Professional learning online: the student experience

We asked some of our students to share their experience of using our professional learning platform. Craig, Stephen and Michael are currently studying towards the PDA in Inclusiveness with tutor Carol Boyle.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience?

Craig: I would say I gained a lot of knowledge and confidence from this experience, from mentors and other learners. Studying online has been a good experience for me; it’s handy as I could log in within my office, and access all materials from own work desk.

Michael: The online element of the course could have been problematic for a blind user, however we were able to work around this and by the end of the course I was able to engage as much as anyone else. Studying online meant that I could be working at my desk and five minutes before the class started I was able to put my work away and enter the online classroom and participate in the class. As soon as the class finished I was able to quickly return to the work I had been doing previously, meaning my learning experience did not impact on my work performance.

Stephen: Learning online has been a very positive experience so far. The welcoming atmosphere created by staff and the course tutor has filtered through to attendees and helped to create a positive and collaborative atmosphere in which to learn. I found it very easy to communicate with other colleagues using the chat and the online forums, and through these I picked up some useful pointers.

What would you say to a colleague thinking of undertaking the PDA course in the future?

Craig: I would definitely recommend the PDA to colleagues; it’s a great qualification which brings confidence, builds knowledge and a great incentive to bring skills learned to the workplace.

Stephen: Jump in and enjoy it. Do not be nervous about chatting with people online during the course. We all have different areas of strength and expertise. The course is about expanding your knowledge and skills for the purposes of your job and if you fully participate you will make some great contacts from colleagues working in many different areas of education, who will be happy to help you in the future.

Michael: I have already encouraged a number of my work colleagues to participate in this course as it does not take over your life in the way a face-to-face course can. I have made them aware that the classes are extremely well structured, and gives everyone an opportunity to participate. I would also say that when offered additional opportunities to speak to presenters, etc, then take these as they augment the information given in the class and help you gain a better understanding of the topic.

Be prepared to work hard, as the topics are interesting and will draw you in, however the level of work expected is high, and subsequently you need to be willing to put time in to take better rewards out.’

Craig Lindsay is Additional Support Officer, Perth College; Stephen Hume, is Learning Inclusion Advisor, at Glasgow Clyde College and Michael McGhee is Disability Adviser at the University of the West of Scotland.

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