From something in mind to something in kind… NU case

My current study at MSc Programme at Nazarbayev University has given me a great opportunity to experience, enjoy and often challenge an effective combination of traditional and online learning. I have to admit that I have never done this type of learning and teaching before and I have discovered that both of these instructional approaches have important aspects in common. The main point for me is that I have the necessary support I need from the University professors and all of the dedicated staff in the classroom and online as well. Our Academic Advisors are willing to help us and navigate our academic career. Also, even being out of the university doors I have the access to university facilities and resources. However, the significant advantage of online courses is that I can take online classes wherever and whenever I want, what is a perfect match to my schedule as well as to the busy lifestyles of many other learners of the 21st century. Hereinafter, I would like to reflect briefly on how critical thinking can be taught through online discussions and how blogging can be used as an effective ‘web based communications tool’ (Williams & Jacobs, 2004, p. 232).

The main goal of any educational process and faculty is to provide learners with new and helpful skills and knowledge which they will be able to apply successfully in life. According to MacKnight (2000), one of the commonly chasing objectives of educational strategies is to contribute to learners’ analytical skills, intellectual growth and improve their critical thinking. These competencies will help them to comprehend, analyze, determine, qualify, and employ information or knowledge deduced from reasoning, considerations, experience, or feedback (MacKnight, 2000). In this case, “online communication offers the potential for collaboration as well as increased participation in the learning process, reflection, peer tutoring, monitoring of student learning as it is taking place, and extension of the classroom learning” (MacKnight, 2000, p. 39). That is exactly what I have experienced and faced with during the sessions at university. Working on different projects and tasks in cooperation with groupmates, meeting and discussing online, sharing ideas within the set groups sharpened our analytical skills and thinking and helped us to achieve better and higher results meeting all the deadlines and standards.

In terms of effective tools that can be used online in education sector Williams and Jacobs (2004) draw their attention and focus on ‘blogging’ – a “form of micro-publishing” (p. 232), which “has the capacity to engage people in collaborative activity, knowledge sharing, reflection and debate” Hiler (2003) as cited by Williams and Jacobs (2004, p. 232). From the research findings described in the article we can see that blogging is a good aid that can be used in addition to main subjects, as well as enrollment of students in this practice can help them to improve their knowledge and different skills. I am currently experiencing this exciting practice and, hopefully, I will benefit from it a lot as in these circumstances my level of knowledge, writing, reflection is under constant control of my advisors and professors.

References

Williams, J. & Jacobs, J. (2004). Exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces in the higher education sector. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 20(2), 232-247. Retrieved from http://ajet.org.au/index.php/AJET/article/view/1361/731

MacKnight, C. (2000). Teaching critical thinking through online discussions. Educasive Quarterly, 4, 38-41. Retrieved from http://eac595b.pbworks.com/f/macknight+2000+questions[1].pdf

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3 thoughts on “From something in mind to something in kind… NU case

  1. Dear Kairat,
    I totally agree with your point of view concerning the effectiveness of bloging in online learning, namely in our Master program in NUGSE. Developing our writing skills on a regular base with peer and tutour feedback empowers our stregths in academic writing, involving our critical thinking for analysis of variety od issues in education system. This experience is valuable indeed for thesis writing. Commenting our groupmates posts, we can learn how to write effectively, minimaze and avoid possible mistakes. Sharing with the audience our perspectives on the issue, we collaborate virtually, thus even being not in a classroom, we constantly keep in touch with other students, reading and repling to each others’ comments on posts.Reading other posts we can get more inspiration for deeper understanding of a topic through broad range of perspectives. Moreover, it it worth to add that combination of online and in-class learning provides us an invaluable opportunity to continue our carrier and grow profesionally according to time requirements…

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  2. Dear Kairat,

    Thank you for sharinfg your ideas concerning education online. It should be noted that there are two sides of this process: e-teaching for teachers and e-learning for learners. And the teacher should find a really good balance between these two. I claim that the teacher who teaches online should take into account not only his preferences but the learners’ interests as well. By “preferences and interests” I mean topic choice, accessibility to internet, computer skills, learners’ workload.

    I work as a teacher at school. I also try to implement at least some elements of online teaching. But I have to confess that it takes me a considerable amount of time to design tasks because there are no ready to use resources.

    I’d like to know your opinion about the probable difficulties for teachers and for students in implementing online education.

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  3. Super post, Kairat. This is a great example of clear, focused, organized, personal, thoughtful writing. Your mechanics of sentence structure, paragraphing, and citing is all spot on.

    I do have one thing to point out: “Hiler (2003) as cited by Williams and Jacobs (2004, p. 232)” When you are dealing with secondary sources, only cite the text you actually read. When you put Hiler (2003), the reader expects to find it in the reference list. Instead, just omit the date of the primary source. Yours should read: Hiler (as cited by Williams & Jacobs, 2004, p. 232). If we want the original, we’ll go to that article first anyway.

    Also, use “face” as a verb without “with”. Great job overall!

    5/5

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