Friday, September 7, 2007

Time as a key factor

RSS - why did I think it would be so difficult? Time? Because I was pressed for time, when I listened the first time to the YouTube explanation, it seemed too complex, so I left it for later. When I looked at it again, in a less pressured frame of mind, it was a very different experience. No problem at all - at least the basic use. This really brought home the realisation that time is the critical factor for all students, and whilst we academics bemoan the increasing demands made on us, I wonder how many actually realise the demands on students in terms of assessments, and volume of content. Do we need to assess so much, can we assess differently, and do they need to know so much content? It could be different in some disciplines, but for many, isn't it more important to know how to get information, and how to use it?

In language teaching, this is a consideration particularly for vocabulary, or in the case of Japanese, the number of characters we require students to be able to write from memory. Just how many characters will they remember two months after graduating? Now we use computers more than the pen, why do we still insist on accuracy of writing, when it is recognition that is important? It really is time to shift the paradigm from focus on content to one of process in the curriculum, and more importantly, to recognition of the increasing use of the world many of our students inhabit especially with respect to technology. Life long learning is not about learning facts, but how to find them, and what to do with them - interpret, evaluate and apply, and the most effective way to do it. All part of the experiential learning approach.

Also I wonder if it is because I now feel more comfortable - James Farmer said he thinks it takes about five weeks for his students. I certainly feel more comfortable and less anxious. I am enjoying feeling part of a group, the blogs, the lectures, and the acquisition of new knowledge, especially as I see it relating more and more to my own teaching. I wonder if I would have got here sooner had I had a buddy or made more use of the peer support that Nancy White talked about? That is something I am working on in my next blog.

6 comments:

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Debbie, I am feeling like you, but with wikis. I have tried to get going on wikispaces but haven't enjoyed the experience much. The one that we are to use for this course looks even more confusing. But again like you,no doubt when I come back to it, it will sort itself out. cheers Sarah

Nancy White said...

Hey Debbie - I know I could not have achieved the knowledge, skills OR confidence if my friends had not been an important part of my learning trajectory.

So the deepest lesson I have learned is to have a network. First! :-) Good luck!

Carolyn McIntosh said...

I suppose this is what these blogs are all about Debbie. I hope we can help to support each other through this learning process, which seems pretty massive at the moment. but i am excited at what I think we will learn along the way. Using an RSS feed does make it a lot easier to see what everyone is doing and perhaps to help and support each other.

Veronique said...

Hi Debbie, I think you have hit on something quite critical to the success of learning in an online environment, that of time. Students need time to learn how to use the technological tools that are part of their course, time to become comfortable with participating and interacting in an online community, and time to process and construct their knowledge, just as we have experienced in this course ourselves. I suspect not only is the time needed for student learning underestimated in elearning but also the time needed for teachers / facilitators to manage their courses well. I totally agree that too much content really goes against quality learning; I’m all for a ‘less is more’ approach.

Thanks for posting to my blog, I think we have some common ground, and should try and support each other. I've been looking today at setting up del.icio.us tags, have you done that yet? Cheers Veronique

David McQuillan said...

Hi Debbie,

I'd like to reference your post. What's your last name?

Cheers,
David

Debbie said...

Hi David - my last name is Corder.