CMALT Writing Group – Reflections

CMALT is a portfolio-based peer-reviewed accreditation, organised by the Association for Learning Technology, for which the University of York is an organisational member. CMALT aims to foster an appreciation of the interplay between learning and technology as well as provide a platform to allow educators and those involved in supporting education to learn from each other.

Colleagues have undertaken writing a CMALT portfolio to:

  • Allow them to reflect on their practice.
  • Allocate time to learning about a new aspect of technology-enhanced learning.
  • Build up evidence of professional development for other accreditation such as FHEA and AFHEA (see the mapping of CMALT to the UKPSF)

Jonathan Ayto from the Department of Health Sciences has shared his thoughts on the process of building his CMALT portfolio as part of the second cohort of the collaborative CMALT writing group overseen by the E-Learning Development Team.

You can view Jonathan’s final CMALT Portfolio online on Google Sites.

Background

I have supported students in the Department of Health Sciences for over ten years and throughout this time, I developed a keen interest in the ways that technology can benefit their learning and the student experience. For the last three years I have worked with an e-portfolio system called PebblePad which is used by student nurses and midwives to document their learning whilst working in practice placement areas. Their work is assessed and verified by external healthcare professionals so I also help to support the mentors to use the system. I produce online guidance incorporating text and videos and deliver training sessions on how to use PebblePad.

Approaching CMALT

I was informed about CMALT by colleagues who also work with learning technology.  I felt that completing the accreditation portfolio would provide me with a good opportunity to reflect on my work over the past three years and collaborate further with peers working in the same field. I think PebblePad has lots of untapped potential and I was interested to see if the process would help me consider further options for its use in the Department.  I also liked that the scheme was flexible, welcoming candidates from different backgrounds including both academic staff and support staff (like myself)!

CMALT Writing Group Experience

The E-Learning Development Team were very supportive throughout the portfolio writing process. Regular peer group meetings were scheduled throughout the year, which focused on each of the key sections of the portfolio. This approach was very helpful as it divided the task of writing the portfolio into smaller, manageable parts and allowed for discussion and feedback after each section was complete.  

The process of writing my CMALT portfolio enabled me to learn about the theories and policies that inform the development of e-learning including the York pedagogy.  The process highlighted that the most successful implementation of PebblePad as a learning technology is through my collaboration with academic staff and students to inform and inspire possible developments. I welcomed the chance to reflect upon my experiences so far and I hope to continue to discover and explore how technology can aid learning. The ALT email network and newsletter provides lots of useful information and interesting discussions allowing me to keep up to date with developments within learning technology.

It is also nice to have my work formally recognised by peers within the field of learning technology. An increasing number of learning technology jobs have asked for CMALT within their person specification so I am pleased that I can add this to my CV.

Next Steps

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