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SCHOLAR Conference 2011 - Innovative Delivery of Higher and Advanced Higer - Workshop Part 1
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SCHOLAR Conference 2011 - Innovative Delivery of Higher and Advanced Higer - Workshop Part 1


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Virtual classrooms and online student support

Virtual classrooms and online student support

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  • Some pupils had done Int 2 two years ago but had not had this consolidated the following year as there was no Computing teaching being done in school.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Delivering Higher Computing At Borders College By Hybrid Learning Using H/W SCHOLAR and GLOW: Lessons Learned
      Russell Taylor
      Computing Lecturer
      Borders College
    • 2. Background
      Early May 2010 – College agrees to deliver Higher Computing on a ‘hybrid’ basis on behalf of Borders Schools to allow wider range of pupil choices using GLOW and H/W SCHOLAR as a ‘pilot’
      Hybrid – defined as a mixture of e-learning and on-site attendance (Blakesley 2004)
    • 3. Planning
      Late-May 2010 - Planning begins to ensure that:
      All appropriate software and infrastructure issues are identified and planned for resolution
      Pupil timetables are synchronised as much as possible to allow full attendance at planned in-College and weekly online GLOW Meet sessions
    • 4. Mode of Delivery
      In College – 11 occasions – 4 full days and 7 half-days
      Weekly online session using GLOW and SCHOLAR
      E-mail support – as required
      Full-time access to Scholar
      Other Lecturer-supplied materials also used to complement Scholar’s content
      Student access to WWW
    • 5. Expectations
      Work in partnership with Schools / Local Authority/ Heriot Watt
      Well-motivated pupils
      Access to relevant hardware – PCs in quiet space, Head/mics, etc.
      Access to relevant software – Visual Basic.NET
      Availability of web-based applications
      Current Browser with Plug-ins installed required for GLOW and Scholar
      Ability to work from school and home
      In-College access to systems similar to school and home.
    • 6. Actual Experience
      Insufficient time for planning available
      Software issues took longer than anticipated to resolve (Firewalls)
      Pupils took longer than anticipated to install software at home
      affected progress through Units – especially Software Development
      Timetables not synchronised
      only 1 school participated online (9 pupils)
      Motivation of pupils not always evident
      GLOW availability/functionality not as reliable as expected
      SCHOLAR receiving mixed results from pupils
    • 7. Academic Outcomes
      13 pupils enrolled from three schools
      furthest located 20 miles from College Campus
      5 completed (38%)
      4 of this 5 failed Prelim - 4 also did poorly in SQA coursework task
      Much poorer than Faculty average – over 80% achievement
      Feedback from those leaving the course varied:
      1 joined Navy in February – long-held ambition
      5 withdrew during Software Development Unit as “did not need HC for Uni”.
      1 was withdrawn for insufficient progress (but did need the Higher for future career pathway)
      1 failed to respond when asked
    • 8. Pupil Feedback - Technology
      GLOW Meet initially viewed positively
      Once all plug-ins installed and tested
      ‘Novelty’ factor soon wore off as:
      System became unreliable for sound transmission from March 2011 onwards
      Problems arose installing plug-ins at home on Windows 7 64 bit PCs and laptops
      Pupils did not like hearing themselves!
      SCHOLAR viewed relatively positively with some areas of course-text less well developed that expected
      e.g. Fetch-Execute Cycle picked out for criticism
      Some of the language structure and technical content seems much higher order than expected for a SCQF Level 6 course.
    • 9. Pupil Feedback - Organisation
      Bus journeys ‘long and tiring’ – early morning journey on Tuesdays
      Scheduling of in-College sessions ‘confusing’
      Alternating between Wednesday afternoons and Tuesday mornings at Schools request
      Some teachers marking attendances at College as ‘unauthorised absences’
      Rooms allocated at school for online sessions not always suitable – e.g. shared spaces in Libraries.
      More ‘hand-on’ teaching preferred
      especially for course-work tasks
    • 10. Lesson Learned
      More planning and liaison required over:
      In-college sessions – how many, how often, when scheduled
      And on an on-going basis as issues arise
      More technical testing required – in school, in college and at students home
      Development of common platform of software needed – schools and Colleges
      Some development of Scholar content required
      E-tutoring skills different from in-class teaching and these need recognised and developed
    • 11. E-tutoring Skills
      Under-recognised as different from in-class teaching
      Perhaps devalued as a result – but needs developing
      Body language is important in a classroom – not available online - webcam a poor substitute for being in the room
      Need techniques to substitute for non-verbal clues from pupils
      Development of questioning techniques vital – to test engagement as well as understanding
      Short exercises (10 mins) with student feedback, useful and aid interactivity
      Preparation is vital – always have a plan B when the technology fails!
    • 12. Do it again?
      With careful planning
      Better partnership working
      Motivated pupils
      Reliable technology
      Good preparation
      and with the benefit of experience: