1) WEB BASED LEARNING
Online learning can be a singular, and lonely experience, a great place for control freaks or with a little effort a network of learners where the presence of others leads to excellence. It is also a good time management tool for procrastinators!
I enjoy the online world. Online learning allows me to find the most suitable time to sit down and work and allows me time and space to formulate my ideas. Also, with a little effort, creates opportunities to meet other learners who bring a kaleidoscope of ideas and perspectives to the learning environment. Working with partners in an online environment requires an openness to explore and share; an ability to listen and a willingness to reflect on, and incorporate the perspectives of others.
Avi is my learning partner for this section of the course. We connected online and agreed to Skype the following Saturday night. I wasn’t looking forward to it for a number of reasons – I have given myself a very tight timeline for this course; I am new to blogging and have a certain level of frustrations around the development of my blog, and I was looking to the partnerships as just one of the requirements of the course. All very similar to the stories I create when I find myself in a new environment, pressured, and looking to the end rather than to the journey… at least I now recognize my excuses as stories.
I skyped in on the Saturday night and Avi was not there. I don’t think I need to explain where my stories took me – but I think you may be surprised to know that my frustrations were mostly tempered by my inability to connect with my instructor for our first skype meeting. Of course I had excuses, but I was not ready and we had to reschedule. This does not let Avi or myself off the hook. We need to be accountable to our word, but letting go of what we can’t control certainly simplifies the problem.
Avi and I managed to skype on the Sunday morning. He is delightful! I sooo enjoyed our conversations and his world of being a chef brought me so many new perspectives and understandings to adult education and learning theories. We explored the PID website and struggled at times to figure out exactly what was required – but it was so much easier doing it together. We talked about connecting throughout the course (not just the blog) and being editors for each others work. When we disconnected from skype I was energized and feeling very luck to have met Avi.
Avi sent me his blog for review this morning. It looks great – how has he been able to do that?? I am planning to review his blog in order to provide some feedback during our skype session and get some blog tips! In the meantime, back to those blog help pages for me.
After we finished our second skype meeting I have new vigour for figuring out this whole blog concept……Five hours have expired and voila!! I think I have it. Thanks to Avi for his help.
We have agreed to share our six page reports and edit them for each other. I received Avi’s last night and sent mine off this morning. Working with your online partner certainly creates a supportive learning environment….and keeps me accountability to deadlines.
Our next skype is Wednesday evening where we will discuss our reports and the finals stages of our blogs.
2) LEARNING RECONSIDERED AS CONSTRUCTIVIST EDUCATION
“When learning and personal development are integrated, the cognitive and affective dimensions are seen as one process, and the hallmark of a successful educational experience is when increased cognitive understanding is complimented by increased sense of self, personal maturity and interpersonal effectiveness” (P. M. King, Baxter,M., 1996)
The 1960’s and early 1970’s was a time when students were participating in decisions about their own education, primarily political participation and democracy. This participation diminished in the mid 70’s but has since returned to higher education with a focus on student participation in education reform (Levin, 2000).
Learning Reconsidered (2004) highlights learning and development as intertwined, inseparable elements with the student’s reflective process at the core of the learning experience. Viewing students as an integrated whole requires higher education to consider the interactions of student, school, and life. This integration of school and life of a student was highlighted at a convocation ceremony I attended, where a student spoke to her studies and the value she attached to them as she detailed her ten-year journey to graduation. From her first years as a young student out of high school, to an unwanted pregnancy and the death of her mother the experience of her education forever changed her life and her life forever changed how she experienced her education.
Integrating student education with the big picture of their life will support students’ ways of thinking about education, personal lives, career and work settings. Removing the disjointed approach to education will help prepare young adults for effective citizenship in today’s’ complex culture (P. M. King, Baxter,M., 1996).
3) DOES THE INSTITUTION VALUE STUDENTS AS PARTNERS IN THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT?
I was thinking about our conversations about the classroom, the instructors, and the students. I thought it was valuable to expand out and look at the whole – and ask how the institution works with students in the educational journey.
STUDENTS AS PARTNERS – Does the institution engage students as co-creators within the learning environment; Do students inform practice, or the development of policies?
INSPIRE, IGNITE, INFORM
- Student voice – how DO we listen?
- How DO we know what is effective?
- How DO we shape and design?
- Student Engagement – what does it mean?
- Are we Intentional or unintentional
- Do we engage all our students – full time; part time; diverse backgrounds and cultures?
AS AN INSTITUTION HAVE WE:
- DEFINED STUDENT ENGAGEMENT?
- WRITTEN STUDENT ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY?
- Encouraged students to be active partners in the design of their learning?
- Encouraged students to work with their peers to collaborate and support?
- Does the institution recognize and celebrate students non-academic achievements?
- Does the institution create opportunities for engagement
- Does the institution create opportunities to work with students
- Does the institution have policy on the co-curricular record
WHAT IS GOOD PRACTICE OF ENGAGING STUDENTS OR STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
- Hearing student voices
- Building relationships
- Seeing people as normal
- Hear the voices
- Respect the voices