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When the horse was put before the cart...

One up for 'Academia'!

LAST WEEK, I THOUGHT ASSIGNMENT 2 was going to be a 'piece of cake' when i found a pedagogical report submitted by a high-level study team in our institution in May 2001. However, confusion quickly set in as i tried to re-organise its contents in accordance with Steeples' Pedagogical Framework.

Now, am i going to write from the perspective of an acad staff (which i am not) or from that of a facilitating ID centre (which i am part of)? Just which parts belong to (1) Philosophy, (2) High Level Pedagogy (HLP), (3) Strategies and (4) Tactics? Some parts, such as Constructivism and Problem-Based Learning, fit into (2) and (3) respectively like a glove. Certain parts seem to belong more to tactics than strategies.


Others, such as Flexible Learning and "Technology-enabled", seem to be in one another's places. From the report, it seemed that "Technology-enabled" was the HLP that prompted the introduction of a Flexible Learning strategy. The directive from the top could have gone something along this line, "Others have started doing this. So, get on the e-learning bandwagon quick, in case we fall behind the pack."

This is probably why when i first joined the institution two years ago, a frequent refrain of management personnel was, "We've forced thousands of students to buy notebook PCs. The value of their purchases is in millions. Now, we have to ensure that the academic staff make good use of technology in their teaching in order to justify these massive expenses."

Academic staff, in turn, are often unconvinced that using technology would really enhance the quality of their teaching. Even if they are convinced, finding suitable uses of technology is often not easy. But then, i probably shouldn't be complaining. If things were not so, i could be out of job!

Nevertheless, upon reflection, this top-down approach (instead of a bottoms-up approach) to managing teaching and technology is fairly common among companies and educational institutions. The problems created are similar to one that J. mentioned in an online discussion, "Our director is a firm believer that if you put a course online then why not have 500 students instead of 25 in each class?" Certainly rings a bell when i think of a past experience with an MNC. As B. put it in his reply, "You know it, I know it...why aren't WE making the decisions?"

Truly interesting what a simple application of Steeples' pedagogical framework reveals.

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by tree#138680 on Sat Jun 14 03 9:40 am | profile

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