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December 14, 2010

The Other Kind of Module

Having now had two modules specific to MBE, and two that were not, I am absolutely certain that I picked the right course for me. CBE and PIUSS were run and presented in a way that was quite innovative and unique to me: I can barely recall a dull moment, other than occasionally perhaps during repetitive group presentations! ;-)

FACS was actually really interesting once we got into it. The pre-work was soul-destroying and full of innacuracy that made it difficult and frustrating to learn from, but the tutors made a lot of the contact time so interactive that it made up for it. That said, there were certainly a lot of times when we lectured to (rather than partners in a dialogue) for long periods that put me to sleep. The element of learning by doing was there though.

Having just endured ReMe 1, I remembered why I didn't enjoy most of my undergraduate degree here. So much of it was set up in the same way. A single lecturer attempting to 'deliver' material to 300 tired, bored students, 80% of whom probably spent more time fiddling with their phone than keeping up with what was going on (I include myself here), all against a backdrop of 100 mini-conversations at any given time. I don't think there was a single lecturer who didn't have to pause or ask for quiet more than once, which is rarely the case when people are engaged.

Obviously, from a logistical viewpoint, it probably has to be this way. When you need to get the same information across to so many people, how else can you do it? But while it might be fast and efficient, it is certainly not effective as a means of conveying information in a useful way. Plus, a lot of people have probably been turned off from getting into their literature review, or are not scared at the scope of the task ahead.

So, was it a waste of time and effort? No, of course of not. What I can say - and it's not a bad thing, maybe it was their true purpose all along - is that at least I didn't have to try and read through all that information in one go myself. I feel I have a basic overview of what is required, and where to go to learn more. But I think the lecture style of teaching is outdated, and not really fit for purpose in general.

To add balance here though, the mindmapping session was great - not because the concept is new (it couldn't possibly be to anyone on MBE), but because it opened it up in my mind from being a brainstorming tool, to something you can actually use to structure sections, PMA's, projects, etc. The aspect of the software that allows you to effectively create a full writing plan when you export to word is pure genius!

Overall, it makes me so thankful for the Learning Environment the MBE tutors have developed. Probably, because it's actually possible, and even quite likely, that you will learn something within it!

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