Over the last month I’ve been participating in the Active Learning Network (ALN) CPD Series. This has consisted in a set of webinars with each one facilitated by a different members of the ALN CPD organising team, and three presenters each week giving a version of the activity from their book chapter in the 100 Ideas for Active Learning book. This has been a fantastic series, and I’ve come away from each of them with lots of ideas. The one that particularly made my heart sing was the session by Jessica Hancock called Haikus for Learning. Although I would not describe myself as a poet, I do participate in the DS106 Daily Create each day, where a not uncommon task is to write a poetic response, and a form I am often drawn to is the haiku – both for its simplicity and elegance, so I was intrigued to see how Jessica was using it in the context of student assessment.
Jessica asked each of us to write a haiku on the subject of assessment. She introduced the activity by giving a clear description of what a haiku was, including links to resources to help us to count how many syllables our writing had and lots of examples. Participants commented afterwards that they had appreciated this detailed guidance and this is definitely something that I will use when I run a similar activity. She then directed us to a Padlet to add our own haiku – and even suggested a first line to help those needing inspiration. Here’s one of mine:
Now write a haiku
you will be assessed on this
Please make each word count
I can see lots of potential for using haikus in HE. As I don’t currently teach or assess groups of students, I have been thinking about how to modify this activity into my practice. Here’s a couple of ways I can think of using it:
- Structured writing sessions – ask each participant to write a haiku at the beginning of the session to describe how they are feeling about getting started, or what they are finding difficult. Ask them to write another one at the end to describe how the session helped (or didn’t help).
- Evaluation of CPD sessions – ask each participant to write a haiku to say what they are taking away from the session, whether positive or negative.
- I’m also pondering how to use these as a method of data collection for research/scholarship projects …
You can see Jessica’s session, and all of the others, in this playlist and below.