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.
Delivering Higher Computing At Borders College By Hybrid Learning Using H/W SCHOLAR and GLOW: Lessons Learned Russell Taylor Computing Lecturer Borders College
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)
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
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
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.
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
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Navy in February – long-held ambition 5 withdrew during Software Development Unit as “did not need HC for Uni”. 1 was withdrawn for insufficient progress (but did need the Higher for future career pathway) 1 failed to respond when asked
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.
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
Lesson Learned More planning and liaison required over: Timetables 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
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!
Do it again? With careful planning Better partnership working Motivated pupils Reliable technology Good preparation and with the benefit of experience: YES!