Hi there steam fans. Time to let off some more gas. Jeepers Creepers. I mention in my last blog that I liked the idea of our three facilitators keeping the assignments coming so that I can pass this subject and young Leigh sends us a calender of weekly events. I didn't mean that you cancel out all my spare time guys! Enough said.
Today's assignment is to comment on a fellow members response to our last assignment. I have read the three others that were submitted and on reflection would like to comment on Sheryll's one since I feel her course is tied down pretty much like mine; between a rock and a hard face.
Sheryll stated at the start that she felt her course was quite flexible already. I would agree certainly that the 2 hour session times for students to come and study is great and that takes care of being open all hours but as we are learning, flexible delivery is more than that. The students are given a book to work through at their own pace. What does this mean? If it means, "Look. Here are all the notes for this subject. You just go through them, and anything that doesn't quite jell, come and see me." then you are still relying on the presence of a facilitator to be on hand when the need arises. Being a course that is instructing the student to use a computer, it may be quite difficult to expect that person to be able to send emails, teleconferencing etc at the start when they are in most need of guidance.
I remember when I had to learn a computer based drawing programme for my job. At the time I was self employed so, I bought a book and a computer (a very speedy 286 I think) and went from page one right through till the end. My keyboard got a hammering, my fingers have never fully recovered and the four letter words could be heard for miles. Not a pleasurable way to learn, but learn I did since my income depended on it. I am not sure if the young students today would be that committed since a vast majority live for the day and not worry much about the future.
I also know from past experience how difficult it is doing a course by correspondence. Like Sheryll's course, you were given some sort of assessment book or assignment to complete and send back to the institute for marking, comments etc. I really wonder if doing a course using todays technology it would be any easier. It still revolves around the individual putting in the time to do their subject matter. It all comes down to 'time management' people irrespective of the delivery mode.
We are starting to talk about the 'acquisition and participation' models now how getting the students more involved with the participation concept will enhance their learning but the need for someone to facilitate the direction of the learning will still be required. From my teaching experience I do believe that students learn from each other very well and thats fine, but my how the conversation drifts off course if you let it; cars, booze, parties etc. etc. I still play a key part to the students learning in my course and I know that it is very much of the acquisition model, but don't forget, we are providing a service that industry dictates. If these graduates of ours come out of study with a qualification, industry expects that they are capable of performing that duty with minimum training required. I say again, in order for our institute to achieve this standard, fair, level playing field type assessments must be in place.
Sheryll finishes off her appraisal of flexible learning by telling us that her students must do an on-line assessment to pass and then come in person to do the institutes own assessment to pass the unit. Not very flexible for some people. Very true Sheryll, but at least you have made sure that everybody does reach the same standard to qualify for that unit. Well done.