Online education is the latest platform of educational system which encouraged a number of reputed institutions all around the world to open the opportunities of online education. The Nelson Mandela Institute of Science and Technology, one of such institutions, plays host to several other institutions and the theme for her 2015 workshop was ‘Learning for Change’. This event attracts participant from around the globe and those who have been part of it have various experiences to share.
The event was conducted in a hybrid way
This was a practical form of hybrid education because students could either participate on-site or online through Skype. The learning teams were split into smaller groups and these smaller groups are then challenged with questions to which they are expected to deliberate upon and provide answers. Some of the interesting questions asked were as follows:
- Learning synergy between teachers and students: The students were challenged with the question of how to provide a collaborative environment between teachers and students using any technological means. Students could come up with a combination of systems rather than dwelling on just one system.
- Creating organization focused user-driven environment: The second major hurdle that students were expected to jump over was the feasibility of creating an environment that is driven by the user from the point of view of organizations. The organizational support that will be needed to support such a structure should be put into consideration.
Practice questions are also provided
Those who have been to online workshop agree that they serve their purpose better when they are hands-on rather than when an individual stands and talks for a long stretch of hours. Practice questions are supplied as regular homework. The basis of the practice questions is to enable participants to come with platforms that will ensure a more effective learning.
The learning is made interactive
With the help of images, charts and videos, students are given the avenue to share their experiences particularly those who have taken an online MA program. Different opinions were brought to the table and covered areas of administrative, cultural and technical issues they encountered while going through an online learning program. Lecturers also shared how it feels teaching online.
Online workshops rarely cover all the topics and issues raised
During the course of the brainstorming process, a lot of issues are raised concerning the challenges that online education faces likewise ways to make it better. However, the time for the sessions is not enough to properly address these issues. Future workshops should have this in mind when the schedule for the workshop is being prepared. It may likely mean that the workshop or online class will take longer.
The level of teacher involvement in online education remains controversial
One of the major challenges when it comes to teacher-student interaction in an online learning platform is how many teachers should be involved. Teacher-student interaction is always necessary when feedback is expected from both or either parties but this cannot be said in other circumstances. The extent of a teacher’s involvement is also a point of subject to debate.
Teacher intervention in a debate will be counter-productive
Online education usually has a platform for interaction. When there is a debate on such platforms and a teacher decides to intervene, the flow of the debate is bound to be disturbed. The presence of teachers alone will limit some students from fully expressing themselves for the fear that it may cause the teacher to become biased in their assessment. It is also possible that a teacher’s comment will serve as a guide in channeling the students to a particular area of thought. Effective learning can be promoted using user-friendly devices like mobile phones
- Nelson Mandela Institute of Science and Technology organizes online workshop annually.
- The learning process is in a form of hybrid.
- There is a learning synergy between teachers and students.
- The workshop challenges the students to be solution oriented.
- The beauty of online learning comes with the effectiveness of interaction.
- Videos and charts are used to establish effective communication.
- All issues cannot be addressed in an online workshop because of time constraint.
- The level of teacher involvement in online courses can make or mar the flow of interaction.
- It is unwise for teachers to intervene in debates.
- Teacher’s presence can restrict students from barring their mind.
Bookmark This Page (Ctrl + D)