Thursday, June 10, 2010

Temasek Polytechnic International Teaching & Learning conference - Day 1 afternoon

After lunch, my presentation on the CPIT mportfolio project took place with a good group attending. The concept used in the project is now so much more easier to put into place with the improved capabilities and range of mobile hardware and web 2.0 based software now available.

Stayed for presentations by two others. First up Nalaka Edirisinghe on managing learner diversity in teaching a year 1 programme. The development and provision to first year Diploma in IT students by using programming languages which are pertinent to their specialisations (eg. game programming). Students could then begin work on the language they would be studying over the course of three years but all the different groups of students were taught in a generalised course. This had advantages for the students but led to more work for teaching staff to set up the relevant examples in all three languages and write assessment questions which could be answered with anyone of the languages taught.

Next up Tan Hock Seng also from Temasek Polytechnic on 'a model of simulation-based learning. This focused on finding out is SBL was actually useful as a learning tool. A good followup to Diana Laurrilard's presentation by providing an example of how a well thought out interactive virtual machine (eg. a lathe) assists or does not assists / enhance student learning. also a similar concept to the 'laying out a building site' simulation used at CPIT to help construction students become familiar with a practical task before actually undertaken the actual practical task.

After afternoon tea, attended a couple of sessions. First up, Chung Yin Wah from Nanyang Polytechnic on the 'accumulated experience sharing system' (AES). Nanyang Polytechnic uses a practice and application-oriented training featuring authentic learning environments. Examples include chemical engineering, engineering, software quality and security and business administration, supported through industry sponsorship and real-life project work opportunities. These help to emulate and integrate real-life industrial environments in teaching and learning. The AES has a repository of over 5000 projects between staff/students and industry projects/services. This repository can then be used by future students to provide examples and also as a way to help other students with information including tacit knowledge they can mine for their own projects. Staff can also use the AES as a teaching resource to show exemplars and model project development stages.

Next up, Catherine Ross from the Open Polytechnic in New Zealand on ' I don't feel so isolated': crossing the boundaries of distance through peer mentoring and support. This project put in place for 1st year students by the Open Poly. to support students, especially those in programmes which have a high attrition rate. Peer mentoring is used by employing experienced senior students to support newer students. Learning motivation theories including Dweck (1999) theories of self, self motivation theory (Cohen, Garcia, Apfel & master, 2008), strengths approach (Anderson, 2003), positive psychology. This approach centre on identifying students' underlying goals /motivation, focus on existing strengths and competencies, draw out past successes and validate effort rather than achievement. The programme help new students to settle into study and peer mentors maintain contact via telephone. Contact times concide with stages which have been found to be times students have difficulties, these include start of course / before the first assignment, second assessment/mid-course and end of year assessment / examination. In each contact time, specific 'scripts' are followed in order to ensure students recieve the appropriate support.

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