Mixed-mode learning for students of school counselling

Year: 2005

Author: Campbell, Marilyn, Frost, Denise, Logan, Joanna

Type of paper: Refereed paper

In a core unit in the Queensland University of Technology’s Education Masters degree, teachers training to become school counsellors are required to learn to assess children with learning and/or behavioural problems. Students enrol in the semester long unit in “block” mode, whereby face to face contact in the unit is limited to one block session of five days. After this period, they become distance learners, assessed by assignments due later in semester. This format poses pedagogical challenges. Deep learning, a desired student learning outcome, did not appear to be occurring. Furthermore, students felt isolated, in that they had lost the collegial support of the community of learners which they had formed during the intensive teaching block period. The goals of this educational intervention, were to engage students in deep learning throughout the semester and to extend the collaboration of the intensive block in a mixed-mode environment. To overcome these challenges it was necessary to design an authentic assessment task that would enhance the students’ learning as well as provide opportunities for collaboration. This was accomplished by conducting assessment on-line with an authentic, collaborative task using videos, discussion lists and chat rooms.