UNIVERSITIES AND STUDENTS : SHARED RESPONSIBILITIES.
Maybe some universities need to place more onus of responsibility on students. Attendance optionality at lectures, tutorials or at organised online sessions is anathema. Seems that some universities are happy to extract course fees for students than cut them so much slack there is no further obligation upon those students other than the completion of assignments or attendance at exams.
I am a part time lecturer and supporter of students at the CDU. I value my role with them and I know they appreciate their engagement with me. Importantly, we know each other as people. During sessions we are on the same plane together. I also have to mark assignments. Marking work submitted by ‘invisible and unknown’ students is a lot harder than knowing those whose work you are marking. Marking rubrics go some of the way but they don’t tell markers about student character.
I worry about students who enrol internally or externally in courses, then overlook course requirements. The university makes but the students who operate this way gain very little in terms of the learning collective. My role is with education. Education involves sharing. One of the skills encouraged with pre-service teachers is that they are able to developing collaborative skills. Relationships with peers, parents and students are important. If training in isolation is encouraged, little is being done to develop the togetherness aspect of what teaching is all about.
It is good to know students whose work you are marking. When you don’t know and have never met people whose work you are marking, both they and you are at some disadvantage.
My internal groups is not huge – 12 students tops. And yes, I would be very sure that we are on the same situational plane. I work in an old fashioned but effective way with students.
I have done online work with big numbers and make it my business to establiash an e-mail data base enabling me individual or collective contact. If they want a phone conversation, students can email or message and I’ll return calls and discuss issues. I also encourage students to network each other.
Over 40 plus years I have built considerable resource material and have most of it in electronic form. These resources I share with students on request or if I think a particular issue can be supported with materials I have to hand. My indexing system gives me fairly quick access to these materials.
I always ask students to feed back on practical experience (as pre-service teachers) in terms of both celebrations and challenges. I am writing a series of vignettes (70 to date) oriented toward providing students with ideas.
I have had much feedback from students appreciating this approach.
My other point is that lectures are not lectures. Our programs follow a structure and meet course requirements but it is all done conversationally. A three hour time period, with a break at the half way mark, quickly passes.
I would never claim to be conventional but that is not the major issue.