Using transactional learning to teach building contract management and administration
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Using transactional learning to teach building contract management and administration

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Slides from the presentation given by
Andrew Agapiou (University of Strathclyde) at the Open Educational Resources in the disciplines: a joint conference in October 2010.

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  • Transactional learning is active learning, not passive. In that sense, we want students to be involved in activities within legal actions, rather than standing back from the actions and merely learning about them. transactional learning goes beyond learning about legal actions to learning from legal actions we aim to give them experience of legal transactions. Transactional learning involves thinking about transactions. It includes the ability to rise above detail, and "helicopter" above a transaction; or the ability to disengage oneself from potentially damaging views of the group process, and re-construct that view Students are valuable resources for each other. Collaborative learning breaks down the isolation and alienation of what might be regarded as isolated or cellular learning. There is of course a place for individual learning, silent study, and the like. But students can help each other enormously to understand legal concepts and procedures by discussing issues, reviewing actions in a group, giving peer feedback on work undertaken in the group, and so on. And perhaps what is even more important is that they begin to trust each other to carry out work that is important. In other words, students begin to learn how to leverage knowledge amongst themselves, and to trust each other’s developing professionality (learning about know-who, know-why, as well as know-what within the firm). Often, we have found, if there are firms that are not producing good work or keeping to deadlines, it is because they do not know how to work together effectively; and this often arises from a lack of trust. Transactional learning ought to be based on a more holistic approach. Allowing students to experience the whole transaction- and all the different parts- not just the actual procedure but how this may affect the client and how you may have to report this to the client. Transactional learning of necessity draws upon ethical learning and professional standards. There are many examples of how students have had to face ethical situations within the environment – some are ones where we have created a situation with an ethical issue- others have arisen unexpectedly. E.g mandate example ( if time) 7 & 8: Students are taking part in a sophisticated process that involves taking on the role of a professional lawyer within the confines of the virtual town and firm. In order to enhance the learning experience they must be immersed in the role play- and to do that they must be undertaking authentic tasks. Research suggests that when students are involved with online environment similar to the virtual village- that these authentic settings have the capability to motivate and encourage learner participation by facilitating students ‘willing suspension of disbelief’. This allows them to become immersed in the setting.
  • The project aimed to address the educational and management issues of implementing an environment such as the one we have just demonstrated to you. These have been identified elsewhere in this presentation and are brought together this slide. Personalized and collaborative learning, how you use a simulation project and how this relates to other modes of learning, use of rich media and finally the matter of creating an authentic environment with authentic tasks.
  • So what are we doing in the project: We are creating- indeed have created – tools which allow academics to build simulations similar to the one you’ve seen here. These can be highly structured, closed boundary simulations as well as loosely-structured, open-field simulations We’re developing guidelines for academics, support staff, IT staff and students. There is a tool for the creation of the map and directory and communication tools. We are mentoring a number of partner projects and also evaluating the experience for future users.
  • Improved letter writing skills Skills: Increased awareness of client care skills - time recording - planning, organising and managing - groupworking Improved IT skills Improved understanding of the subject IT Skills: Students require basic IT and confidence Students noted: - lack of instant messaging - need to always create a document for every message Dull interface Minor IT irritations But: system is robust- over 10,000 documents sent by over 500 students Authenticity Students were not conscious of who was replying to them i.e. was it a lecturer, admin assistant, the computer? Students thought using practitioners to respond would add to the realism Monitoring of students/simulations Students were concerned about names being attached to/owned by emails Students aware everything being recorded Simulation acted as a check on what students were doing for tutor. Feedback Need for effective feedback - Warwick: weekly - Architecture: mark at end of 16 part activity Feedback more important in open field transactions

Transcript

  • 1. Using Transactional Learning to teach building contract management and administration Dr Andrew Agapiou Department of Architecture University of Strathclyde
  • 2. s imulations…
    • Are close to the world of practice , but safe from the (possible) realities of malpractice and negligent representation.
    • Enable students to practise legal transactions , discuss the transactions with other tutors, students, and use a variety of instruments or tools, online or textual, to help them understand the nature and consequences of their actions
    • Facilitate a wide variety of assessment , from high-stakes assignments with automatic fail points, to coursework that can double as a learning zone and an assessment assignment
    • Encourage collaborative learning . The guilds and groups of hunters/players in multi-player online games can be replicated for very different purposes in FE & HE.
    • Students begin to see the potential for the C in ICT ; and that technology is not merely a matter of word-processed essays & quizzes, but a form of learning that changes quite fundamentally what and how they learn .
  • 3. authenticity as transactional learning…
    • Transactional learning:
    • active learning
    • through performance in authentic transactions
    • involving reflection in & on learning,
    • deep collaborative learning , and
    • holistic or process learning,
    • with relevant professional assessment
    • that includes ethical standards
  • 4. general aims of the SIMPLE platform
      • personalized learning in a professional environment
      • collaborative learning
      • use of simulation spaces in programmes of study, and the relation between simulation spaces and other learning spaces on a programme, including paper-based and online resources, face-to-face classes, and administration
      • use of rich media in online simulations – video, graphics, text, etc.
      • authenticity in the design of simulation tasks, and effective assessment of professional learning
  • 5. what has the SIMPLE project done?
    • Provided academic staff in UK universities with software tools to design and build simulations and collate all of the resources required
    • Developed teaching, learning and assessment templates, including curriculum guidelines
    • Provided tools to create a map and directory for a virtual town
    • Enabled communication between students and simulated characters/staff
    • Monitoring and mentoring functions
    • Evaluated student and staff experiences in using the simulation environment
  • 6. example of a NED
  • 7. Contract Management for Architects
    • 40 students
    • PGDip/MArch in Advanced Architecture Design
    • develop knowledge and skills in order to equip Postgraduate students with an understanding of the organisational and legal issues associated with the practice of architecture
    • provide an introduction to the process, systems and documentation which are required for administration of a building project
    • encompassing the legalities of the construction process as well as the concepts of responsibility and liability on the part of the Architect.
  • 8. What the students did?
    • The students’ objective was to administer the construction process in response to 16 tasks or transactions as set out by a chronology of likely on-site scenarios relating to the deployment of the JCT 1998 building contract.
    • To this end they entered into correspondence with the client, contractor and other consultants as required
    • The transactions were grouped around three broad aspects of running a building project, including:
      • carrying out of the works;
      • the programme of works;
      • and financial and contingent matters.
  • 9. Project Transactions
  • 10. How did it go?
    • Student engagement with scenarios high.
    • Liked remote aspect as meeting as a group not always easy.
    • Liked building on work they’d done in previous scenarios and using knowledge from one to inform later interaction.
    • Negative feedback related to waiting for responses and also to the first scenario ,which involved a heavier workload than subsequent scenarios.
    • Excellent in introducing contracts, which many students had seen in practice but had never been allowed to handle themselves before.
    • A chance to gain experience of a far bigger project than students would encounter as a project architect or technician.
    • Could now see contract and clauses from a contractor’s viewpoint
    • Many realised they had learned bad habits while in practice
    • From tutor’s point of view, an easy and effective way of communicating with students.
  • 11.
    • Methodology: integrative evaluation
    • Used mixed methods and multiple data sources to develop an overall picture of each participant’s use of SIMPLE
    • Highlighting issues, drivers and barriers
    • Allowed for the emergence of unanticipated aspects
    SIMPLE evaluation
  • 12.
    • Students
    • Tutors
    • Evaluation Activities carried out:
    • Pre simulation
    • During simulation
    • Post simulation
    data sources
  • 13. data collection methods
    • Observations
    • Tutor Interviews
    • Student Interviews
    • Focus groups (students)
    • Diaries/logs
    • Student materials
    • Examining SIMPLE office
    • Pre-course card exercise
    • Post-course questionnaires
  • 14.
    • SIMPLE:
    • Enhanced professional skills
    • Heightened awareness of client care
    • Improved IT skills
    • Improved understanding of the subject matter
    • Encouraged peer review
    • Students:
    • Welcomed the authenticity
    • Wanted regular feedback
    • Assessment results improved over a number of projects
    l evel 1: student experiences
  • 15. L evel 1: staff experiences
    • Some technical skills required
      • some found tools ‘clunky’
      • most managed to operate the tools after training
    • Welcomed enhanced monitoring functionality of student work
    • Concerned about the front-loading of work to create the simulation blueprint
    • Initial difficulties in simulation design and design of resources
    • Platform hosting challenges
  • 16. SIMPLE project conclusions: simulation environments
    • They can enable more engaged and deeper learning in students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels
    • They can be used to learn and assess conceptual and second-order symbolic knowledge, practice-based skills and personal achievement of integrated skills.
    • Students adapt best to new learning environments when they are aware of the expectations of them in the new arena.
    • Simulation is a disruptive heuristic and requires support.
    • Although initial workload is heavy there is payback in later years
    • T here are serious implications for institutional change and innovation
  • 17. contact details
    • Email: andrew.agapiou@strath.ac.uk