20 minutes

  • Allocate each group to a working station, which includes pens, sticky notes and the puzzle pieces and one flipchart.
  • Explain the materials. The puzzle pieces consist of cards with the main elements mentioned in the boxes (e.g. aligned assessment, individual students) and cards with linking verbs that connect the boxes (e.g. are guided by, supported by). The two types of cards are colour-coded to distinguish them from each other. Several elements of the puzzle will already be fixed on the flipchart on the workstations to provide the participants with a starting point. The puzzle participants work towards is a framework for curriculum design process proposed by Hattie (2009):

The elements fixed for a beginner to intermediate level group are: intended learning outcomes; predefined by; learning; construct through; tested by; aligned assessment; and emergent learning outcomes.

The pens and sticky notes allow the participants to add elements or arrows to the puzzle if they think this is necessary.

Tips and tricks for the facilitator

  • As a facilitator monitor the activity by walking around and helping groups on their way when necessary. This is crucial since some groups might struggle to get started with the activity. When walking around, emphasize that there is no one solution and that not all puzzle pieces need to be used if participants feel they are redundant.
  • If you print the Activity 1 Worksheet Puzzel yourself, be sure to distinguish, either by colour or shape, the two types of pieces (pieces that hold the elements mentioned in the boxes and pieces with the linking verbs that connect the boxes).

c) Debriefing in the large group

Time: 20 minutes

  • Ask the participants to walk around and look at the puzzles of the other groups.
  • Ask the groups to verbalise their puzzle and the “lessons learned”, to each other during a plenary discussion.
  • Ask the groups to focus their attention to the powerpoint. Show the framework of Hattie (2009) (powerpoint slide 11) and distribute the printed framework to every participant Activity 3 Worksheet Hattie Framework. Make sure to mention that this is only one possible solution. Ask the groups to compare the framework with their own puzzle in front of them and to interpret Hattie’s framework in the context of internationalising the curriculum.
  • Working with the entire group again, ask the participants to share the insights they have gained from the activity in relation to designing international curricula. As a facilitator, you might fill in the gaps (e.g. the emergent learning outcomes might emerge from the diverse group of students interacting with each other or might be due to a lack of prior knowledge / experience).
  • Mention that the framework will be referred to throughout the module.
  • The output of this activity can also be stored on a Padlet. This will make it easier to recall the output of the group.

 Resources needed

  1. Activity 1 Worksheet Puzzle: 1 set per group. The puzzles pieces consist of cards with the elements mentioned in the boxes (e.g. aligned assessment, individual students) and cards with the linking verbs that connect the boxes (e.g. are guided by, supported by). The two types of cards need to be either different shapes or colour-coded to distinguish them from each other
  2. Activity 1 Worksheet Hattie Framework: 1 for every participants
  3. Sticky notes
  4. Pens
  5. Markers
  6. 1 Flipchart sheet per group

Timeframe

45 minutes (please see the specific time needed for each part of the activity explained in the procedure above).

Room / space needed

Room needs to allow for workstations (one for each group)

Participant number

Min 2 Groups of 3; Max 5 Groups of 5

Possible variations

As mentioned, the elements fixed on the flipchart for a beginner to intermediate level group are: intended learning outcomes; predefined by; learning; construct; through; tested by; aligned assessment; and emergent learning outcomes.

If the group of participants consists of EDs who are highly experienced with course design, consider fixing fewer elements beforehand. If the group of participants consists of very novice EDs, consider fixing more elements beforehand.

References

Biggs, J. (1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher education, 32(3), 347-364.

Hattie, J. (2009). The Black Box of Tertiary Assessment: An Impending Revolution. In L. H. Meyer, S. Davidson, H. Anderson, R. Fletcher, P.M. Johnston, & M. Rees (Eds.), Tertiary Assessment & Higher Education Student Outcomes: Policy, Practice & Research (pp.259-275). Wellington, New Zealand: Ako Aotearoa.