Tagged: real-time video conferencing
Olufemi, that was a fine response to Andy, especially regarding video conferencing. However, the constraints of learners in developing contexts such as sub-Saharan Africa include low bandwidth. This means that for now, even such video conferencing may be a challenge in many contexts, perhaps in future we may achieve video conferencing as a plausible option. But there are many alternatives even now. Very short videos (no more than a few minutes long); skpye?, recorded presentations on DVDs for offline access. I think that for us, it is crucial to constantly seek ways to appropriate technology to work in our context.
I agree Julie. In any case, I have seen in the few years I have taught students in the traditional format that, at least in my context, learners want the instructor to do everything for them. On the other hand, online interaction compels learners to read, to activate their learning through doing, which for some scholars, is where the actual learning happens.
Very intriguing and interesting issues are being raised. I keep in mind, however, that Andrew has laid it all bare. Our goals and our contexts matter! Large classes, electricity, bandwidth, costs are all constraints in many of our contexts. In my context in Akure Nigeria they all are challenges, but the large classes was particularly bothersome, especially for students in the English for Academic Purposes classes who require to use the language frequently to build proficiency. So there was so much we needed to do within the hours available for f2f classes that we could not do! We required many more hours, many more teachers, many more classrooms, all of which were not available. It was imperative therefore to seek alternative learning spaces, to get students doing a lot more and interacting in the target language. Blended Learning provided the way out: we keep the f2f large classes and use technology to extend those classes, using some of the tools such as discussion forum and collaborative wiki for more variety.
Of course we were faced with the problem of appropriate pedagogy, or techniques to make the students enjoy what they were doing and attain the goals of the course. We then introduced project work – investigation of real life issues. Students have to work in teams, collaborate and therefore interact in English. All this involved a whole lot of work, for the teacher and for students, but students continue to come to class because what we do in class feeds into what they do online, and both modes are assessed and contribute towards attaining the goals we have set for ourselves, teacher and student.
Andrew, your comment about appropriate blend (determined by the one blending and for whom it is done) is a key point. And, yes, I agree that it is important not to speak in generalities but to define what applies in what kind of context for what specific purpose. That way, it will be more meaningful, and it will create the potential for others to try it out or to replicate.
That’s absolutely correct! Students given their age bracket (young adults) like to explore. The f2f context constrains them, the opportunities online expand their horizon and give wings to their imagination.
Yes the debate would go on as to whether we will need teachers. I believe we will continue to need teachers, the sort of teachers that can meet the students at their points of need, to guide them. So we teachers would need to be able to relate to our students in the manner that motivates and inspires them rather than constraining them.
I think with any of the e-learning, the teacher can also create the face to face component, which can be less frequent but at the same time form part of the continuous assessment. Again, most of us (the teachers) in my opinion still need to be trained on how to maximize the available technology to achieve the training of our learners.
Huum, Jerome! You know, up to now after 25 years teaching mathematics at university, my opinion about working in group is quite simple. I’m not trying to find the genuine contribution of each member, but just realize that they worked collaboratively. I mean that each member gained a little bit in building the final result. And definitively, beyond such measurement, I don’t think that it’s useful to assess them on others things. It’s the same stand we have to take, as it’s a f2f process or a blended one.
Following on to what Jerome said about appropriate blend I would use the concept of differentiated learning here, creating activities within modules which not only use the most appropriate (and available) mechanisms for delivery but also ensure that different learning styles are catered for. A free-range approach versus the battery hen approach of the instructional method. I acknowledge, tricky with huge classes, but that is where technology can come into its own.
I’m experiencing blended learning in my institution, Higher teacher training college) of the University of Yaounde 1, since two years (3 semesters). At the beginning of each semester, students missed presential sequences hoping thaht the course conten t, i gave to theme, is complete. But, they must take into consideration the fact that, no course is complete so, they must attend the face to face sessions for more explanations and for a better share. We can also do it online but, face to face meetings still the best way to meet your students.
But afterall, its depends on context for example, if you are dealing with workers etc. anyway, class meeting remains necessary ans important for the teacher and the learner.
I always use an argument to incite my students to come in class as they must. So, before we start the explanatory reading, only those who have download the course can attended the lesson in class. And usually, downloading a course is as an assignment which could give more marks at the end of the semester.
As Andrew said there are MANY different CONTEXT and KING of SUBJECTS.
Anyway, a teacher must use attractiive ways to incite students to come in class if it’s necessary for a better understanding of the course.
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