Reading through the different frameworks we’ve looked at so far, I find that the seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education speaks to me the strongest. There’s no doubt that the SECTIONS framework from Bates and Poole also resonates, but some of the elements are more focused on institutional and managerial aspects. These are exactly the kinds of issues I dealt with as a mechanical engineer and operations manager, and less so in my present circumstances as a secondary school classroom teacher.
With the Seven Principles, I really appreciate the attention given to encouraging contact between students and faculty (teachers). I immediately recognize the asynchronous communication that Chickering and Erhrman describe in the teaching that I have done. For example, it was somewhat common for me to speak with a student during class time and agree that some type of help would be beneficial prior to an upcoming assignment. However, despite that I believe I created an open, safe and approachable relationship with my students, it was very rare that a timely and constructive dialogue would occur between me and my students outside of class hours. However, by effectively implementing a forum/chat/email system (or similar), I would hope that after-class communications could become very beneficial and a drastic improvement upon the current face-to-face encounters which are quite limited.
Closely tied to the above is the principle of giving prompt feedback. Tools like the Blackberry epitomize the importance and usefulness of being prompt in responding to peers, bosses and subordinates in the workplace, and I think this analogy carries straight over to education. From my own studies, I know that I really appreciate timely feedback to questions that I have. There are a few key benefits to being prompt. First, it gives each person the highest likelihood of dealing with questions and answers in an efficient manner. Secondly, being prompt is the best way to ensure that queries are discussed while the thoughts are fresh in one’s mind.
By using a system and framework that allows for strong student / teacher contact in a prompt manner, the students will be encouraged and empowered to be proactive in their learning.