University provides teaching and learning experiences unique to any other method of learning. The roles and responsibilities of both students and lecturers are diverse and require a different approach than what most are accustomed to. In the university setting students are required to display the ability to work independently, see different perspectives, be creative and to analyse their research; not just repeat facts. Lecturers operate as facilitators to provide access to the information that students require, rather than just teaching the content.
Successful learning is active learning. This is one of the key ideas that students are led by upon commencing University level studies. Students are encouraged to research relevant information to their study topics, process this information, and develop their own critical thinking and analysing skills to display knowledge of subject content. This independent learning approach encourages students to be more effective learners. Students are provided with various study tools including: lectures, tutorials, workshops, and online study groups.
These tools allow a student to develop a framework of the key course concepts, to receive indication of where further knowledge can be found, and to be shown multiple points of view on difficult or controversial topics. Students are expected to develop their own voice and use their opinions on subject content to present a position backed up by evidence. An important key to a students’ success is that they are active in their learning tasks and that they enjoy completing them.
A student devoid of a love for their subject is destined to fail. “Teaching is the critical profession. A teacher influences every person who goes on to further study, training or employment” thus the role of the lecturer is an important one. The role of a lecturer is to outline major ideas of subject content, provide reference to further readings, and indicate areas that students should use critical thinking and analysing skills in order to develop opinions and see different perspectives.
Quite importantly, a lecturer also poses a number of questions to students that requires them to undertake further research and develop the idea by implementing these above mentioned skills. This improves a students’ ability to be responsible for their own learning. Education needs to provide more than just learning so by encouraging a student to take such an active approach in their own study a lecturer is teaching the vital skills of responsibility and time management.
Whatever educational technique a lecturer uses, the key concept is that students are encouraged to explore the issue fully, develop skills to explain concepts and link this knowledge to other concepts and theories. “Knowledge is constructed by learners as a result of their experience”. I work most productively as an independent learner, hence; the style of teaching provided by lecturer’s suits me immensely as I am able to manage my study time more efficiently and work it around my daily commitments.
Learning to effectively manage my study time without constant input from a teacher (lecturer), and how to balance this with my other commitments is a key factor to my success, and I feel that this is the area that I will most excel in. Even so, this does not mean that I have not felt apprehensive undertaking independent study at a university level, as it is quite the steep learning curve. This is due to the fact that I have previously only studied at a TAFE level and also that I have a young son who, understandably requires quite a large amount of my time.
I do believe that as quoted above, the knowledge of how to perfect my study and learning skills and how to adapt to the lecturer-teacher relationship will be constructed as a result of experience and practice. Having come from a TAFE background I am used to the concept of a teacher as the sole educator and distributor of course content. I am concerned that it will take me a while to adjust to a lecturer who initiates independent learning, as I am used to being reliant on the teacher-student relationship for support if I am not grasping the course content.
However, I retain information best when I read through the content myself and summarise what I believe to be the most important aspects so I believe that independent learning is by far a better approach for me as it will encourage me to learn the course content and develop vital research skills. Through continued learning and development, I aim to achieve the best possible results in balancing my studies with my other commitments. I will need to ensure that I maintain my motivation to complete my work each week and have assignments completed on time, as I will not have a teacher constantly checking my progress.
Procrastination will be my biggest downfall. To ensure that I stay focused and do not lose motivation, I will allocate certain times for work, rest and play. In conclusion, I believe that the approach of independent learning instilled by lecturers is a positive one; and one that I will benefit greatly from. By effectively and pro-actively using the techniques taught by lecturers to research, analyse, and present a position, combined with my own dedication and ensuring I balance my time appropriately; I believe that I can be successful at university.