In response to COVID-19 restrictions, TAFE SA’s IT program has been quick to transition to digitally enabled course delivery, ensuring learning can continue while everyone isolates safely at home.
IT lecturers and students are embracing the virtual classroom, with lectures and class discussions taking place on the Collaborate platform and course materials accessed via Learn, TAFE SA’s Learning Management System.
All of the program’s qualifications across digital media, IT support, networking and cyber security, software development and website development are being delivered remotely.
TAFE SA’s Frank Annese, Educational Manager – IT, says it’s been a natural progression for the IT program, which has been uploading course resources to Learn for some time and teaching external students, as well as live streaming some
He says the virtual classroom provided through Collaborate enables constant interaction and feedback for both students and lecturers.
“It replicates what a classroom is like with a subject expert, the lecturer, running the class. Students can raise their hands and ask questions,” he says.
“The lecturer can also set up a quick survey to check students are understanding the material and there are breakout rooms where students can have more of a one-on-one chat with the lecturer.”
Frank says the students, who are naturally interested in new technology and innovation, have responded well to digitally enabled delivery and the program area will continue using the delivery mode in the future.
“Given our current experience and the level of student engagement and feedback, we’re now moving forward with planning continued offerings of virtual classroom delivery,” he says.
“Some students are very confident in the virtual space. For those who aren’t, we’re developing a strategy to support them.
“COVID-19 restrictions have been demanding on everybody, but out of adversity comes innovation. It has forced us to be creative in our approach and the results will bring ongoing benefits.”
Altanir Da Silva Filho, who is studying the Certificate IV in Networking, has welcomed the move to digitally enabled delivery and says it is providing a positive learning experience.
“We have more contact with the lecturers, and they respond quickly to our questions,” he says.
“All the materials are online which is good because sometimes I prefer to push ahead in some subjects. It’s also good that our classes have been recorded so that if you’re unsure about something you can watch the video again.”
Altanir, who moved to Adelaide from Rio De Janeiro at the beginning of the year, has a background in telecommunications and wants to build on his existing skills to pursue a career in the IT industry.
He’s already taken a small step in that direction, helping his local church with their website.
“I told them I’m studying IT and they asked me if I could fix their website. Well, I was doing a little on the subject, some HTML, but I tried to learn more and after two weeks I built them a new website,” he says.
“I applied something that I learnt at TAFE and got results straight away. I’ve been impressed with how high tech everything is at TAFE SA. The software is up to date with industry and everyone has a high level of knowledge.”