The following piece has been written by a student, Tigist Hussen regarding the use of online communication tools to assist with tutorial discussions for assessment purposes.
“Blended Learning: Using online spaces for tutorial sessions by Tigist Shewarega Hussen [PhD candidate at Women’s and Gender Studies Department]
In 2016, I tutored a second year module that focuses on Gender in South African politics and culture. I have been tutoring this course for 6 years. In 2016, as part of tutorial assessment students were encouraged to engage with few chosen topics online via the iKamva chatroom space. The chatroom discussions were in general more energetic and concentrated around each assigned specific topic. The highlight of this online teaching experience for me was the provocative discussions students had about Hip-hop music genre. The task was for students to discuss about the ways in which hip-hop music video and lyric perpetuate gender based violence, misogynist attitude, hyper masculinity, and sexualising women’s body etc. At the same time, students were encouraged to come up with subversive music performances that unsettle gendered hierarchies. My job here was to facilitate these discussions and give more space for students to interact. What really struck me was the level of engagement students had and the openness of their support or critic about the genre. The same question was asked in the lecture, but not many students had the courage to give their point of view. Unlike the normal face-to-face class participation, students were very vocal in the chatroom space that was primarily created as an extension to the face-to-face discussion. The main difference here, therefore, was how the online space provided sense of agency and privacy; an opportunity to articulate their responses freely; and more confidence to openly give their comments. It is therefore very important to continue exercising blended learning approach; using technologies such as the iKamva discussion forum and chatrooms for tutorial classes as it expands the learning environment and provide alternative space for students to engage with the topic”.
The CIECT team would like to thank Tigist for sharing and encouraging the effective use of eTools for teaching-and-learning purposes.