I was planning to join the optional group for adult learning and assessment. However, I was down with flu for more than a week and I think the group is no longer active. Hence, I have decided to post my reflections in my e-journal instead. I am posting this under the commentaries section because this showcases my observations on the comments of my classmates in the different virtual classes I have attended.
As what Aries have said in response to Pon’s query, adult learning covers a wide range of students. To be more specific, I opted to focus on continuing and distance education.
Observable issues within a virtual class:
1. Interaction is often a problem. While there will be times when a teacher gets a class that is quite energetic and where students actively participate in discussions without need for encouragement, there will also be times when a teacher will be faced with the additional burden of having to encourage students to participate actively. Often, I would come across posts that read “The open thread discussion is not a place for posting your outputs. It is a place for discussing with the rest of the class.”
The asynchronous mode of discussion poses another problem. When students (who asked a peer a question) finally decides to move on to the next lesson or chapter, communication between them ceases. Thus, by the time his/ her peer replies, the student may have already moved on to another discussion forum and may no longer return to the previous one. This defeats the purpose of forum discussions as a venue for intellectual interactions, hence, we often hear teachers complain that students make discussion fora simply a means for submitting assignments or answers.
I wish that the school develop a prompting system that automatically notifies a student as soon as a reply (in answer to the question/s he/ she posted) is received. If only we can develop a notification system that links students to question and answer discussions, then learning will be more effective. (For example, a pop-up message saying “Hi Tina! Your classmate posted an answer to your question in thread discussion 2, click this link to return to that site.”
2. Student attitude is another problem when assessing adult learning. Teachers cannot imagine how students will react. I am surprised at how adult persons, professionals, react when they are not satisfied with the grades given them by their teacher or when classmates oppose their views. These people end up ignoring the rules of netiquette. All they care about is to express their grievances and act like brats – inconsiderate of whomsoever might get hurt. This gave me the idea of including values and character in the overall grading criteria in online learning.
3. Social media is now becoming a tool for teacher-bullying. There is a new trend nowadays. Bullies have leveled up. Rather than bully fellow students, they now actively talk behind their teachers’ backs via social networking sites. I am not an active Facebook user but I have heard about this problem from quite a number of friends. This makes me think twice about teaching. I hope our schools can be more proactive in addressing such issues. Schools should realize that they have to protect teachers as well. The disrespect shown by adult students toward their teachers makes me realize how immature adult students can be. It is ironic how we study the Theories of Assessment yet act with childish contempt every time we feel discontented with the way we are being assessed. If we fail to respect our teachers and classmates because of some issues on instruction and evaluation, it only shows that we have not learned even a bit from the speeches of Ms. Erica Goldson in the article “Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech” and of Mr. Alfie Kohn in “What Does It Mean to Be Well-Educated?”
Goldson, Erica, “Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech”
Kohn, Alfie, “What Does It Mean to Be Well-Educated?” retrieved September 18, 2013 from http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/welleducated