The “Plan” for this year!
Well its back to work for me tomorrow. This year I am (hopefully) going to concentrate on getting a lot of e-stuff happening for my students. The plan is to provide very customised online resources and links for adolescents and adults in Literacy, Numeracy and Employability Skills. This is already under way – thanks to project funding from the WA Department of Training.
In 2008 we won Building Diversity funding from the Equity Development and Innovation Program to start developing an online blend for delivering and/or providing additional support/resources at Australian Certificate I level in the Certificate of General Education for Adults (CGEA). This is particularly useful for our regional students as they often can’t attend a campus because of distance. We still have some funding available to April which will help us have time to continue development.
What was and what is!
Traditionally distance learning for CGEA in the Wheatbelt of WA has taken the form of booklets (called learning guides here). For me this doesn’t make much sense because giving students who have low literacy levels a written booklet to read with activities to work through in isolation seems like setting them up to fail.
So far we have developed a blend that uses virtual classroom (Elluminate) for delivering some topics and/or for tutorials and a range of resources and tasks provided through a Learning Management system (LMS) – Blackboard CE6. We piloted this with a group of English as a Second Language (ESL) students.
The best thing for me about using an LMS (at least with CE6) is that you can provide each student or group of students with a customised pathway through the resources using the selective release options. However you can also enable them all have access to some shared discussion topics which is great for our students who are often geographically isolated from their peers.
What will be!
This year I plan to extend the range of options for customisation for Introductory and for Certificates II and III as well as Certificate I, so that we have focussed resources that address the possible interests and preferred learning styles of youth at risk students and Indigenous learners.
Currently I use one of the discussion options (an individual journal) in CE6 for students to collect together work/tasks they have completed, although this is quite limited in some ways it has the advantage that the students only have to go to one place for everything. This helps some of our students who don’t have high levels of computer literacy – but may disengage those who have, so I am looking at other options and may use blogs, Flickr, and other tools with some students instead of the LMS journal.
It is difficult to customise completely for individuals (time constraints) but by using groups I hope to use different strands for each of our broad target groups and then some individual threads if needed