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

 

Get ready for Semester Two!

Hey everyone,

I hope all you had a wonderful break and are feeling relaxed and pumped for the next semester. For those who follow this awesome blog regularly, you may remember stumbling across one of my earliest posts, where I interviewed three lovely ladies about starting University. Well, I was able to catch up with two of the lovely ladies once again to sit down and have a chat about their first semester experiences, and how they are feeling going into semester two!

Lucy

How do you feel going into your second semester compared to when you started back in March?

I personally feel a lot better about going into my second semester, because in semester one I was struggling with the workload that I was given, and in semester two, I decided to cut down my classes, so I would have longer to study in each of them.

What ideas about uni life did you have when you first started and have they changed?

I thought that the change from high school to university would be hard and stressful, and that was true for me, but I was able to find things to de-stress, like reading and listening to music.

You mentioned the first time we spoke about being unsure of how you’d fit into the university lifestyle. How do you feel about that now?

It isn’t a worry anymore, because when you join your classes, you start to interact with people and it is very easy to make friends, since you are all going through the same thing.

If you could go back to March, what advice would you give yourself?

I would have told myself to withdraw from one of my classes, because then I may have had a chance to do better in class, which would have then allowed me to do better on my exams.

A lot of new students worry about the stresses of balancing study, work and “me-time”, with your experiences so far, what is your best advice to those worrying about this?

I would tell all the people worrying about this, is to just always allow for some “me-time”, because if I didn’t have the time to just relax, I would have been so sick of studying, which would have lead to me procrastinating.

Taking a few minutes to listen to some music, or even reading a book, allowed me to have a break, which made me more productive.

You initially said that the idea of travelling every single day for uni was a little bit daunting. After doing it for a whole semester, have your feelings changed?

Once you get used to the idea of travelling every day, it really becomes no big deal. Since I travelled on the train, I could just relax and read a book and listen to some music, and it made the time fly.

What are three things you’re excited for this semester?

I am excited to start my new subjects and to have more time on each of the classes, so I can get a better score than last semester.

I am also excited to see if I improve in my classes, since I dropped a few classes, which will help me determine if I will continue next year.

Lucky last: now that you’ve had some experience as a university student, give one line of advice for new students and explain La Trobe Bendigo in three words!

If you are struggling with the work load, I definitely recommend talking to the career councillor ladies!

In three words, I would say that La Trobe is a “very amazing experience”.

Jayne

How do you feel going into your second semester compared to when you started back in March?

I feel as if I am more prepared and know a lot more about how uni works which is very reassuring.

What ideas about uni life did you have when you first started and have they changed?

When I first started uni, I expected that there would be a lot of work involved and that it would be much different to high school, and it certainly was.

If you could go back to March, what advice would you give yourself?

I would tell myself to not stress out over the little things and make sure I balance uni, work and social/ free time more effectively so I don’t get stressed.

You initially said that the idea of travelling every single day for uni was a little bit daunting. After doing it for a whole semester, have your feelings changed?

Some days when you have had a big day of classes it’s nice to have the trip home as a break but at the same time you just want to get straight home and relax.

 

So there you go guys, these girls are loving their time at La Trobe Bendigo, as am I. I couldn’t think of anything better to be doing with my life! If you are considering life after high school and you aren’t sure if University is right for you, comment below and I will do my best to help you guys with your decisions!

For those of you already living the uni life, I hope this semester is a great one.

Bianca.

Looking for a way to de-stress this Uni break?

Fellow bloggers,
Holidays are almost upon us, and that means a time for some much needed R&R. After all the stress of exams, getting assignments in and lacking some serious sleep, we all need to treat ourselves to a little bit of fun and R&R these holidays.

I have combined a great list of ways to de-stress from home or your room on res! All of these are super easy and cost free!

  • Read a book. For all those book lovers out there, there is no better feeling then sitting down a reading a book you ACTUALLY want to read. Take some time out from those strenuous text books and treat yourself to a good old novel.
  • Have some quiet time to yourself. After running around like busy bees for 4 months, its time to treat yourself to a little ‘me’ time. Nothing helps a person de-stress more than being alone in a quiet area doing whatever it is you want.
  • Treat yourself. After all that hard work you put in to your assignments, you deserve to spend a little bit extra on yourself. There is no better motivation to continue doing well than splurging on yourself as a reward. Also, shopping has been proven to help de-stress! It’s a win-win really.
  • Hang out with old friends. For those who live on Res, the holidays are a great time to head back home and catch up with everyone. Hanging with old friends is a great way to de-stress whilst catching up on all the lastest news.

Whilst some of this may not apply to you – as you may be doing one of La Trobe’s many winter courses – I hope you all have a great break. I’m sure you all need it and deserve it. Congratulations on making it through your first semester First Years, and may you continue to succeed!

Cheers,
Bianca !!

Welcome to La Trobe!

La Trobe Agora

La Trobe Bundoora – Agora. Photo credit: Olivia Larobina

Congratulations on becoming a student at one of La Trobe’s beautiful campuses! Whether you’re straight out of high school, returning to studies later in life, or just making a change, we hope you love La Trobe as much as we do.

Our aim is to develop the blog into one hat all La Trobe students, -past, future and present- with experiences and stories can relate to. We hope everyone enjoys reading our First Year Blog, and look forward to some of you potentially joining as bloggers for 2015.

There will be some changes to the blog this year, namely in the style of content. We want to allow bloggers to have much more creative freedom, giving them the power to write about topics that they are interested in. We want to shift the blog’s focus from being purely about advice and uni updates, to including personal anecdotes about positive experiences at La Trobe.

Share what you love!

Whether you’re interested in sports or fashion, entertainment or social justice, events or interviews, we want you to blog about it’s a part of your first year experience.

So if you study at Bendigo look out for Tom, and if you study at Bundoora look out for Olivia. We’ll be around recruiting new bloggers to join us this year.

We’ll keep you updated once recruitment officially begins. For now, enjoy O-Week 🙂

Holiday musings

Over the Mid Semester break I found a new internet obsession, one that I really don’t feel so bad looking at when I know I’m meant to be doing work. Photographer Brandon Stanton starting taking photographs of people in New York in the summer of 2010, since then the ‘Humans of New York’ project has flourished and now includes quotes and short stories from the people he has photographed. If you haven’t checked his website out then I strongly suggest you do!

The website has everything, images and quotes from the young and old that will make you laugh one minute and cry the next. Most of the time though, it puts a lot of things into perspective, reading about survivors of war, people who are struggling to fit into society and people who have come from nothing and worked hard to make their lives what it is now has made me realise how lucky I am to live the life I do. It makes you appreciate our country, freedom of speech, our access to education and basic necessities and if you’re like me, a supportive and loving family.

If you’re looking for something to cure your boredom then I urge you to check out his website, Facebook or Twitter page, it’s amazing what you can learn from strangers in everyday life and it has definitely made me more grateful for everything I have.

I hope you also take something away from it.

Below is the link to the website

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/

Gabby

Changes to La Trobe

La Trobe is undergoing a transformation which is going to affect its students in various ways. This means if you are currently enrolled you will still be able to complete your subjects and course that you are enrolled in – this applies to all students, irrespective of your campus.

You will also be able to use the same subject information in the online handbook for future semesters. Please note next year’s subjects will be available in the handbook from October.

la trobe

Some of your courses will be affected by this transformation because a small number of course are being withdrawn. If this is your course you’ll be contacted by your Faculty in late August – early September to advise of the change and reconfirm that you will be able to study your course to completion and to discuss your individual study plan if need be.

For full details on the changes head to the FAQ section of the Future Ready page. If you are concerned about the continuation of particular majors or any of your subjects (undergraduate, postgraduate and Higher Degree by Research), it’s a good idea to speak with your faculty to discuss your concerns and options.

Furthermore La Trobe is planning to improve the way services are provided to students by using a new student services model that will give us a wider choice of channels to access, including greater face-to-face, phone, email and online chat services.

The university promises to provide a new, comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) database that can be accessed online 24/7. Ensuring all your questions are answered, so that you are not being bounced from one point to another.

Another change that La Trobe is undergoing is its regional campus engagement. The main change is this area is that the university will be looking at how they operate in the regions. This means being more creative and tailoring subjects & courses for local delivery with online forms, and blending learning models to offer quality, flexible and immersive online experiences, in conjunction with imperative face-to-face teaching and student support.

Lastly, as students there is the opportunity to work with other local education institutions in the regions, to share facilities and plan courses – particularly with the local TAFEs we are co-located with.

To understand more about La Trobe’s transformation head to the university’s Future Ready page.

Open day today at Shepparton campus

Experience the wonderful  Shepparton campus for yourself, get useful advice on courses and subjects and find out everything you need to know about starting at La Trobe in 2015.

What you need to know:

Time: 4 -7pm

What to bring:  your brain and questions

On the day:

 Download the Lost on Campus app

Find out how to get to Open Day sustainably.
Get social online: Share your Open Day experience, get help or ask a question.

Get mobile on the day with free wi-fi.

New semester buzz

Does anyone else get excited about a new semester? I find myself anticipating the arrival of a new semester, especially after such a long period of time where I didn’t know what to do with myself.

A new semester always arrives with the promise of new beginnings, of new friendships and relationships, of learning something new and experiencing things I didn’t experience the semester before.

For a while everyone is excited. People smile a little brighter and talk a little more. Everyone tries new things and pushes their boundaries a little further than before. This period doesn’t last long, but it is a time I love.

It is a time brimming with promises and opportunities that can all become reality if we take the initiative to seize them.

The excited buzz around the campus shall slowly fall to hum as people close themselves off in their own world once again, becoming comfortable with their friends, new and old, and no longer take the initiative to reach out until the next year.

When I sense this happening it saddens me but because this happens for a short period of time is why I grow so excited. All good things must come to an end. However, we aren’t there yet.

So let’s embrace this time and enjoy it to its fullest. Let’s enjoy the buzz before it quietens to a hum.

Ashlee Bodger

Welcome Latrobians !

A warm welcome back to those students who are entering their second semester, and a big welcome to new La Trobe students!

If you’ve just joined us and you’re not sure how things work, don’t freak out! Settling into uni life is easy, there are loads of handy resources and information on the New Students section of the La Trobe site, so make sure you check it out!

LT

Here’s a quick breakdown of a few essential tips which you’ll need to know to survive second semester:

  • If you’re new to uni it’s a good idea to get Ready4Uni at La Trobe’s online orientation. It basically helps you make that transition from ordinary boring life to exciting uni life!
  • It’s no secret that life as a student isn’t easy. It involves managing your time, generally living on a budget and making new friends (if you don’t want to be a loner, which, let’s be honest that’s pretty much everybody). Check out how to be not only an exemplary student but also maintain a decent social life at our Life as a student page.
  • Some top tips from experienced students – Don’t be afraid to ask for help, get involved with student clubs (after all isn’t that what uni’s all about?!), go to classes and manage your workload. Get inspired by reading more smart and practical tips from La Trobe’s experienced students here.  We promise you’ll be thanking us later.
  • Finally, the new student checklist is a must for confused or curious students, check it out and get excited!

We hope you have an enjoyable second semester and we look forward to hearing what you get up to! Feel free to share your La Trobe first year experiences with us by emailing newstudents@latrobe.edu.au

Have a happy and safe second semester (: