Unique teaching method underlines importance of engagement among educators

7 March 2016

Photo: Jason James
Photo: Jason James

Online learning - a highly sought-after study option that feeds the student appetite for quick tertiary expertise and speedy graduate transition.

But does the teaching method detract from the classroom experience, particularly at a postgraduate coursework level, where many students are seeking to upskill or change their career trajectory?

The Faculty of Education and Social Work’s postgraduate coursework program attracts a strong proportion of full-time educators, many of whom are time-poor yet demand an upgrade in their tertiary qualifications.

At the same time, the discipline and profession thrives off the interaction between the lecturer and its students.

To solve this dilemma, the special and inclusive education team in the Faculty of Education and Social Work has designed and developed a highly adaptable teaching strategy.

Associate Professor David Evans, convener of the special and inclusive education designation, reflecting on outcomes to date “In essence, we pioneered an approach that allows outstanding students from metropolitan, rural and remote locations to attend together,” he said.

“If they are unable to make class on campus, they have the alternative to attend class remotely.

“We can actively engage students, no matter where they are located.

“In turn, multiple forms of delivery allow course to be tailored to participant need.”

The Faculty has a purpose built facilities where teaching takes place that allows students to attend class from home or work and still be able to contribute to seminars and workshops through the use of their web-cam or in-built camera on their computer or device.

Associate Professor Evans added that candidates have been generally positive about the experience.

“Students off campus, in particular, have been welcoming of the opportunity to experience a program that has generally been the privilege of students in the Sydney metropolitan area.

“Accordingly, students within Sydney have been appreciative of the facility to access classes when unable to attend classes on campus.”

There is also the added benefit of developing communities of support between on campus and off campus participants, something which is vital for the discipline.

“The broad range of personal experiences that participants bring when they are located in various sites is invaluable,” Associate Professor Evans said.

“As is building the capacity of teachers to address the diversity of student need in the classroom.

“The program effectively provides a platform for engagement that fosters a wider understanding within school education contexts about inclusive educational practices.”

Find out more about the Master of Education (Special and Inclusive Education)