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



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.

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