Why do we need tutors for online courses?

I work as a tutor for an online training provider and we are often asked, “what is the point of a tutor if they are working online?” In this article, I aim to answer that question. Obviously, it is futile to imply that we are necessary for a student’s success in passing their exams, but I do believe we do play a valuable part in their success and satisfaction. It has certainly been my experience that the greater the interaction with the tutor, the greater the chances the student will have a better experience with the course and, therefore, more likely to pass the first time. Where an online course can often fail, is in contextualising the content and making it relevant to the student’s experience and prior knowledge. By getting to know the student, even if it is through a few emails, we can really help them relate their learning to real-world examples and contextualise the technologies they encounter, both in the course and in the real world.

It is also important to give assurances and confirmation of the students learning journey. Creating confidence in the student’s ability to learn is a crucial foundation for building trust between the student and the information they are learning from the course. The sterile environment of non-contextualised learning online can really be enhanced by human interaction and affirmation. Without, the student can feel alone and unsure they are actually learning. Uncertainty and isolation can lead to failure to finish the course and create an adverse learning journey they will put them off future learning. It doesn’t have to be an isolated negative learning journey, it can be turned around by tutor support.

I could cite hundreds of articles that posit we tend to learn in different ways and in different styles – visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary. Granted, online learning covers much of that, and video tutorials can also cover many of those styles that text-based learning cannot. I would like to add an eighth style – contextualised. The majority of the exams for CompTIA, CIW, and Microsoft are based on the technologies they cover and how to implement them correctly as a solution to a problem. They are not about learning the meanings of acronyms and answering verbatim what they have read. If you are unfamiliar with the technologies you are learning, it is very difficult to contextualise why and when you would employ certain technologies with other technologies to solve the problem. In learning what an acronym can do and why we would use it, the meaning will become apparent in a multiple-choice question anyway. Let’s face it, how many “professionals” remember the exact meaning of all those acronyms they use daily? But, we all know how to use them and when to use them.

To “contextualize something [is] to consider something in relation to the situation in which it happens or exists (Oxford Learners Dictionary).

I have taught all age groups and abilities during my time as lecturer, teacher and now a tutor and I can safely say the most challenging and yet rewarding part was contextualising the learning journey. For me, code is a prime example. Every student wants to dive head first into code and get things going by building the next breakthrough app. Some students can just do this, but most cannot and will falter because they do not understand the theory, structure, and context. Every program is based on an algorithm of some sort. Even if you do not take the time to build an algorithm, one can be applied to the code. I think it essential that students at least understand the principals of algorithms and structure before they code. The program needs reason and it needs context or you just start building unstructured code. If you understand the basics of an algorithm, you understand the blocks and the separate functions/components needed to construct well-formed code. A tutor can help with that. A tutor can feedback best practice, context, and industry trends. A Boolean eLearning platform cannot.

Contextualised learning is not just about placing the technologies to help the student better understand. It is also about how you relate the learning to the individual student, so they can better learn. The very nature of eLearning means we can have students from any background. A generic eLearning platform cannot, by its Boolean nature, explain all things to all people. A tutor, however, can have a blinking good try! Trying to break down the learning journey into a voyage the student can understand and follow is invaluable, and I would argue, only achievable by contextualised learning from a tutor.

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I hope this article has gone some way in helping you understand the importance of contextualised learning. If it has…please LIKE, SHARE or FEEDBACK the post. Thank you.

About the Author, – Dr Richard Haddlesey is the founder and Webmaster of English Medieval Architecture in which he gained a Ph.D. in 2010 and holds Qualified Teacher Status relating to I.C.T. and Computer Science. Richard is a professional Web Developer and Digital Archaeologist and holds several degrees relating to this. He is passionate about the dissemination of research and advancement of digital education and Continued Professional Development #CPD. Driven by a desire to better prepare students for industry, Richard left mainstream teaching to focus on a career in tutoring I.T. professionals with real industry-ready skills that matter at The Training Room.

#ttrIT #ttrcareerinIT #ttrLearnToCode

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No more ICT…….Please!

It was not until 2010 that The Royal Society, based on information from Ofsted and Microsoft (among others), set up an Advisory Group, Chaired by Professor Steve Furber FRS . The reports first recommendation was to stop using the acronym ICT, yet here we are – 7 years later – still using IT! Why? #ttrLearnToCode

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Crossing the Digital Platforms in WebDev

HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript undoubtedly make creating cross-platform websites, but it is still essential Web Developers/Designers thoroughly test their sites before making them “live”.

Most websites will have been designed and built on a P.C., MAC or laptop, but increasingly they are being viewed on tablets and mobiles. This is often overlooked. As a teacher of computer science, we would often ask students to login to a site, or interact with a site to do some homework etc. Increasingly, students would reply – “we couldn’t get the website to work on my mum’s tablet or my phone sir”. “Don’t you have a laptop or computer at home”? “No sir, we don’t need one”.

Granted, it tends to be the youth that prefers mobile devices, but in 2016 the amount of people accessing the web via mobiles and tablets surpassed users of laptops (hallaminternet). It is also fair to assume that not everyone wants to download and install another mobile app that they will barely use. Therefore, it is crucial that as web developers/designers, that we create responsive sites that transfer the content to any platform without the need for the user to resize the site’s content. Even if CSS3 is not your strength, there does exist plenty of responsive templates on the net. Some of these – TEMPLATED – are provided free of charge and royalty free (providing you reference them). Even as a “seasoned pro” basing code on pre-existing templates saves time and can be used to show the client quickly what to expect before you commit to the lengthy process of bespoke coding. I am certainly not suggesting we plagiarise, but if we use templates and comment on our code professionally, I see no harm. As a pro, you should be able to delve into the code and personalise and change the content anyway, it is just a useful starting point.

Anyway, I digress a little. Back to the main thread. I am hoping that – using HTML5, CSS3 and JS – we can move away from mobile specific content, and more towards a responsive page that will display the same content optimised to the device, it is viewed on. This is will help greatly with “branding” and provide a consistent experience for the user. It also means the developer just needs to design each page once and apply a CSS to it, rather than make several iterations of a page designed to display on different devices.

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I hope this article has gone some way in helping you understand the importance of UPDATES. If it has…please LIKESHARE or FEEDBACK the post. Thank you.

About the Author, – Dr Richard Haddlesey is the founder and Webmaster of English Medieval Architecture in which he gained a Ph.D. in 2010 and holds Qualified Teacher Status relating to I.C.T. and Computer Science. Richard is a professional Web Developer and Digital Archaeologist and holds several degrees relating to this. He is passionate about the dissemination of research and advancement of digital education and Continued Professional Development #CPD. Driven by a desire to better prepare students for industry, Richard left mainstream teaching to focus on a career in tutoring I.T. professionals with real industry ready skills that matter at The Training Room.

#ttrIT #ttrcareerinIT #ttrLearnToCode

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A future skills gap in the wake of the new Computer Science GCSE?

As a former Secondary School Teacher, I was part of the government’s move away from traditional Information Communications Technology (ICT) toward Computer Science as a GCSE.

The change has been profound and caught many teachers off-guard. Many older teachers of ICT could not easily make the transition to teaching computer science. Why? Well because it is now a science! A science based on computational thinking and the logical creation and analysis of algorithms and coded solutions. In simplistic terms… it’s out with Microsoft Office and in with Python IDE!

Computer Science then is a completely different course to ICT. Obviously there exists some latent crossover, but for the most part, it is a much more relevant science/industry-based qualification compared to the more business based ICT course. Much of what was ICT is now only a small part of the E-commerce side of Comp Sci. It has moved from learning how to use software – such as MS Office – to create documents and websites. It is now much more about how to build apps, programs and e-portfolios alongside maintaining computer systems, networks and cyber-security. As such, breaking down a problem and planning a sequenced plan or algorithm is now fundamental to the “art” of computational thinking.

 

My experience of teaching both ICT and Computer Science has taught me that not all students are capable of Computational Thinking and understanding algorithms. Not all can think sequentially and logically, many can only process freeform, nonlinear thoughts and can make little sense of a computer that can only do what it is told, in a specific order using a specific structured language or code.

This leads the teacher to have to focus more on trying to teach the students how to create algorithms and flowcharts and of course coding. There does exist many high-quality educational aids for learning to code –

·        https://code.org/learn

·        https://scratch.mit.edu/starter_projects/

·        http://www.alice.org/index.php

·        https://www.codecademy.com/learn

·        https://www.kodugamelab.com/

·        https://codecombat.com/

Students, in my experience, find it difficult to code effectively because of the strict syntax. Although PYTHON is very forgiving, it is exacting in its syntax – in other words, if it expects a colon or comma, then it MUST have a colon or a comma! – but why? “Well, it just does” can placate some students, but frustrate others. Trying to get the students to code effectively takes up a lot of teaching time at the expense of much of the theory. Most of the time we had to rely on students doing the theory for homework, which inevitably, was 50/50 hit and miss with many students not bothering. The ability to create a working solution to a problem almost always forms the basis of at least one of their final Controlled Assessment’s in which the student must plan, code and test a solution efficiently with no guided help from their teacher or peers. Because this is crucial to a good final grade, it is obvious that teaching and learning how to code and troubleshoot code is a classroom priority.

So, you may ask, why am I writing this blog? Well, because I believe that there will continue to be a skills gap when our present and future cohorts of GCSE Computer Science students leave school. I am convinced that they will certainly better equipped than their ICT qualified peers, however, with too much time given over to learning Python I think they will be lacking solid industry skills. Don’t get me wrong; I think their learning Python, Computational Thinking and Algorithms are a massive step forward in the right direction. However, they often lack the ability to translate the learning of Python into other “C” based languages and HTML, SQL, JavaScript etc. No matter how hard we try to drill the students on the importance of planning and writing algorithms that were not retro-engineered, they always wanted to code first and then try to make up a plan to fit the program.

Any way I digress… I am not trying to push a solution – after all, there is no single solution – I am just pointing out my observations in order to try and start a discussion on the future of the industry and whether others have noticed a skills gap in GCSE students?

I hope this article has gone some way in helping start a discussion on possible future skills gaps. If it has…please LIKE, SHARE or FEEDBACK the post. Thank you.

About the Author – Dr Richard Haddlesey is the founder and Webmaster of English Medieval Architecture in which he gained a Ph.D. in 2010 and holds Qualified Teacher Status relating to I.C.T. and Computer Science. Richard is a professional Web Developer and Digital Archaeologist and holds several degrees relating to this. He is passionate about the dissemination of research and advancement of digital education and Continued Professional Development #CPD. Driven by a desire to better prepare students for industry, Richard left mainstream teaching to focus on a career in tutoring I.T. professionals with real skills that matter. Thus, catering more to the individual learner’s needs relevant to their career pathway than the National Curriculum taught in schools is presently capable of.

#ttrIT #ttrcareerinIT #ttrLearnToCode

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IT Courses Online From The Training Room

In 2015 it was reported that the IT industry in the UK experienced its fastest growth since 2008. According to this report, it was also noted that demand for jobs in the IT industry was growing fast, especially among start-ups.

As a result of this growing demand for jobs in the IT industry training courses have become quite popular, whether it be full-time, part-time or e-learning.

Through our years of experience in helping people make a real change in their lives, we recognise that sometimes people don’t have the time to commit to full-time or part-time courses.

If this sounds like your current situation then we might just have the solution to your problem!

Here at The Training Room, we offer a variety of IT e-learning courses which enable you to study at a pace that suits you so that you don’t have to miss out on your commitments such as family life.

Backed by CIW and CompTIA, our range of e-learning IT courses are designed to have you qualified and ‘industry-ready’ for your new career in the IT industry.

In this blog we look at the range of e-learning IT courses offered at The Training Room. From web development to infrastructure technology we’ve got a course to help you turn your passion for IT into a career you love.

Designed With You In Mind

Our approach to flexible learning means that we understand the kind of support people need. This is why we have developed our online learning to include the following benefits for our students:

  • Flexible learning – Through access to our state of the art e-learning platform you can study at a pace that suits you
  • Convenience – As all of your learning takes place online you can study from the comfort of your home
  • Support – As an e-learning student with The Training Room you will be provided with a dedicated tutor who is a specialist in your area to help and support you with your learning
  • No deadline pressure – With our online IT courses you can take control of your start and finish date meaning that there’s no need to feel that dreaded ‘deadline pressure’

Additionally, with our IT e-learning courses, you will also be supported through career support for 3 years along with a guaranteed interview with one of our corporate partners from the moment you register.

Infrastructure Technician Course

Are you a problem solver with a keen interest in computers? If so then a career as a Infrastructure Technician might just be your calling!

At the Training Room, we offer our Infrastructure Technician course which is a globally recognised qualification accredited by CompTIA. Our flexible e-learning course will provide you with all the knowledge you need on becoming an Infrastructure Technician, from working with operating systems to setting up a computer. The modules covered in this course include:

  • IT Fundamentals – This module focuses on understanding computer components, setting up and maintaining computers to network fundamentals.
  • CompTIA A+ – This specific module goes deeper into understanding working with other operating systems, safety and operational considerations and security threats.
  • CompTIA Network+ – Serving as an introduction to networks, this module will give you a better scope of network topologies, wiring standards and connectors, IP addresses and subnetting.

Web Development Course

Coding your way to becoming a Junior Web Developer has never been easier with our W eb Design and Development course. Our course will have you qualified and ‘industry-ready’ for your next step as a Web Developer.

Our qualification in web design and development includes modules in:

  • CSS3 – Understanding the essentials of CSS3 while learning the application of basic and advanced functions of the current version
  • HTML5 – Understanding the technologies implemented for enhancing user web experiences
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) Design – Learning the use of website development tools
  • Networking – This module will develop your understanding of basic data communication components, configuring common hardware for operations and the role of networking hardware
  • JavaScript – Learning to use Javascript for creation of forms while getting a better understanding of Javascript security issues

Security Technologist Course

For those keen to learn about online security we offer our Security Technologist coursewhich is also accredited by the industry recognised and respected CompTIA.

Our Security Technologist course is designed to provide you with a greater understanding of analysing risks, uncovering breaches and developing solutions for security of information. The course covers the following modules:

  • CompTIA A+ – Understanding operational considerations and security threats to working with other operating systems.
  • CompTIA Network+ – Developing a better scope on network topologies, wiring standards and connectors
  • CompTIA Security+ – Growing your understanding and practice of monitoring and diagnosing networkings to protecting wireless networks from viruses and security risks

Software Developer Course

If you have a basic knowledge of computer skills which is combined with a keep interest in coding then our Software Developer course is just for you!

Here at The Training Room, we offer our Software Developer course which is designed to equip you with all the knowledge you need to become a successful Software Developer . The modules in this course include:

  • Microsoft Software Development Fundamentals (MTA) – Developing knowledge in core programming, general software development and understanding databases
  • CIW: Advanced HTML5 and CSS3 Specialist – Gaining hands-on experience in HTML5 and CSS3
  • Oracle OCA Java SE 8 Programmer Course – Learning the fundamentals of Oracle Java SE 8 Programmer through developing Java applications to master Java data types
  • Microsoft MCSA/MCSE Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 – Understanding performance based labs, database objects and working and modifying data

Ready to start your journey as an IT professional?

If you are ready to start your journey as an IT professional then check out our IT online courses here. Likewise, you can also check out our website for further information on The Training Room. Or, why not give one of our friendly advisors a call or fill out an enquiry form on our website to request more information.

Your next career in the IT industry is just one step away, start your journey with The Training Room!

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A REPOST FROM THE TRAINING ROOM AND NOT MY OWN WORDS. ALL CONTENT IS COPYRIGHT OF THE TRAINING ROOM. THEY OWN ALL THIS CONTENT. I AM JUST AN EMPLOYEE.

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So, what is CPD in I.T.?

I guess we should start with the definitions?

CPD generally means Continuing Professional Development but can also mean Continuing Personal Development as it often relates to the individual within their professional sphere. For the purposes of this article, we will stick to the previous definition of professional development.

I.T. relates to several strands

  • Information Technology
  • Information Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Computer Science

I.T. essentially encompasses industry professions who work with computers and other digital devices and technologies (sorry if I missed any out).

 

So then, CPD is providing evidence of “continued professional development” within your industry. Often this is done by recording and documenting that you are actively increasing your subject knowledge, understanding and ability beyond your initial training or certification. It is in by no means restricted to technical knowledge as it is arguably just as important to enhance your non-technical skills to effectively communicate your technical abilities.

As many of us are aware, the I.T. industry is constantly evolving and growing exponentially. Every year we are grieved that our high-end smartphone has just been outdated by the latest release that boasts greater speeds, larger screen, higher definition images, more RAM, more – moreness if you like? However, it is not just the hardware that evolves, it is also the software, apps and operating systems that evolve. This may be the result of the manufacturer addressing new security issues or increasing functionality based on customer feedback. Whatever the reason, it is clear that anyone who works in the I.T. industry needs to either stay up-to-date or ahead-of-the-game in order to stay employable and viable.

Within the field of Web Development, for instance, we are now enjoying the increased functionality and responsiveness of HTML5 and CSS3 alongside JavaScript to create content-rich websites that are viewable on all the various digital media devices. If you are still coding using XHTML with strict DTDs for instance, your ability to find billable work in Web Design is going to be limited. However, if you chose to update your knowledge and skills using CPD sites such as the sites below – you are clearly going to impress future clients or employers.

 

Clearly then, whether you are an amateur web developer trying to add E-commerce features to a WordPress site or the lead coder for Ubisoft – keeping up to date with advances in code, protocols and technological developments is crucial to your success.

I hope this article has gone some way in helping you understand the importance of Continuing Professional Development both within your chosen profession and your personal life too? If it has…please LIKE, SHARE or FEEDBACK the post. Thank you.

 

About the AuthorDr Richard Haddlesey is the founder and Webmaster of English Medieval Architecture in which he gained a Ph.D. in 2010 and holds Qualified Teacher Status relating to I.C.T. and Computer Science. Richard is a professional Web Developer and Digital Archaeologist and holds several degrees relating to this. He is passionate about the dissemination of research and advancement of digital education and Continued Professional Development #CPD. Driven by a desire to better prepare students for industry, Richard left mainstream teaching to focus on a career in tutoring I.T. professionals with real skills that matter. Thus, catering more for the individual learner’s needs than the National Curriculum   in schools is capable of.

 

Visit his Blog and Website

 

Read more about Dr Richard Haddlesey BSc MSc PGCE PhD

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