Blended Learning

It’s a phrase that many students have undoubtedly heard many times at La Trobe. It simply means that there is a mixture of online learning, and face to face classroom education as well. As it is a mixed system of schooling, it seems almost fitting that it receives mixed reviews from students, its positives sky high, but its short comings almost tragically low.

Shannon Jayamaha is doing a science course, he tells me that most of his work at home “is reading, and reading, and reading. If [he] doesn’t have to read something from the text book, [he] has to read it from the internet. The thing [he is] doing is the same, but he just swaps between [his] computer and his book.”

Another friend of mine, Michael Pizzato, is doing media. He tells me that “most of the work at home is just watching a short YouTube video. It’s great, but most people don’t do it anyway.”

There are positives and negatives hidden within both of their statements. For Shannon’s case, it is obvious that fact that the learning is ‘blended’, is irrelevant as the internet is providing nothing but a new stance or way to read the same thing. However, this does mean that he can be reading on the go, learning his work to and from Uni on his commute. One of the guidelines on the La Trobe website for blended learning asks, “does the online learning environment complement – and not simply mirror – the classroom learning environment?” For Shannon, the internet is a mirror.

As for Michael, he has positive feelings towards the system. He doesn’t have to sit around reading a book for hours every night. It’s something simple, and he knows how long it’s going to take. That said, it’s true that almost no one watches the videos anyway. Would these people have read x chapter in y book if that had been their homework? Probably not, but the blended learning system doesn’t solve that issue.

The biggest worry about the system is its first guideline. “Is at least 25% of the student’s workload based solely in the online learning environment?” To make an overarching guideline like this ignores whether or not the internet and online work is really relevant to that specific subject or class. For something like media, it’s great. The work online can be to watch a video and discuss what was seen in class. For something like law or art (I don’t take either of these subjects so I am not certain), the internet doesn’t seem as relevant. It doesn’t seem like there should be a minimum quota, rather online learning should be implemented when it is only going to add to a student’s learning.

 

By James Wallace

 

Tyler’s Basic Tips for Public Speaking

Part of being a student means having to complete those dreaded oral presentations. Our resident public speaking wiz Tyler gives his top tips to becoming a confident speaker. Who knows maybe you’ll learn a thing or two and become a public speaking pro.

Make sure you subscribe here to Tyler’s channel for some more feel good vlogging.

 

 

By Tyler Trevaskis

Meg Takes Melbourne #04 – A city experience unlike any other.

I’ve walked down Bourke St Mall numerous times, become somewhat of an expert in using trams, eaten at a sushi restaurant in Swanston St and walked through the sand of St Kilda Beach. However, there was still one thing I needed to cross of my Melbourne Bucket List – attending the Dawn Service on ANZAC Day at the Shrine of Remembrance.

It’s become a tradition for me to attend the Dawn Service back at home in Ballarat. Although it might have been a pain to get up so early in the morning, there’s no other feeling that comes close to seeing the sun rise as the bugle plays and ‘The Last Post’ rings out into the silence of crowd.

Getting to relive the Dawn Service at the most popular place in Victoria was an experience like any other and one I will never forget. From waking up at 3:30am to catch a train into Melbourne from La Trobe, there was already a quietness that surrounded everyone who was attending the service. Walking up to the Shrine from Flinders St Station had an aura about it I had never encountered in Melbourne. I had become so used to wrapping my head around the hustle and bustle that the silence and darkness of the city was an all-new and alien world.

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45,000 people, dead silent. There was a particular eeriness about it that I couldn’t even describe. There was a new side of Melbourne I saw, one that seemed to only appear at this very moment every year.

It made me realise that, we as a community of Australians, have the ability to come and stand together for at least once out of our busy lives to commemorate those who lost their lives in war. I know, you’ve been taught about this since school, but to really live it and experience the ability for people to come together is one of the most surreal experiences.

As the sun rose the city began to return to the Melbourne I had become familiar with. Tram bells ringing, car horns tooting and the chatter of people never seeming to fade away. People began to return to their lives, as did I. But I will never, ever forget the feeling of standing in a crowd of thousands in the middle of a city, not one uttering a word, and the most deafening sound surrounding me – silence.

(Now onto a lighter note, I finally get to reveal my no-makeup-still-half-asleep-from-catching-the train-at-4am face in the picture below. Points for spotting the Menzies College/La Trobe pride.)

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By Meg Kennedy

HSPAS

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Photo: HSPAS

The Halal Snack Pack Appreciation Society, or HSPAS, is the ‘new kid’ on Facebook, yet it is one that has absolutely exploded onto the scene. This groups mission is simple: find and critique Halal Snack Packs. Never heard of a Halal Snack Pack? Well neither have most people. It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s exciting. A HSP is a combination of meat, cheese, sauce and chips, served in a very specific way. The chips go on the bottom, with the meat on top, this is then covered by the cheese, and then topped with sauce (usually garlic and chilli with some variations).

True to the nature of the snack pack, the group critiques HSP’s in a specific way also despite the fact that the page admins say that there need not be any mandatory rating system. There are 7 criteria that must all be rated from 1-10, and then an overall score on the same scale. First things first, the signage. This includes languages, clarity, and whether it is a neon sign or not. Then comes the service. Although a pretty self-explanatory criterion, high scorers usually refer to their customers as “brother” or “sister.”

Then there is how good the packaging is, this does not necessarily mean how good it looks, in fact quite the opposite. A Styrofoam package that holds everything well scores much better than anything else. Next comes the score of the meat, possibly the most important part of the score. Taste, texture, quality of meat, this is what it all comes down to. The sauce and cheese are occasionally rated as one, this includes how much there is and how good it is. Finally comes the chips. As they are beneath the meat, they can go disastrously wrong. It is an art form to be able to keep the chips tasty and crunchy under the heat and locked in by Styrofoam, and this is what separates the boys from the men.

Each of these criteria are followed by a brief comment, letting other snack packer appreciators know exactly what to expect from each store. There is also always a picture so that people can see it for themselves.

This Facebook group is truly exceptional. Much like the stalker space, the people are kind and genuine, all working together to achieve one goal; to find the best places to get a Halal snack pack. Just shy of 100,000 members, the group has faced exponential growth, pouring on dozens of thousands of people within the last few months alone.

I spoke to Ryan Pancho to find out the appeal.

“Well it’s amazing to just find so many people all on a page for the one thing, finding food. Each time I open Facebook, I see one, and I just start to crave it. I wish there was a kebab shop closer to my place so I could go there more often.”

Once you are down with the lingo of the page, you feel at home, and I thoroughly recommend that anyone who loves kebab meat at all should join this group. It’s truly remarkable, and its available everywhere.

 

By James Wallace

Morning in the Life of a Uni Student, a Cautionary Tale.

Have you ever had one of those days where everything just seems to go wrong?

Have you ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed? Maybe your takeaway coffee might have been too cold or burning your fingertips. Maybe your tram/bus/train was late or you watched it go past just as you got to the station. Unfortunately everyone has had one of those cringe-worthy days.

Sadly, last Thursday for me was one of those days!

The tram I take to uni is usually on time but for the first time it was late. Knowing that trams run every 10 minutes I patiently waited. When the tram was almost 20 minutes late, I started to get worried. I even checked tram bulletins to see if something had happened! I had to go into uni to film a news bulletin and an ad for group work, so I was awkwardly carrying a prop disco ball in a green bag! With a sigh of relief, the tram finally arrived!

If anyone is ever worried about delays or updates about getting to and from Uni, please use the Public Transport Victoria link (it is a lifesaver!): https://ptv.vic.gov.au/live-travel-updates.

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I sat down on the nearest seat. My left leg soon started feeling weird sensations. Thinking it was the awkwardness of the disco ball between my legs, I ignored it. As the tram travelled from Stop 67 to Stop 63, I discovered that a leaking drink bottle from the guy sitting next to me was drenching my favourite pair of jeans!

By the time the tram got to La Trobe, I was nearly 10 minutes late. With people waiting for me, I ran. I hadn’t run like that since the school athletics carnival in primary school, where I finished in last place! Running across the Agora to get to HU2, I tripped over in a spectacular fashion.

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It wasn’t one of those blink-and-miss-it falls. In a matter of a second or two, the following occurred: I yelled quite loud for 9am where everyone was getting their caffeine boost or eating breakfast. I didn’t let go of the green bag as I fell, so imagine my arm impersonating Warnie’s famous flipper. My heart jolted along with my foot. My knee grazed, as did my cheek as I squashed onto the pavement. I heard people gasp. Out of sheer embarrassment, I got up as quickly as I could. I didn’t suffer serious injuries, just a bruised knee and a rip in my new jeans, for which I am still grieving!

Also, thank-you to the one and only person who mouthed “Are you ok?” to me!

It was a day I don’t want to repeat!

As the weather is growing colder and the ground slippery, everyone please be careful around campus!

 

By Hayley Anderson

Open Mic Arvo @ La Trobe

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If you can sing a tune, beat a drum, bust a move or have any other skills that are just waiting to be showcased, then La Trobe University’s Open Mic Arvo is the place for you!

 

Providing a judgement-free platform for artists, the Open Mic night is a great location to get your confidence on the stage. The afternoon is held at the Eagle Bar on La Trobe’s Bundoora campus and kicks off around 4pm every Wednesday.

 

You’re bound to be greeted with a smile upon arrival by Jamal Blakkarly, the organiser and host of Open Mic Arvo and regular performer.

 

“I play most weeks. I tend to kick it off because no one really wants to start. I’ll fill gaps if there’s space but ideally if the event’s running well I shouldn’t play because there should be enough people without me.”

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The afternoon generally features acoustic acts but there are few limitations to who and what can be performed.

 

“We’ve had all sorts, we’ve had spoken word poets, we’ve had comedians, we’ve had saxophone players, we’ve had people coming up doing duets, solos, we had one guys with a whole lot of percussion stuff at one point. We try and for accommodate as much as possible.”

 

Open Mic Arvo celebrates creativity and provides students with an opportunity to gain experience and confidence.

 

“We actively reach out and encourage anyone who wants to do any kind of performance to come up, take the mic and have a go.”

 

Not only do students get a chance to try out their act but each performer is also entitled to a pint for their services!

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There is a warm atmosphere to Open Mic Arvo and a respect for all who are courageous enough to have a go on stage. It boasts a welcoming audience who are always happy to applaud new acts and regulars alike.

 

So get involved and come on down to the Eagle Bar this Wednesday! Perform for a pint or simply support your fellow students and enjoy an afternoon of free entertainment.

 

By Scarlett Maloney

Red Cross Blood Donation

Needles. They’re just one of those things that make some people’s skin crawl. It’s simply a ‘no’ in their eyes. Most people associate needles with the pain of an injection. It’s something they would only commit to rarely, such as those times you would have injections in certain year levels back at school.

For some however, the thought of needles draws forth the warm memories of cookies, milk boxes, and lollipops. These are the people that have donated blood before, and most likely on La Trobe’s very own doorstep.

I could by giving the good old emotional tug. The “it saves lives!” But these reasons are fairly evident even to those who haven’t considered donating blood at all. So what then, are the selfish benefits of donating blood? Well for starters, it is essentially a “get out of anything free” card. When first giving blood, you are notified that it will potentially take a day or two for you to recover it all, and that you shouldn’t do anything too physical over the coming days. Now I’m not guaranteeing it will work when someone says “can you do the dishes”, but there is a definitive chance. People like to be nice to those who are donating blood.

Photo: Red Cross

I asked some other first years why they gave blood, and received some fairly stock standard answers. Callum Stagg had this to say,

“Well it feels pretty good to be helping out the community. There are people that need blood, and it is something simple I can do to help them. It doesn’t take long, and it can save someone’s life, and that’s pretty cool.”

Of course, these community aspects are an important reason to give blood, but another donor, Shannon Jayamaha gives a different hook.

“When I ask people if they want to come and donate with me and my friends, I usually push the free food as much as possible. You have to wait around for a while after you donate, just to make sure you’re okay, and during that time there is a bunch of free food. Muffins, chips and biscuits. They sure know how to treat the people donating, I can tell you that for sure.”

I myself have donated several times, the first time being when I was in year 11. It’s something that I highly recommend, especially if you go with one or two friends. Some people may fear needles, but when you’re volunteering yourself for such a great cause, in order to help someone with leukemia, or someone that has just been in a fatal accident, and potentially save a life, these reasons can make the doubt seem insignificant and can be something that can help drive you to overcome your fear.

For more information on how you can donate read more at http://www.donateblood.com.au/

 

By James Wallace

Meg Takes Melbourne #01: ‘Just a small town girl, living in a slightly intimidating, yet exciting world…’

The night before I moved onto campus at La Trobe was one of the most stressful nights of my life. I remember tossing and turning, trying so hard to get to sleep, the reality finally setting in, that my routine of living on a small farm out in the middle of nowhere was going to be turned on its head completely.

I had only been into the city a few times a year to attend the odd concert or shopping trip, but thinking that the marvellous Melbourne would be right on my back doorstep 24/7 was both extremely exhilarating and deathly terrifying at the same.

(I know what you’re thinking. “Meg, what are you talking about? La Trobe is barely in the city!” I understand your concern, but my country logic revolves around the fact that if there is a tram near, we’re in the city.)

My transition into university was not going to be just an academic one, but a life one. I was about to become a resident of Menzies College, one of the residential colleges at La Trobe. I was lucky enough to have friends from high school moving onto campus as well, but even that couldn’t stop me from having an internal meltdown.

Some thoughts that passed my mind include but are not limited to –

How will I actually look after myself entirely?

Will people like me?

Will I be known as that weird girl on the floor who brought all her favourite novels with her and gets judged the rest of the year?

Fast forward a month later, and I can finally that I’m becoming a Melbourne local. Although the PTV app is my bible and I still feel nauseous by the amount of cars that surround me every time cross the road to get to Kingsbury McDonalds (#unilyf), I’m slowly, but surely getting there.

Living on college has given me the chance to make so many memories, even this early into the year, and ease me into the metro life. I have made so many close friends, shared hilarious, amazing experiences that I may or may not remember, and overall I finally feel like I’m home again.

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One of the many reasons I chose La Trobe as my university was because it does really remind me home, even if it’s in the city. Not just because of the beautiful, natural surroundings I get to see every day on campus; but of the welcoming, friendly atmosphere that has made this transition so much easier.

A new favourite view of mine is the glimpse of the city in the distance from the tram stop out the front of La Trobe. Poking out behind the silhouette of gum trees is a dazzling spectacle in the night. I might guilty be romanticising this idea, but I really think that it sums up what I’m feeling right now – remnants of my home in the natural bushland remain, but there it is; coming out behind the trees, the looming lights of the city ready for me to experience a new chapter in my life, something that I absolutely cannot wait to share.

By Meg Kennedy

 

Having trouble kicking goals?

So the first thing that you probably thought upon reading the title was, “I don’t play football!” But let me assure you, this about kicking your own goals.

On my way home from University games, I bought a little book called “The Decision Book” by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler, which is packed of really handy strategies and models for strategic thinking, and it reminded me of a handy little goal setting strategy that I learned a few years ago, it’s quite popular so you’re likely already familiar with it.

It’s called SMARTER goal setting.

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SMARTER is an acronym for a series of tasks involved in setting, planning and completing goals, and here’s what they are:

Specific – The goal must be specific. Having an ambiguous or generalised goal, which is important for refining and outlining exactly what you hope to achieve, and the things are involved in completing it, e.g. “I will eat healthier” is too open ended, instead, try for “I will create a weekly meal-plan full of nutritious and healthy food” or something similar.

Measurable – Goals are quantifiable, and should be able to have their progress measured. Having a measurable goal is important for understanding your progress: How far have I come? How far have I got to go? What things do I need to do in order to maintain my progress? What things need to be adjusted to improve my progress?

Achievable – This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Is your goal achievable? What things do you need to change in your behaviour or attitude to help you achieve your goal? What skills, financial capacity, attitudes and abilities do I need to complete my goal? Naturally, the length of your goal will impact on how achievable it is, but we’ll get to that later.

Realistic – This is where you need to have some honest reflection. On my wall I have a piece of paper that reads: “Long-shot goal: 2020 Olympics”. Yeah, I’ve considered trying to make the path into the 2020 Australian Olympics Baseball team, but if I sit down and have an honest reflection, it isn’t realistic for me. But that being said, almost anything is accomplishable if you give enough hustle and work towards completing it done.

Time-bound – Set a time limit. Mark a date on your calendar, when must you complete your goal by? Naturally, different goals will have different lengths of time to be completed, e.g. short and long-term goals. A short-term goal is something that can be completed soon, and with (perhaps) quite little effort. Long-term goals are usually more difficult, have more variables that require time to be completed; but this is entirely dependant on what you want to achieve.

Evaluate – Pretty straight forward. Evaluate your progress and barriers that are in your way, taking the time to adjust to those barriers to ensure that you can keep progressing with your goal.

Re-do – If you didn’t complete your goal, or perhaps didn’t complete it to the standard that you would have liked, sit down and put your goal through the SMARTER process again!

So, hopefully with this strategy in mind, you can apply it to goals of all kinds, sporting, personal, professional, academic, you name it!

Tyler Trevaskis

LTU Focus on Swimming

Swimming at LTU

LTU Focus on Sports

Our LTU Focus this week is on John, a 19 year old swimmer for the La Trobe team. John balances his swimming with a Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Podiatric Practice. Now that the Australian Uni Games are over, it’s great to hear about John’s experience participating in various games throughout his degree so far!

John at one of the previous Uni Games

When did you first start swimming/competitively swimming?

I started learning-to-swim when I was 8 years old. Started swimming competitively at the age of 10.

Why did you decide to join the La Trobe team?
I decided to join the La Trobe swim team because I believed that it was a great opportunity for me to get more involved in the community and meet new people. Additionally, I was very keen on representing La Trobe at the university games.

What was your favourite part about the Australian Uni Games?

The most exciting part about the university games is being able to represent the university and race against swimmers from all other universities across Australia. I [love] the experience of travelling together as a team and the social events in the program.

What is the best part about swimming with La Trobe?
From my own experience thus far, the best part about the swimming club is that it models a healthy safe environment, which caters for all swimming level abilities (i.e. beginner > competitive athlete)

What would you say to other first year students who are thinking of joining a sports team at La Trobe?

I would definitely urge other first year students to join up to any sports team at La Trobe. It’s not only a great opportunity to stay fit and healthy, but more importantly there is the potential to build more social connections and possibly develop life-long friendships.