Friday, 21 March 2008

Wk 3: Why we need flexible learning

Thanks for all those comments on my previous blog. I agree with you Athena, I am really a people’s person too, don’t think I will do well by teaching in front of a 15 inch rectangle box.

Anyway, I started reading Leigh’s postings on Sunday, but I had a busy week (I’m sure this is a lame excuse ; ) because everyone is just as busy as me), haven’t had chance to update my blog. But now I have placed myself in front of the computer with a cup of tea and some marshmallow eggs……

So, do we need more flexible learning? Does flexible learning mean an equal opportunity for everyone to have the chance to get educated? Related to Leigh’s posting, “free learning, fee education”. We are here to inspire our students, to “get them into an educational setting, getting them comfortable with structured learning, helping them develop independent learning skills, and building confidence with the idea of assessment”. Q4U has done it, why can’t every other department follow? I have only been here for 5 weeks; maybe I haven’t seen it all. Somehow I don’t see how more flexible learning is going to help me to teach my students who are desperately wanting to get into nursing next year but can’t do the times table (within10) by head. As I mentioned in my previous posting, I had success getting my students to practice maths exercises on line. I feel that flexible learning would be helpful in conjunction with class learning, but when using flexible learning as the only learning tool, it may conceal its real potential. For example, My colleague is running a distance stream for mathematics (for students living outside of Dunedin). After the first day of workshop, he lost almost 1/4 of students, because he quickly went through all course contents and give instructions on how to communicate on the internet and that really beat up some of the students’ “self-esteem”. He had run two Elluminate sessions after that, hardly anyone turned up for the session and most of time, he felt like he was lecturing by himself.

What I’m trying to say is, we do have wonderful recourses on internet that we can use and we can create the second space that is outside of classroom to interact with our students. But we should not always rely on such technology, from the example I gave to you above, it does not always work for you. There is a policy to support the concept of “free learning, fee education”, most courses have a 2-3 weeks trail period, if you don’t think that is what you would like to learn within such period, you get a full refund on tuition. But when we lost people during this free learning period, we shouldn’t see it as a loss of tuition or government funding, more importantly, we might have lost someone’s confidence or someone’s chance to be successful.

Happy Easter everyone...

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Wk 2: March 10-16: What is flexible learning?

Is flexible learning a new concept or just a fancy new word for an old way of doing? (Remember to back your response up with references or evidence.)

Correspondence school has been around for years, it can be considered as a form of flexible learning. But now, flexible learning has blended with modern technologies. I have done a similar posting for my Gaining Foundation Skills for Learning and Teaching paper, where we discussed the advantages and disadvantages for "online learning". Put aside the technology difficulty, flexible learning gives students the freedom and choice on their own study. But it put teachers in a vulnerable position, less face-to-face contact; the teacher has no control of the progress. My opinion on flexible learning is we should combine the classroom and flexible learning together: setting up certain self discipline and getting instruction for the course during class time, but let students to do the exploration and extend their knowledge in their own way.

What are you already doing in your practice that you believe enables flexible learning?

I use E-mails, discussion board and announcements on internet to keep in constant communication with students. I am teaching mathematics, students are required to do lots of exercise to be proficient in mathematical calculation. My colleagues put together a thing called “Matherzise” on the internet for students to practice. Students enjoyed doing the exercise online more than the traditional pen and paper exercise.

For any of you feel your students need extra maths practice, here is the link for “Matherzise”:
Student ID number is any single digit (e.g. 0, 1, 2....) and password is "poly"

Thursday, 6 March 2008

I am here!!!

Hi everyone!

My name is Michelle. I love blogging!!! I have a blog on MySpace, but unfortunately they are mostly in Chinese, otherwise I would love to share with you!

I came from China 7 years ago. I graduated from Otgao Uni last year with a BSc double major in Pharmacology and Statistics. I am currently working as a Maths tutor/lecturer for Foundation studies (maybe some design and IT classes later).

As being new to teaching, I am looking forward to exchaging ideas and sharing thoughts with you guys.

Michelle Liu