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BREAKING NEWS

Trustees see changes in learning

By Staff | Sep 17, 2008

The Iowa Lakes Community College Board of Trustees Tuesday saw just how much technology is changing learning.

In the Iowa Lakes Report, Mary Mohni, chief academic officer, introduced Theresa Zeigler, director of distance and global education, who talked about Internet and hybrid classes at the college.

“The learner is changing,” said Ziegler, noting how learners now like to get their information in small chunks, have classes that work around their schedules, and prefer “doing” to “knowing”. Today’s learners also prefer trial and error to logic and multi-tasking is a way of life. Today’s students hate delays, are practical problem solvers, and are more globally aware and connected to the information superhighway than ever before.

The challenge to instructors, said Ziegler, is to get students active and participating. Teachers also need to help develop a sense of communication, give and receive feedback, and help students better retain what they have learned.

To address today’s learner, instructors need to plan ahead more than before, said Ziegler. They also need to be highly organized, be more accessible to students, and be experts in maintaining communication. They must also be flexible and open to change.

New teachers, as a result, need to adapt to the traditional classroom and virtual classroom as well. They need to develop rich interactive content that meets the course objectives.

“On-line learning is not for every student and it’s not for every instructor,” said Zeigler.

Iowa Lakes student Amy Zadow said she has taken a variety of classes at the college.

“On-line classes are actually harder,” Zadow said. “I still like the classroom settings because there are some things you just can’t get in an on-line course.”

Jennica Ahrens said on-line courses worked well for her because she could do schoolwork evenings.

“I enjoyed my on-line classes,” Ahrens said. “They were a lot tougher than being in the classroom.”