Over the course of my first year, I had the responsibility of creating a portfolio about how I was able to progress through my course. This involved me writing reflections on important milestones that happened throughout the year, and to also complete other reflective tasks.
My first task was to write a reflection about my previous equine handling skills. Being the first university assignment task I had been set, I was understandably unsure about what was totally expected of me. Having heard horror stories from my college lecturers about their university assignments, I wanted to ensure that didn’t happen to me. However, that may have been partly because they wanted to ensure that right people applied to university and that they had their eyes wide open. To ensure people succeeded according to McKenzie and Schweitzer (2001). Looking back at this assignment, it is clear that my written work has improved, not only professionally but grammatically as well. This has been aided majorly by the software Grammarly, which was recommended to me during my dyslexia consultation. Since using it, I have found that the number of errors that have been picked up has been significantly reduced. I have since gone back and improved my equine handling reflection as I did not have access to this when I handed the assignment in.
Similarly in biomechanics, when I had to write an assignment on an alligator’s movement, I received formative as well as summative feedback. Such as double justifying the text, as this makes the text look more professional as mentioned by Coggshall, (2012). Therefore, I also went back and updated my previous assignments with this, such as the welfare issue and the equine handling skills.
As part of all assignments, it’s obvious that you need to include references to stop you committing plagiarism. From college, I was able to get a good grasp of how to do this, as they also used the Harvard system. However, even though I was including the correct information, as I used a reference generator, I wasn’t formatting it quite correctly. Having been taught this module, I now understand that when writing the full reference, the journal’s name should be written in italics.
When I was commenting on other people’s portfolios I was able to create a more critical eye on how I wanted my portfolio to be formatted and written. As Topping (1996) states that work quality improves from the use of peer feedback. I wanted to ensure that my portfolio had a constant professional feel, as not everyone had completed their portfolio design; for example, by not updating the widgets or not deleting or updating the default text that appears on the setup. Therefore, I was able to use this to ensure that I was extra vigilant to check for this.
Viewing other people’s comments on my portfolio, gave me a confidence boost, which Chen and Ng (2017) also found. It also ensured that I was able to create an effective portfolio to a high standard that looked professional.
Another task that was required to be completed was the Moodle maths quiz. This consisted of statistical maths questions which will aid me when I start researching and carrying out my dissertation. I had completed a large portion of this whilst at college. However, it was still useful to be able to refresh the information. On the other hand, it was surprising what I already remembered. Even so, I still made sure I had accesses to my lecture notes while completing the quiz to ensure I got the highest grade possible. The use of lecture notes has been shown to be a “qualitative improvements to lectures” and also aids concentration. Concentration is something I struggle with due to being dyslexic. However, I have been able to improve my concentration from the aid of starting to printing off the lecture notes. As according to Wongkietkachorn et al. (2014) and Vellutino et al. (2004) other students have also found this to be the case. Due to this fact, I like to be able to have a hard copy of the lecture notes for note taking and will continue to do so in the future.
Having this condition, I feel it’s my responsibility to make people aware of it because when I complete group work activities, I know my confidence drops. For example, this happened during the journal club and nutrition presentations. I didn’t want to come across less capable than the others and as a result, my confidence levels dropped because of me overly comparing myself to others. This has found to be a common train among dyslexics according to Ridley (2011). However, I know that if I continue like this, it will affect my future studies. Therefore, in the future, I’m going to ensure I carry out positive thinking to reduce the number of times my confidence drops as Eagleson et al. (2016) found out.
Other modules have also been able to benefit from this. For example my group’s nutrition video. As by positive thinking, we were able to feel more confident for the presentation, especially for the questions. This is also stated by Powell and Sommer (2007). When I come to my dissertation presentation in the future I will be able to use this technique. However, due to it being on my own I can present it to my peers for feedback, so I can ensure it’s the highest standard it can be.
Completing this module has set me up well for the future of my degree and career path, especially in learning how to reflect. Gibbs’ reflective cycle helped with this process, as he gives a clear strategy on how to reflect on an experience in a way that was also able to flow as shown by Husebø et al. (2015). As I progress through my degree, I am going to continue to reflect and document the process. This is because I am able to look back on my previous experiences and see how I have developed as a person. It will also enable me to ensure that I am continuing to develop in the right way which is also stated by Falessi et al., (2006). My personal development plan will help me hugely in this. It’s been shown that people who use a personal development plan are more likely to partake in learning activities according to Beausaert et al. (2013). This is important for me, as in the future I am required to complete continual professional development (CPD) by the National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists. Therefore, I am going to continue to use them well into the future to ensure I complete my CDP to achieve any future goals. The same goes for any general writing skills that I need to develop, as this ensures I can continue to meet the higher grade which I determined to achieve. This means, that I will make sure I continue to carry this out in other modules. Apart from the content most written pieces of work are marked the same, because the work is required to be informative as well as look professional. The skills gathered from other modules such as biomechanics, functional anatomy and animal management will be able to be used in the future. For example, how to reference items other than text and general formatting of text (alignment). Therefore I want to continue to improve throughout this process and well into my career.
Beausaert, S., Segers, M., Fouarge, D. and Gijselaers, W. (2013) ‘Effect of using a personal development plan on learning and development’. [online] Journal of Workplace Learning, 25(3) pp.145-158. [Accessed on 29 April 2017] http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/13665621311306538.
Chen, G. and Ng, Y. (2017) ‘Nasty online comments anger you more than me, but nice ones make me as happy as you’. Computers in Human Behavior, 71 pp.181-188.
Coggshall, J. (2012) ‘Toward the Effective Teaching of New College- and Career-Ready Standards: Making Professional Learning Systemic’. National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, pp.1-28.
Eagleson, C., Hayes, S., Mathews, A., Perman, G. and Hirsch, C. (2016) ‘The power of positive thinking: Pathological worry is reduced by thought replacement in Generalized Anxiety Disorder’. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 78 pp.13-18.
Falessi, D., Cantone, G. and Becker, M. (2006) ‘Documenting design decision rationale to improve individual and team design decision making: an experimental evaluation’. [online] International symposium on Empirical software engineering, pp.134-143. [Accessed on 29 April 2017] http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=1159733.1159755.
Husebø, S., O’Regan, S. and Nestel, D. (2015) ‘Reflective Practice and Its Role in Simulation’. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 11(8) pp.368-375.
McKenzie, K. and Schweitzer, R. (2001) ‘Who Succeeds at University? Factors predicting academic performance in first year Australian university students’. [online] Higher Education Research & Development, 20(1) pp.21-33. [Accessed on 28 April 2017] http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07924360120043621.
Ridley, C. (2011) ‘The experiences of nursing students with dyslexia’. [online] Nursing Standard, 25(24) pp.35-41. [Accessed on 29 April 2017] http://journals.rcni.com/doi/abs/10.7748/ns2011.02.25.24.35.c8342.
Topping, K. (1996) ‘The effectiveness of peer tutoring in further and higher education: A typology and review of the literature’. [online] Higher Education, 32(3) pp.321–345. [Accessed on 28 April 2017] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00138870?LI=true.
Vellutino, F., Fletcher, J., Snowling, M. and Scanlon, D. (2004) ‘Specific reading disability (dyslexia): what have we learned in the past four decades?’. [online] Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45(1) pp.2-40. [Accessed on 29 April 2017] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.0021-9630.2003.00305.x/full.
Wongkietkachorn, A., Prakoonsuksapan, J. and Wangsaturaka, D. (2014) ‘What happens when teachers do not give students handouts?’. [online] Medical Teacher, 36(9) pp.789-793. [Accessed on 29 April 2017] http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/0142159X.2014.909921.