Posted by & filed under CMALT cMOOC.

In this section of my CMALT portfolio I discuss my understanding and use of learning technology, including the use of technology to enhance learning and teaching, the development or deployment of technology to support teaching, training or learning.  These are discussed under three main headings – constraints and benefits, technical knowledge, and deployment of learning technologies.


Constraints and Benefits

The benefits of learning technologies seem clear to me as I have used digital technologies and online education resources for my own learning and self-development, namely the use of Twitter, podcasts, Facebook and online education sites or blogs.  Mobile devices and digital technologies mean that educational resources are able to be portable and easily accessible, and learning can be asynchronous, allowing students to learn at a time and pace that is right for them (Nickson & Cadogan, 2014).

I am new to university teaching, so I am still looking at incorporating these better into the delivery of my course.  Currently I have inherited existing content that is PowerPoint based and very static in delivery.  Moving forward I would like to transition to having weekly lecture notes as blog posts online, which would remain an easily accessible, live and dynamic resource that can be read ahead of classroom times.  It would mean that students could revise content as often as they like via a mobile friendly platform.  The benefit of this could be facilitating a ‘flipped classroom’ leaving face-to-face sessions to provide clarification and facilitated peer-group discussion, or other interactive group-based learning (Nickson & Cadogan, 2014).  Redeveloping the content in this way takes time though, and I’m finding it a challenging thing to do with all the other demands of a busy semester.

I am aware that although students are very familiar with mobile devices and social media, but these are often only used in a very limited social context.  I see the challenge as either adapting content to a format that can be share through the platforms that students already use socially or try to get students on board with using digital technology better suited to deliver the content that is to be shared, but which they may not be familiar with.  The benefit of delivering content through popular platforms that students use socially may be that it is easier to transition to an alternative delivery of content, and it may also help them to build professional literacy around technology use.  There is however likely to be a lot of variation in levels of understanding and use of technology amongst my classes of 70-80 students.  There is not a great deal of time available in a single semester to help students develop their use and understanding, in addition to the core course content and assessments.

 

Technical Knowledge

While still working for St John New Zealand, I moved into an education tutor role within the clinical development team in 2014.  I was responsible for delivery of the internal ‘Paramedic’ course to a class of twelve students from all around the Northland, Auckland, and Hauraki/Coromandel regions.  Students would come together for three separate classroom blocks of four days, with around 6 weeks in-between time doing online discussion, assignments, and self-directed learning.  I created a private Facebook group for the class as a way of not only keeping a form of social contact with the group when they were all separated, but also as a way to share relevant content and material to assist their learning and to try to encourage dialogue.

ILS 007
St John ILS 007 Paramedic Course Facebook group – Auckland 2014

 

During this same period I was approached by the Clinical Audit and Research Manager and Research Fellow who were aware of my use of online educational material and wanted me to put together a regular update of educational content to help clinicians whose main role was office based, but wanted to keep up to date with their clinical practice.  Originally the idea was just to send out an email to the national office team with a few links to free open access content.  I chose to do this as a word document with a short description and hyperlinks that was sent as an email attachment.  This was popular amongst the national office group, and the decision was made to produce it in a format that was accessible by the whole organisation nationally.  I kept it as a PDF document, but as well as hyperlinks I added in QR codes to help people to access the material, and this monthly update has been uploaded onto the St John staff website ‘The Hub’ for the past three years.  Because of ease in printing and sharing PDF documents, it has been picked up by a nurse educator in another part of the country who contacted me after a doctor shared one of the documents with her.  I now email copies to her directly which are shared on education boards in her ED and ICU/Acute care units, and have been included in the quarterly “Critical Comment” from the New Zealand Critical Care Nurses College.

 

In an attempt to expand my familiarity around digital learning technology I attend The Teaching Course in Melbourne in 2015.  This was a five day course looking at the use of technology and social media in medical education.  It was facilitated by medical educators active in the use of digital learning technologies and explored the use of Twitter, blogs, podcasts, personal learning networks, and presentation skills.  In my previous role I didn’t have the freedom to incorporate these tools, but now in my new teaching role I have the scope to actively explore the use of these further.

I have spoken a number of times and facilitated workshops on the use of social media and online resources for medical education.  When giving talks, I’ve used Twitter with the conference hashtag to tweet slides from my presentation to emphasis key points.

 

Currently I am helping to develop the social media use of the Paramedicine department to engage students within the programme, but also to engage with colleagues globally.  Currently we are doing this through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  I have also started a WordPress blog as part of the #CMALTcMOOC portfolio, and I want to develop this into a blog I can use for teaching in my courses.

 

Deployment of Learning Technologies

I have also been part of a group called the ‘EMS Wolfpack’ that is active through Twitter and Facebook through the hashtag #EMSwolfpack in forming virtual networks for professional contacts and also as a virtual support network.  We have facilitated panel discussions at Student Paramedic Australasia New Zealand (SPANZ) conference over the past two years, encouraging paramedic students to use social media for professional networking and support.

http://www.podcasts.com/the-howl-72/episode/origins-of-ems-wolfpack

 

I have spoken to paramedic students about the use of social media for educational and professional use, and encouraged them to use Twitter to connect with other health professionals and for their own development.  This has been embraced by more and more paramedic students both at AUT University and Whitireia Polytechnic.  AUT paramedic student Victoria Mulrennan was one of these students who embraced the Twitter and the opportunities it provided, which she talks about in a blog post.

19598562_1682726975090252_7219585391068909858_n
Tales from dasSMACC conference in Berlin – AUT paramedic student Victoria Mulrennan

 

Using social media for the Paramedicine department is also a way to engage students in a positive way to model the use of social media in an appropriate way for professional use, rather than just a purely social context.

I’ve also been actively encouraging use of the Symplur Healthcare Project to register conference hashtags and track the engagement and reach of conferences and events I’ve been involved with.

#FOAMpara

#SPANZ16

#SPANZ17

#AUTpara

#AUTparaRD

 


Nickson, C. P., & Cadogan, M. (2014). Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) for the emergency physician. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 26(1), 76-83. doi:doi:10.1111/1742-6723.12191

Posted by & filed under Backstory, learning, Teaching.

My work is changing in several ways:

Firstly, delivery of our services is increasingly digital: our team is creating suites of online learning resources and digital objects for various purposes, consultations take place online and we are just moving into delivery of workshops online.

Secondly, students are studying in an increasingly digital environment: many learning activities take place through LMS, submitting assignments online, searching for and storing information online, reading (and writing) on a screen, creating digital objects for assessments.

For all the above reasons, it’s been important to develop skills understanding pedagogy in a digital and hybrid spaces, and to develop digital skills both to model process and to develop resources.

Posted by & filed under active learning, active listening, debate, learning design, Socratic dialogue, transparent pedagogy.

Active learning approaches are great for getting new perspectives, sharing ideas, co-creating knowledge and trying out new skills. Many of the recommended techniques for active learning in the classroom focus on encouraging participation and discussion; after all, the seminar model is a familiar one, and verbal contribution is a good way to gauge understanding and to generate a ‘buzz’ in the classroom. Right?

Right, but… (there’s always a ‘but’). As we at UoN continue to explore active pedagogies, and with an eye on inclusion and our upcoming Learning and Teaching Conference, I want to share some conversations I’ve had in the past few weeks that turn a critical eye on classroom discussion models and unpack them from an inclusion perspective.

What is ‘participation’ for, and what does it look like?

The first of these was a conversation with Lee-Ann Sequeira, Academic Developer in the Teaching and Learning Centre at LSE. It was inspired by her session at the recent Radical Pedagogies conference, and also by her thought-provoking blog post examining common perceptions of silent students in the classroom. I won’t repeat the content of that post here (though I definitely recommend reading it), but I wanted to pull out some points from the discussion that followed, which might be of interest if you’re experimenting with active learning approaches.

In some subjects, oral debate is a disciplinary norm, if not an employability requirement: those studying Law, Politics, Philosophy and so on can expect to spend considerable time developing these skills. In these and many other subjects though, debate or discussion is also used to support the learning process, and sometimes as a way to check whether students have prepared for the class. So when asking your students to contribute, it can be helpful to think about what you want to achieve, and how your learning goals should inform the format of that contribution. For example, when one of your goals is to help students develop the skills to effectively present their ideas to an audience, you might need to ensure that every student has an opportunity to do this, but when your goal is to explore and develop an idea from a range of perspectives, is it still necessary that every single student speaks? Aligning the structure of the activity to your goals or learning outcomes can help students understand what’s expected and focus their effort accordingly.

Quality not quantity
As Sequeira’s blog post observes, the literature on active learning focuses a lot on “how to draw [students] out of their shells” (Sequeira 2017). In addition to this, a quick Google search on “active learning” will reveal a myriad of magazine-style opinion pieces on the subject, many of which seem to be in danger of advocating verbal contribution almost for its own sake, and effectively conflating speaking with learning. How then to ensure that when using these approaches, our active classroom doesn’t become hostage to those who talk most, or echo chambers of students that feel they need to be seen to be ‘participating’?
One way to prevent this is by clearly establishing, and then building towards, high standards for individual contributions. When planning your session, think about what you’d like the end result to look like, and what contributions might be needed to get there – always bearing in mind of course that you are just one perspective, so you may not be able to define the ‘finished product’ of co-creation in advance! What you can do though, is think about what a good contribution might look like. Can you provide examples, or talk through this with your students? Then as the discussion unfolds, you can encourage students to think about their own and each others’ comments – do they build on previous comments, do they bring in new evidence, do they advance the understanding in the room?

Thinking fast and slow
Of course, participation is not just verbal – and not just immediate! Active learning should not mean ‘no time to think’. When considering your learning goals, think about fast and slow modes of interaction – is promptness important or does the topic need deliberation and reflection? Silence can be a powerful tool in the classroom if we can resist the urge to fill the space, and giving students time to think before answering can often lead to more developed responses, as well as being more inclusive for those who are less confident, more reflective and/or working in their second or third languages.
Also, as Sequeira points out, participation can be multi-modal – could your students contribute in other formats? And not just to classroom discussions, but also to decision-making processes (choice of topic etc), and to feedback and evaluation opportunities? Thinking about ‘contribution’ more broadly might help to make these processes more inclusive too.

Supporting contribution: ‘productive discomfort’ and ‘brave spaces’
One of the goals of dialogic pedagogies is ‘productive discomfort’ – taking students out of their comfort zone and asking them to examine or defend their views – and being transparent about your pedagogy can also help students to understand this and recognize it in practice. This can be particularly important when working with students who are used to a more transmissive model of education, and are expecting you as the expert to tell them the answers. If your early discussions focus on sharing expectations and you know where your students are coming from, you’ll be able to plan, scaffold and facilitate more effectively.

It can also help to acknowledge that collective exploration of ideas requires both intellectual and emotional labour, particularly as it can be intimidating to voice aloud ideas that are not fully formed. Much of the literature talks about creating ‘safe spaces’, but again this is an idea that merits a more critical inspection, particularly in the context of recent debates about free speech (‘safe’ for whom?). Another approach to this is the idea of ‘brave spaces’, replacing the comfort and lack of risk implicit in ‘safe’ spaces with an explicit acknowledgment of discomfort and challenge (Arao and Clemens 2013). Whichever approach you choose, creating trust will help to ensure students feel able to contribute, and there are a range of ways to do this, including discussion, modelling and constructive feedback. How you answer a ‘stupid’ question, whether or not you ‘cold call’ students, and how you respond to their input will all inform the norms of the learning space.

“The Socratic professor aims for “productive discomfort,” not panic and intimidation. The aim is not to strike fear in the hearts of students so that they come prepared to class; but to strike fear in the hearts of students that they either cannot articulate clearly the values that guide their lives, or that their values and beliefs do not withstand scrutiny.” (Speaking of Teaching, 2003)

Communication is a two way street

These ideas, and Sequeira’s observation about valuing active listening skills, led me on to the second conversation I want to share. Last week I attended a dissemination event for the ‘Learning Through Listening‘ project, led by Zoe Robinson and Christa Appleton at Keele. The project is looking at using global sustainability issues as an accessible context for developing conversations between individuals from different disciplines. This by itself is a laudable goal, as many of the ‘wicked problems’ of sustainable development will certainly need a interdisciplinary approach if we are ever to solve them. More broadly than that though, the project is also looking at developing active listening skills to support these conversations, and at listening as an area that is undervalued in education and in modern life. The event raised a few key questions for me, which I’ve noted below.

Active listening: the missing piece?
When we talk about communication skills with students, what do we prioritise? I work with many staff writing learning outcomes for our taught modules at Northampton, and much of the language we use for communication skills is proactive and performative: describe, explain, present, propose, justify, argue. Perhaps this is inevitable, as we need to make the learning visible in order to assess it, but there’s no doubt that these terms only give half of the picture of what communication actually is. By focusing so much on the telling, on the transmission of information and convincing of other people, are we giving students the impression that listening is less important? Are we encouraging the development of what Robinson described as the “combative mindset” so prevalent in 2018, and thereby inadvertently discouraging the development of curiosity, openness and willingness to learn from others – peers as well as tutors?

To rebalance the discourse around communication, the project at Keele used a number of activities to support the development of listening skills. One idea that really appealed to me was topping and tailing a series of guest speaker sessions – referred to as ‘Grand Challenges‘ – with a workshop before the lecture and a discussion session immediately afterwards. This allowed the students to think about what they already knew about the topic, and prepare to get the most of out of the session, and crucially also to follow up afterwards by sharing and developing some of the ideas it generated. Other interventions were slightly smaller scale, although perhaps easier to implement at a session or module level. Participants at the event last week got to try out some of these, and although I won’t cover them in detail here, the tasters below might give you some ideas for your classroom.

Learning to listen
One activity asked us to think about major influences that had shaped the way we as individuals see the world. We reflected individually on this, then shared what we felt comfortable with. I’ve never been asked to list these explicitly before, and it was interesting to actually see how everyone’s perspective is unique and created from a distinct combination of personal influences. We also talked about the factors that make it difficult for us to listen, covering everything from environment to agency to cognitive load. It was refreshing to realise that sometimes, everyone is bad at listening – and this was demonstrated when one of the session leads read aloud, probably only about a paragraph, and then pointed out that most of us would miss around half of any message we hear! I won’t spoil the final activity, in case you’re planning to go to one of the events, but also because the team at Keele will be releasing guidance on these as outputs from the project this summer. But needless to say it was fascinating – keep an eye on the website and the project blog for more.

Two more things struck me about the day overall. One was the emphasis on setup of the physical space. We spent part of the day seated in a circle, and part in rows facing a screen. This was a deliberate strategy by the project team and the contrast in terms of conversational dynamic was marked. This reinforced my view that we have the right approach with the classrooms at Waterside – it’s really remarkable what a difference movable furniture can make. The other thing I found interesting is that talking about listening made me (and the other participants too) suddenly very conscious of it. Even after the first activity, I found myself monitoring my communication with the other participants. Maybe it only needs one activity or discussion to highlight the issue, to begin to change how participants communicate?

Scaffolding discussion

The final point I want to make is something that was touched on in both of these conversations, and it’s about effective scaffolding. Both classroom and online discussion is usually more productive once the students have ‘warmed up’, got to know each other or developed a bit of confidence. There are lots of ways to approach this. In the event at Keele, for example, we started with a relatively uncontroversial topic – not many people in a university context will disagree that the UN sustainable development goals are a good thing, although they might disagree about how to address them. This can be a good way to introduce dialogic pedagogies, before working towards more heated or controversial topics (see this guidance from the University of Queensland on using controversy in the classroom). At Keele we also started with group discussion before we moved on to the one-to-one. This might be counter to the usual think-pair-share approach to scaffolding, but it did mean we had all spoken, and had some idea of where others in the room were coming from, before moving into more in-depth discussion. There’s also something to be said for reflecting on your question technique – are the questions you ask opening up or shutting down discussion?

These two conversations have given me lots to think about in terms of how we ‘do’ active learning. If you have any thoughts on this from your own experience, as always I’d love to hear them, so please add them as a comment. One last question to end with, thinking back to your last teaching session. Who in the room didn’t contribute, and why might that be?

References:

Arao, B and Clemens, K. (2013) “From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces: A New Way to Frame Dialogue Around Diversity and Social Justice”. In Landreman, L.M. (ed.) The Art of Effective Facilitation: Reflections from Social Justice Educators. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Publishing LLC, pp135-150.

Robinson, Z. and Appleton, C. (2018) Unmaking Single Perspectives (USP): A Listening Project [online]. Available from: https://www.keele.ac.uk/listeningproject/ [Accessed 27 March 2018]

Sequeira, L. (2018) Heresy of the week 2: silence in the classroom is not necessarily a problem. The Education Blog [online]. Available from: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/education/2017/01/19/heresy-of-the-week-2-silence-in-the-classroom-is-no-problem/ [Accessed 27 March 2018]

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Have you ever started using a new app or piece of software and thought “there must be a better way to do this?”, or when posting to social media thought, “if only there was a way to automate this?” Chances are, someone else has thought the same and created a code, applet or “recipe” that helps with this process. This has been the case for me, especially as I explore and learn more about new ways to deliver content. This may be for work-related productivity, or to automate (and filter) feeds information through social media. Some examples of this include:
-IF I add a new event to my iOS Calendar, THEN it is also added to my Google Calendar
-IF I enter within a defined perimeter of work, THEN log this as “Entered Work” on my Calendar. Do the same for when I exit the perimeter as “Exited Work”
-IF I make a new blog post in WordPress, THEN also enter the post into an assigned Google Plus account
-IF I make a new blog post in WordPress, THEN Tweet this post
Benefits
Introducing IFTTT- a free platform that helps you connect apps and devices you use. It is based on the “If This, Then That” principle, in that if an event happens in one device or app then an applet (or Recipe) will automate a process in another app or device. Basically, it cuts your “updating” in half.
Along with work-related apps, there is a multitude of social IFFT applets available.
-IF there is a new Spotify track on a playlist, THEN notify me on my iOS
-IF I connect to my car’s Bluetooth, THEN set my phone’s ringer volume to 100%
-IF I take a photo in a particular location, THEN add it to a specific album
Bottom line, if you ask the question “I wonder if I could automate having to do one thing in one app, that I am already doing in another?”, probability is that someone else has asked the same question and already created an applet (or Recipe) for you.
Constraints
The main constraints to using IFTTT are the number of apps that it “connects” to. That being said, there is such a multitude that you would be hard pressed NOT to find something that meets your needs as these are created by IFTTT, users and app developers themselves. You too can take an applet and customise it to your need as this is a community that aims to share and support the needs. Applets have been created for Google, iOS, Android, Evernote, WordPress, Activity Trackers, voice assistants and even wifi controlled lights and smoke detectors… There’s something for everyone.
Deployment and Support
How to use:
  1. The first thing you need to do is register with IFTTT (www.IFTTT.com). Do this on any mobile device first (as most likely will be linking apps with each other and/ or devices), then later log on with your other internet based devices.
  2. Next search for a “recipe” based on the app that you are wanting to connect. Here we will consider iOS Reminders and Evernote, where I want to be able to save any reminders on my phone to an Evernote to-do list. When I type in “Reminders”, IFTTT narrows down to show me a link to that app, and then Applets that have already been created.
  3. Click on the Applet that best suits- in this case, “Save my iOS reminders to and Evernote checklist.
  4. Some Applets have options to be able to customise the Recipe (i.e be more specific as to what you want it to do- email addresses, folders to attribute to, etc). Click the “Settings” icon on the top right of the Applet to customise
  5. Next, flick the switch to “Turn on”
  6. While you are logged in to IFFT, you will be able to see all the Applets you have in use, view their activity log, customise or delete them.
I have created a tutorial video of the above for those that might find this useful: http://bit.ly/IFTTTReminderEvernote
Those completing their CMALT accreditation might want to consider:

Posted by & filed under SOTEL.

http://Publons.com provides a way to create a personal record of academic peer review and editorial activity – this is useful as this activity is usually largely invisible and un-recognised! Publons also provide direct interaction with your ORCID profile to add review activity to ORCID. There is also a Publons Widget that can be embedded in websites, as below:

PublonsWidget

https://publons.com/author/1391664/widget/embed/?width=640&height=460%20width=640%20height=460

Posted by & filed under CMALT.

This week involves three suggested activities:

  • creating and sharing a Blog post or VODCast discussing the constraints and benefits, technical knowledge, and deployment of learning technologies. Keep it succinct – 500 words blog post or 2-3min VODCast embedded in your blog. You could use: YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Clips (iOS) etc… to create and share the VODCast.
  • Sharing a Digital Literacy mapping exercise. Create your own Visitor/Resident-Social/Professional map (#VandR cc @Daveowhite) of your use of online and social media tools, and share it via the G+ Community, and Twitter with the #cmaltcmooc and #VandR hashtags. You can see some examples from the 2017 participants at            #VandR maps for #CMALTcMOOC        . Reflect on how your map may look different to your students’!
  • Exploring innovative pedagogies through a Google Plus Hangout discussion. See the Tips for Joining YouTube Live Hangouts to join the discussion this week online Thursday morning (due to Easter weekend).

“Operational Issues” is one of four required core elements of your CMALT portfolio. Create a Blog post or VODCast (Video PODCast) discussing the constraints and benefits, technical knowledge, and deployment of learning technologies, particularly within your own teaching context. Explore potential creative solutions to any of these constraints. Share your Blog post or VODCast using Twitter with the #cmaltcmooc hashtag, and link to your example reflection by adding the URL and description to the Project Bank for Week2 https://cmaltcmooc.mosomelt.org/type/2-operational-issues/by selecting “Submit Project” from the Project Bank main menu on our WordPress hub. For example: How might a V&R Map give you insights into the issues surrounding the use of social media in education?

From the CMALT Guidelines:

Core area 1: Operational issues

Candidates should demonstrate both their understanding and use of learning technology. “Use” might include the use of technology to enhance learning and teaching, the development, adoption or deployment of technology to support teaching, training or learning.

This should include evidence of three sub areas:

a) An understanding of the constraints and benefits of different technologies

You should show how you have used (or supported others to use) technology appropriately, given the constraints and benefits it provides within your context. This might include how you selected particular technologies to meet the specific needs of users (students or staff).

Evidence in support of such statements might include a brief commentary on the choices behind the development and use of learning technology that influence its fitness for purpose. (This might discuss issues as affordances of the technology, viability, sustainability, scalability, interoperability and value for money.) You may already have something like this in the form of a design outline, proposal, conference presentation or similar. You should include such existing documentation wherever it seems relevant. Alternatively, you might want to take this opportunity to find out more about a technology you have deployed and produce a report on its viability.

b) Technical knowledge and ability in the use of learning technology

You should show that you have used a range of learning technologies. These might include web pages, Virtual Learning Environments, Computer-Aided Assessment, blogs, wikis, mobile technology, e-books, programming languages and so on.

Guidelines for CMALT candidates and assessors

Evidence might include copies of certificates (originals not needed) from relevant training courses, screenshots of your work, a note from academic or support staff who have worked with you or, if appropriate, confirmation that the work is your own from your line manager.

c) Supporting the deployment of learning technologies

Statements about your involvement in supporting the deployment of learning technology might relate to providing technical and/or pedagogic support to teachers or learners, advising on (or re-designing to take account of) technical and usability issues, developing strategies or policies, managing change, providing training or other forms of professional development, securing or deploying dedicated funding and so on, all within the context of the educational use of learning technology.

For evidence, you might include the overview section of a strategy document, meeting minutes, summaries of student feedback, testimonials or witness statements from other colleagues.

Posted by & filed under career, jobs, Mental Health, psychology, stress, Tips, work, work-related stress.

There are many theories of work stress and general stress theories. I have been trying to get my head around just a few, and so I thought I would share them here for future reference on work stress theory. Perhaps these will help you in your job and career?…or perhaps help you as a leader or manager to support your employees. In any case, please share your top workplace tips for working productively…. I would love to see these theories used to make your workplace a happier one ❣

worked

Transactional theories of work-related stress

The most commonly used transactional theory suggests that stress is the direct product of a transaction between an individual and their environment which may tax their resources and thus threaten their wellbeing (Lazarus 1986, Lazarus and Folkman 1987). Yet a more recent version of this theoretical model suggests that it is the appraisal of this transaction that offers a causal pathway that may better express the nature of the underlying psychological and physiological mechanisms which underpin the overall process and experience of stress (Lazarus et al. 2001).

In this sense, any aspect of the work environment can be perceived as a stressor by the appraising individual. Yet the individual appraisal of demands and capabilities can be influenced by a number of factors, including personality, situational demands, coping skills, pervious experiences, time lapse, and any current stress state already experienced (Prem et al. 2017). One multidisciplinary review provides a broad consensus that stressors really only exert their effects through how an individual perceives and evaluates them (Ganster and Rosen 2013).

As such, the experience of workplace stress according to the transactional theory, is associated with exposure to particular workplace scenarios, and a person’s appraisal of a difficulty in coping. This experience is usually accompanied by attempts to cope with the underlying problem and by changes in psychological functioning, behaviour and function (Aspinwall and Taylor 1997, Guppy and Weatherstone 1997). In order to recognise these external and internal elements of workplace stress, Cox (1993) outlined another modified transactional theory. This theory represented the sources of the stressor, the perceptions of those stressors in relation to his/her ability to cope, the psychological and physiological changes associated with the recognition of stress arising, including perceived ability to cope, the consequences of coping, and all general feedback that occurs during this process.

Yet, as with all transactional theories of work-related stress, it is the concept of appraisal that has been criticised for being too simplistic and for not always considering an individuals’ history, future, goals and identities (Harris, Daniels and Briner 2004). Additionally, in his later works, Lazarus stressed that his transactional theories of stress failed to acknowledge the outcomes associated with coping in specific social contexts and during interpersonal interactions (Lazarus 2006a).

cooperate

Interactional theories of stress

Interactional models emphasise the interaction of the environmental stimulus and the associated individual responses as a foundation of stress (Lazarus and Launier 1978). For instance, the Effort-Reward Imbalance (ERI) theory posits that effort at work is spent as part of a psychological contract, based on the norm of social reciprocity, where effort at work is remunerated with rewards and opportunities (Siegrist 1996). Here, it is the imbalance in this contract that can result in stress or distress. Yet in contrast to transactional theories of stress, this imbalance may not necessarily be subject to any appraisal, as the stressor may be an everyday constant occurrence.

The Person-Environment Fit theory is one of the earliest interactional theories of work-related psychological distress, suggesting that work-related stress arises due to a lack of fit between the individual’s skills, resources and abilities, and the demands of the work environment (Caplan 1987, French, Caplan and Van Harrison 1982). Here, interactions may occur between objective realities and subjective perceptions and between environmental variables and individual variables. In this case, it has been argued that stress can occur when there is a lack of fit between either the degree to which an employee’s attitudes and abilities meet the demands of the job or the extent to which the job environment meets the workers’ needs (French, Rodgers and Cobb 1974).

Yet the Job Demand-Control (JDC) theory supposes that work-related stress can result from the interaction between several psychological job demands relating to workload such as cognitive and emotional demands, interpersonal conflict, job control relating to decision authority (agency to make work-related decisions) and skill discretion (breadth of work-related skills used) (Karasek Jr 1979). The JDC model is concerned with predicting outcomes of psychological strain, and workers who experience high demands paired with low control are more likely to experience work-related psychological distress and strain (Beehr et al. 2001).

However, the original concept of job demand and control was expanded in 1988 to become the Demand Control Support (DCS) theory, describing how social support may also act as a buffer in high demand situations (Johnson and Hall 1988). As social support as a coping mechanism can moderate the negative impacts of job stress, another later version of the JDC theory was developed to suggest that it is those individuals who experience high demands paired with low control and poor support who are most at risk of work-related psychological distress (Van der Doef and Maes 1999). These later versions of the JDC theory were developed, as earlier versions were considered to be too simplistic and ignorant of the moderating effects of social support upon the main variables. However, the perceived job demands and decision autonomy outlined in the JDC theory have been acknowledged as being key factors in determining the effects and outcomes of work on employees’ health (Cox, Griffiths and Rial-González 2000).

Allostatic Load Model of the Stress Process

Early psychological models of stress may be suitable for describing how environmental events generate stressful appraisals for individuals. Yet another theoretical model, devised via a multidisciplinary review of Work Stress and Employee Health identifies the intervening physiological processes that link stress exposure to health outcomes (Ganster and Rosen 2013). This Allostatic load model of the stress process builds on earlier cognitive appraisal models of stress and the work of Seyle (Seyle 1983) to describe the developments of allostasis in the process of stress. Allostasis is the process of adjustment for an individual’s bodily systems that serve to cope with real, illusory, or anticipated challenges to homeostatic (stable) bodily systems. This model proposes that continued overstimulation leads to dysregulation, and then to poor tertiary health outcomes. However, the sequence of this model has proven difficult to validate empirically. Additionally, this research is concerned with the psychological rather than the physical outcomes of work-related stress.

Allostatic Load Model of the Stress Process

Allostatic Load Model of the Stress Process

Another model of work stress has been developed in response to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) advice for tackling work-related stress and stress risk assessments (Cousins* et al. 2004, HSE 2001). This model, developed by Cooper and Palmer underpins the theory and practice advocated by the HSE (Palmer, Cooper and Thomas 2003). This model explores the stress-related ‘hazards’ or sources of stress facing employees in the workplace. The acute symptoms of stress are also set out, and these symptoms relate to the organisation, as well as the individual. The negative outcomes are outlined for both an individual’s physical and mental health, however beyond this, outcomes are presented as financial losses for both the individual and the organisation.

Cooper and Palmer’s model of work stress

Cooper and Palmer_s model of work stress

Another model of work stress developed by Cooper and Marshall sets out the sources of stress at work, factors which determine how an individual may respond to such stressors, go on to experience acute symptoms, and eventually go on to reach the chronic disease phase affecting one’s physical and/or mental health (Cooper and Marshall 1976). This model is concerned with the long-term consequences of work-related stress, as well as the acute symptoms of, sources of, and the individual characteristics associated with work-related stress.

Cooper and Marshall’s model of work-related stress

Cooper and Marshall_s model of work-related stress

The Conservation of Resources (COR) Model

The above models all outline potential stressors or hazards relating to the workplace. Yet work-related stressors cannot always remain separate from general life stressors. Illustrating this, the Conservation of Resources (COR) Model, an integrated model of stress looks to encompass several stress theories relating to work, life and family (Hobfoll 1989). According to this theory, stress occurs when there is a loss, or threat of loss of resources. This is because individuals ultimately seek to obtain and maintain their resources, loosely described by the authors as objects, states, conditions, and other things that people value. Some of these stressors may relate to resources such as one’s home, clothing, self-esteem, relationship status, time and/or finances. In this context, work/relationship conflicts may result in stress, because resources such as time and energy are lost in the process of managing both roles effectively (Hobfoll 2001). This may in turn result in job dissatisfaction and anxiety, although other resources such as self-esteem may moderate such conflicts and stress (Hobfoll 2002). Such a model would be useful in the development of resource-focused interventions which aim to make changes in employees’ resources and subsequent outcomes (Halbesleben et al. 2014).

Understanding the Role of Resources in Conservation of Resources Theory

Basic Tenets of Conservation of Resources Theory

Principle 1 Resource loss is more salient than resource gain.

Principle 2 People must invest resources to gain resources and protect themselves from losing resources or to recover from resource loss.

Corollary 1 Individuals with more resources are better positioned for resource gains. Individuals with fewer resources are more likely to experience resource losses.

Corollary 2 Initial resource losses lead to future resource losses.

Corollary 3 Initial resource gains lead to future resource gains.

Corollary 4 Lack of resources leads to defensive attempts to conserve remaining resources.

(Halbesleben et al. 2014)

A Sample of Psychological Resources

Objects/ Conditions: Job Security Constructive Rewards, Reinforcement Contingencies, Inducements

Constructive: Autonomy, Decision Authority, Skill Discretion, Control Participation in Decision Making Opportunities for Professional Development Resilience

Social Support: (supervisor, coworker, organization, spousal, customer, etc.)

Energies: Time Away from Work, Recovery Experiences

Key: Self-Esteem, Self-Efficacy, Locus of Control, Core Self-Evaluation Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability

Macro: Family-Friendly Workplace Policies

(Halbesleben et al. 2014)

The Revised Transactional Model of Occupational Stress and Coping

One model combines both Lazarus’ transactional theory of stress and coping (Lazarus 1986) and Karasek’s JDC theory (Karasek Jr 1979) is the revised transactional model of occupational stress and coping presented by Goh and colleagues (Goh, Sawang and Oei 2010). This model demonstrates how individuals appraise, cope with and experience occupational stress. This process involves an individual firstly encountering a potential stressor and appraising their experience of it. Subsequently, this model demonstrates how the individual then goes on to a secondary phase of risk appraisal, where coping strategies are initiated in response to the individuals experience of the initial stressor. The model also outlines how immediate outcomes and outcomes after 2 to 4 weeks are involved throughout this process of stress and coping.

In this case, the model demonstrates a direct link between the primary appraisal of the stressor and primary stress outcomes, and also a direct link between the primary and secondary stress outcomes. This process demonstrates how the appraisals of stressful events can significantly impact on an individual’s experience of stress and its associated outcomes. This model also provides support to the effect of emotions on a person’s choice of coping strategy (Ficková 2002). Notably, this model posits that the experience of stress, coping and the development of negative outcomes can occur at different points in the process of occupational stress and coping, and can be triggered by both psychological and behavioural coping factors.

The Revised Transactional Model of Occupational Stress and Coping

This model is my personal favourite as it explains the process and experience of stress and appraisal, along with the outcomes of stress. Here, we can also see how each component relates to one another. These are just a few of the stress models out there. Some can be applied to life, and some to areas of the workplace. Are the two ever really separate?…If you have any more you would like me to add then please let me know. I hope these few give us all something to think about in the field of work-related stress research and practice.

Until next time, take care of yourselves, and each other ❤💜💙

References

Aspinwall, L. G. and Taylor, S. E. (1997) ‘A Stitch in Time: Self-Regulation and Proactive Coping.’. Psychological Bulletin 121 (3), 417

Beehr, T. A., Glaser, K. M., Canali, K. G., and Wallwey, D. A. (2001) ‘Back to Basics: Re-Examination of Demand-Control Theory of Occupational Stress’. Work & Stress 15 (2), 115-130

Caplan, R. D. (1987) ‘Person-Environment Fit Theory and Organizations: Commensurate Dimensions, Time Perspectives, and Mechanisms’. Journal of Vocational Behavior 31 (3), 248-267

Cooper, C. L. and Marshall, J. (1976) ‘Occupational Sources of Stress: A Review of the Literature Relating to Coronary Heart Disease and Mental Ill Health’. Journal of Occupational Psychology 49 (1), 11-28

Cousins*, R., Mackay, C. J., Clarke, S. D., Kelly, C., Kelly, P. J., and McCaig, R. H. (2004) ‘‘Management Standards’ Work-Related Stress in the UK: Practical Development’. Work & Stress 18 (2), 113-136

Cox, T., Griffiths, A., and Rial-González, E. (2000) ‘Research on Work-Related Stress: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities

Cox, T. (1993) Stress Research and Stress Management: Putting Theory to Work.: HSE Books Sudbury

Ficková, E. (2002) ‘Impact of Negative Emotionality on Coping with Stress in Adolescents.’. Studia Psychologica

French, J. R., Caplan, R. D., and Van Harrison, R. (1982) The Mechanisms of Job Stress and Strain.: Chichester [Sussex]; New York: J. Wiley

French, J. R., Rodgers, W., and Cobb, S. (1974) ‘Adjustment as Person-Environment Fit’. Coping and Adaptation, 316-333

Ganster, D. C. and Rosen, C. C. (2013) ‘Work Stress and Employee Health A Multidisciplinary Review’. Journal of Management, 0149206313475815

Goh, Y. W., Sawang, S., and Oei, T. P. (2010) ‘The Revised Transactional Model (RTM) of Occupational Stress and Coping: An Improved Process Approach’. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Organisational Psychology 3, 13-20

Guppy, A. and Weatherstone, L. (1997) ‘Coping Strategies, Dysfunctional Attitudes and Psychological Well-being in White Collar Public Sector Employees’. Work & Stress 11 (1), 58-67

Halbesleben, J. R., Neveu, J., Paustian-Underdahl, S. C., and Westman, M. (2014) ‘Getting to the “COR” Understanding the Role of Resources in Conservation of Resources Theory’. Journal of Management 40 (5), 1334-1364

Harris, C., Daniels, K., and Briner, R. B. (2004) ‘How do Work Stress and Coping Work? Toward a Fundamental Theoretical Reappraisal’. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling 32 (2), 223-234

Hobfoll, S. E. (2002) ‘Social and Psychological Resources and Adaptation.’. Review of General Psychology 6 (4), 307

Hobfoll, S. E. (2001) ‘The Influence of Culture, Community, and the Nested‐self in the Stress Process: Advancing Conservation of Resources Theory’. Applied Psychology 50 (3), 337-421

Hobfoll, S. E. (1989) ‘Conservation of Resources: A New Attempt at Conceptualizing Stress.’. American Psychologist 44 (3), 513

HSE (2001) ‘Tackling Work-Related Stress: A Managers’ Guide to Improving and Maintaining Employee Health and Well-Being’

Johnson, J. V. and Hall, E. M. (1988) ‘Job Strain, Work Place Social Support, and Cardiovascular Disease: A Cross-Sectional Study of a Random Sample of the Swedish Working Population’. American Journal of Public Health 78 (10), 1336-1342

Karasek Jr, R. A. (1979) ‘Job Demands, Job Decision Latitude, and Mental Strain: Implications for Job Redesign’. Administrative Science Quarterly, 285-308

Lazarus, R. S. (2006) ‘Emotions and Interpersonal Relationships: Toward a Person‐centered Conceptualization of Emotions and Coping’. Journal of Personality 74 (1), 9-46

Lazarus, R. S., Cohen-Charash, Y., Payne, R., and Cooper, C. (2001) ‘Discrete Emotions in Organizational Life’. Emotions at Work: Theory, Research and Applications for Management 4584

Lazarus, R. S. and Folkman, S. (1987) ‘Transactional Theory and Research on Emotions and Coping’. European Journal of Personality 1 (3), 141-169

Lazarus, R. S. (1986) ‘Folkman. S.(1984) Stress, Appraisal, and Coping’. New York 1

Lazarus, R. S. and Launier, R. (1978) ‘Stress-Related Transactions between Person and Environment’. in Perspectives in Interactional Psychology. ed. by Anon: Springer, 287-327

Palmer, S., Cooper, C., and Thomas, K. (2003) ‘Revised Model of Organisational Stress for use within Stress Prevention/Management and Wellbeing programmes—Brief Update’. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education 41 (2), 57-58

Prem, R., Ohly, S., Kubicek, B., and Korunka, C. (2017) ‘Thriving on Challenge Stressors? Exploring Time Pressure and Learning Demands as Antecedents of Thriving at Work’. Journal of Organizational Behavior 38 (1), 108-123

Seyle, H. (1983) ‘The Stress Concept: Past, Present and Future’. Cooper, CL, 1-20

Siegrist, J. (1996) ‘Adverse Health Effects of High-Effort/Low-Reward Conditions.’. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 1 (1), 27

Van der Doef, M. and Maes, S. (1999) ‘The Job Demand-Control (-Support) Model and Psychological Well-being: A Review of 20 Years of Empirical Research’. Work & Stress 13 (2), 87-114

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It’s been nearly two months now since Bambuser disappeared from my phone, my teaching, my digital world…and I think I’m almost ready to talk about it.

Capture.PNG

Bambuser home page: https://bambuser.com/  Accessed 20 March, 2018

While the Bambuser team in the photo look pretty happy, I’m not. To those of you unfamiliar with this App, Bambuser offered a free, live broadcasting service; easy to use, easy for students to access, no need for them to sign up to anything- just click on the link seamlessly generated from my live mobile recording.

I used this App for all manner of things.

Every Monday I give my online students a quick “hello!” just to keep connected and share with them the topics being covered that week or anything of interest in the world of ethics.

As part of their assessment prep I’d use Bambuser to create a series of short broadcasts that they could watch live or later (the App automatically recorded each broadcast) and these always got a good number of views and positive feedback.

WP Bambuser capture

Bambuser was perfect. OK, there are video alternatives and some other live broadcast options but none are so easy or agile as Bambuser. 

I’m trying to tell myself that there is an upside. I guess I have a new opportunity to find a replacement, to test things out, to connect with others to seek Apps I’m unaware of. Plus, of course there’s that opportunity for reflection- to reflect on the transient nature of the digital tools we use and how this keeps us learning, keeps us nimble.

I have also been reflecting on all the years of lost broadcasts, many I would never view again but others I had been using again and again in my teaching resources. I guess I was in denial at first, ignoring their kind notifications that after it’s terminal date of 2 January 2018 all data would be lost unless saved elsewhere…

But again- was losing everything really all bad? The digital world allows us to be compulsive hoarders and with a few extra dollars comes increased hoarding capacity with any number of willing cloud-based systems offering almost unlimited space. Perfect for people like me who can never quite find time to tidy the piles of junk on my desk and all round my office, let alone tidy anything online. Having an enforced de-clutter has to be a good thing – I think?

So while the feelings are still raw, I’m trying to move on.

Bambuser. Gone but certainly not forgotten.

“Some sunny day-hay baby
When everything seems okay, baby
You’ll wake up and find out you’re alone
Cause I’ll be gone
Gone, gone, gone really gone”

Songwriters: Donald Everly / Donald I Everly / Phil Everly Gone Gone Gone lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

 

 

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Transferable skills are a core set of skills and abilities which can be applied to a wide range of different jobs and industries, and throughout life.