Blended changes


To the Queen’s community: it’s time for a change. In our increasingly technology-driven society, we need our education to reform and adapt to innovation.

The Academic Planning Task Force and the Student Experiential Learning Task Force brought together by the Senate at Queen’s are looking to spearhead these innovations, but there are still countless technological advances that these groups have yet to explore. To start with, increasing class sizes leave room for distraction. Lectures are long, discussion is limited and it’s often difficult for students to stay focused in them. We need to move away from lecture-based learning and towards a blended format.

Courses such as FILM 240 are a prime example of the innovation Queen’s should further aim to champion. In the course, an application called Class Caddy was introduced, making the course material accessible to all students through their smartphones. Students are notified when new course material is uploaded and can access all of the content through their smart devices. Creating these models will let the students go at their own learning pace.

While Queen’s has been technologically ahead of other universities in some capacities, in others, such as platforms like Moodle, we’ve lagged behind. My professors have complained to me in the past about Moodle deleting their students’ information and not updating their marks properly.

As a result of these glitches, they have disregarded the use of the platform and have created their own website to host the material. It seems counterproductive that the admin is spending so much money on a software program that doesn’t even work properly.

It’s time for Queen’s to be a leader of innovation.

App-based learning should be introduced as an alternative to Moodle. Queen’s should create a faculty-specific template to push out course content. Students are already on their smartphones, so it only makes sense for the University to use this platform for educational purposes.

We can build on existing platforms such as TED-ed, a program that uses TED videos to educate students, then evaluates them on what they’ve learned. With a clean user interface, it engages students for short amounts of time, keeping their concentration through animations and inspiring educators but also through models that simulate particular learning environments interactively.

This model is one of the most advanced examples of blended learning to date since it actively evaluates students as they learn with multimedia.

These idea are by no means revolutionary or new; they simply haven’t been rightly executed at Queen’s yet. Everybody has great ideas, but execution is what separates the great from everybody else.

Ali Zahid is the Web and Graphics Editor at the Journal.


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