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Broadening Professional Boundaries

Pedagogical challenge

On a programme for experienced professionals without a university degree, in one course, Broadening Professional Boundaries, learners are required to choose another country where they will try to make a comparison with, for example a community educator may compare their field and practice with someone fulfilling similar functions or role in Finland. In the course, we attempt to broaden the learners’ professional boundaries in terms of both geography and technology.

Timeframe: semester-long

Benefit for teacher/learner (pedagogical approach)

By making contact with a professional in another country via social networks there are different benefits. First, it may introduce the learner to the possibilities of social networks for creating or widening their professional links and for their professional learning. A second benefit is that it is a straightforward way to identify many practitioners in a relevant field in another country. Third, it is a low risk way to introduce digital skills into the programme. Finally, the learners are required to write blog posts in the university virtual learning environment (Blackboard), thus providing an introduction to blogging.

Goal/Expected Outcome (content)

Participation by all learners in social network sites.

Tools used:

  • Social networking tools (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIN)
  • Blogging tools (Blackboard student blog)


  • Learner creates a Twitter account (if they don’t already have one) in order to follow and/or direct message other Twitter users.
  • Learners post blogs on each step of the process from identifying an area of practice to compare, to making contact with a practitioner abroad, reflecting on the similarities and the differences between their professional context and that of their contact.

Technical issues:

Learners have to be open-minded about learning to use social networks and about blogging their reflections. The virtual learning environment blogging tool needs to be easy to use and private with just the other learners on the course and the tutor being able to access the blogs.

Role of the teacher + role of the learner

Teacher – providing enough, but not too much, support.
Learner – actively commenting on other learners’ blog posts in a constructive and supportive manner.

Pedagogical added value

  • Enhanced digital skills
  • New contacts made
  • Reflective practice embedded in a new way which can also be used to share professional practice/learning
  • Increased international awareness
  • Increased interconnectivity