Ultimately, Transform is about using the enormous range of online tools at our disposal to provide students with the richest learning experiences possible. So, this week, we’ve asked some of the Transform Student Ambassadors to share the best learning experience they’ve had at university.
Only one ambassador mentions the impact of technology on his learning. However, all of them mention the impact of individual teachers: committed, engaging and inspiring teachers.
This is one of Transform’s greatest challenges. How do we take what great teachers do best – connecting with students – and ensure this occurs digitally on a global scale?
Samuel Weston – Bachelor of Journalism / Bachelor of Laws
A Journalism subject – KJB222 Online Journalism - is certainly the most rewarding example of utilising digital technologies to enhance learning I’ve been involved in. The unit coordinator, Susan Hetherington, reinforced the importance of understanding key online concepts, and as a result, online capabilities played an integral role in the subject’s assessments. For example:
- A running story, where new information would appear incrementally on Blackboard that we would then write a story about; simulating a real-time newsroom;
- A live blogging exercise, where we watched a video online and simultaneously created a running commentary pertaining to what we saw;
- A weekly blog entry, in which we had freedom to write about topics relevant to the course.
All information was conveyed to us through a Twitter feed set up with the hashtag #QUTOJ1. Even during lectures, students were free to tweet, enabling us to discuss and comment on what we were hearing as we heard it. This made lectures so much more invigorating, even if the zombie apocalypse made them more hazardous than most!
Kristy Winter – Bachelor of Applied Science / Bachelor of Information Technology
I recently discovered I had to change majors because mine was no longer offered by the university. After tracking down Laura Gregory, my course coordinator, I spent an entire hour in her small office discussing my future degree and career. It was the best hour of my academic life. Laura was incredibly helpful in guiding my study plan, offering me positions in research for the summer, and planning my honours degree. Upon entering the appointment I had little hope for my graduation. Leaving with a newly structured plan that focuses on my personal interests at university, and a step closer to my career, I could not have been happier.
Anna Kalma – Bachelor of Creative Industries / Bachelor of Information Technology
The best learning experience I have had during university, I experienced this semester. I was reunited with Jane James, a tutor who I previously had in my first year. I had developed a good relationship with Jane; she had taught and encouraged me to develop my drawing skills. She always took time to provide additional exercises or explanations of the topic and took a personal interest in helping me achieve my best work. This semester it was highly satisfying to show her my progress and continue to achieve success through her assistance. Again this time, Jane took a personal interest in my work and assisted me. The best part was that she often went above and beyond what was required, such as recommending resources and stores for supplies. At the end of semester I felt my work had improved beyond what I previously thought possible; all through her assistance.
Melissa Blacklock – Bachelor of Education (Secondary)
My most memorable learning experiences are the ones where I can tell my teacher/lecturer/tutor is interested in the fact that I am engaging. That is more important than achieving perfect test scores. This usually boils down to who the teacher is – what kind of person they are and what their teaching pedagogy is. Often this overlaps with hands-on work because the interests of students have been considered. Practical work in labs and interactive tutorials always stick with me much more than dry lectures where we are merely being taught at – as though we are empty vessels.
It’s ironic, because while we Education students are taught how to teach, we are frequently shown examples of teachers who don’t follow these models. If anything, the bad experiences make me appreciate the good ones more, and overwhelmingly my best university learning experiences are the ones where I can feel someone is taking an interest in me.