Blended learning at MADEC


Research question

How well will CGEA Level 3 online meet the needs of students ie, further study and employment or social contact and self confidence?

Who

The group was made up of students of mixed literary ability and ages ranging from 16 to 53 years. They came from a variety of backgrounds with the older students being long term unemployed, the younger ones having recently left school

What

They attempted and most completed the new CGEA's elective entitled Access the Internet for Language Purposes.

Why

This was a group with varied abilities and varied degrees of willingness. This particular elective was one which we thought would be the least threatening for those with limited computer skills.

How

Firstly the course was designed and downloaded onto the Wiki site. It was trialed and minor modifications were made.
As the 11 students were already enroled in the face to face GCEA class it was decided this elective would be available to those who wished to do it.
The process was described and most students were able to log on and create their own student ID for themselves. Those who had difficulty had hands on assistance.
Those with lower literacy struggled and were assisted by others around them. The younger students were not afraid to try clicking on different areas if they were unable to find what they thought they should be looking for. This was equal between the literate and less literate.
The older students who had consideraqble literacy skills but lacked computer knowledge were afraid of the technology and none of them completed the elective in spite of significant hands on assistance.

Reflection: answer to the research question

We are not sure that this will really meet the needs of the community we were aiming to attract. People will need to gain confidence in use of the computer before they will attempt the full CGEA course online. We also feel it will not meet the social needs of many geographically and/or socially isolated adults as was hoped. This aspect would depend very much on the student numbers and their degree of interaction at the time. Interaction may be increased by scheduling set times for communication using some form of eclassroom and if possible, more face to face or telephone contact.

Achievements

Reach

At this stage it was offered to existing students and was met with relative enthusiasm

Retention

The younger students all satisfactorily completed the elective and appeared to enjoy the experience while those who were older and less confident did not complete the elective. One was so reluctant, she stayed away from class in order to avoid trying.

Results

The results were satisfying for a trial. I am now much more able to organize components of online learning and after watching students navigate this trial will modify my work in future.

Future


As the new CGEA unfolds we will be attempting to plan and implement core units and electives in such a way that they will be easily transferable between online and face to face delivery.

3 Tips for Teachers

  • Get advice from someone who has done it before.
  • Trial a course or unit that you are unfamiliar with: this will help you find out what instructions work for you.
  • Allow time and then double it.