Achieving synergies through generic skills: A strength of online communities
AbstractEducators are often torn between impositions of the institution in which they work and the imperatives of their individual courses or units and the impact this tension might have on student satisfaction with the learning experience. It is common to hear that students must graduate with multiple generic attributes or skills, yet these skills may not be within the gamut normally required in a specific undergraduate unit. This paper reports on an attempt to integrate both University sanctioned or top down generic skills and an instructor's organic or bottom up desirable skills in a multimedia unit at an Australian university, and the impact this has on student satisfaction. Specifically both asynchronous and synchronous tools were used to facilitate online community characteristics, in turn usable to foster the generic skills of collaboration, communication and problem solving. Results reveal synergies between the possibly divergent and potentially opposed goals of the university and the classroom. This paper demonstrates the ways that the conscious promotion of an online community to simultaneously assist achieving both the unit learning outcomes and prescribed generic skills, caused no evident conflict for student participants.
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