Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

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A TAFE NSW plan to implement “virtual learning” for components of two engineering courses has been criticized as “the thin edge of the wedge” and a change that could eventually lead to campus closures. Trade unions, students, teachers and politicians gathered outside TAFE’s Newcastle campus on Wednesday to protest the plan, which the NSW Teachers Federation said involves teaching apprentices in the Northern Region studying Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade (Fitting and Machining) and Certificate III in Engineering Fabrication Trade (Welding and Metal Fabrication) the first semester of their courses largely from next year. Federation post-schools organizer Annette Bennett said the plan hit the core of TAFE’s focus on delivering “hands-on” practical skills and its “pedagogically effective method” for integrated theory and practical learning in a simulated workplace environment. She said the proposal would also reduce course hours from 864 to 720 and put students in classes of up to 100 instead of the current 15. IN THE NEWS: A TAFE NSW spokeswoman said students would be on campus in the first week of classes for “orientation and basic education”. “Claims that online and / or virtual learning is not a pedagogically sound method of learning are false,” the spokeswoman said. “Virtual classroom delivery, where students actively learn and interact with their peers and teachers using a variety of educational technologies, is supported by significant international educational research and practice, as described in the Australian Standards Quality Authority and Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency guides.” As a result of planning by school leaders, TAFE NSW will offer a small amount of virtual classroom training to four of the 32 units in Certificate III Engineering – Mechanical Trade and Certificate III Engineering – Fabrication Trade in semester one, 2022. [Students study four units in their first term.] “This virtual classroom training will be complemented by face-to-face training and assessment of the practical components of these devices.” industry. “Shadow Minister for Skills and TAFE and Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said he was” very concerned and deeply concerned “about the plan.” Keeping the traditions on the tools is what I would say and there is nothing better than face to face versus learning, “said Mr Crakanthorp.” We are talking about subjects, students leaving school because they do not want to be on computers, they want to use their hands and brains and do practical things so that it flies in the face of , what they want. I can see a lot of drop-outs, and it’s tragic because we have a shortage of skills. “Mr Crakanthorp said the government had” exploited “teachers who had helped students switch to online and virtual learning during “I think it’s the thin edge of the wedge, they want to get as many courses online as they can, reduce costs, get rid of campuses and add more money to the coffers,” he said. Third-year mechanical engineering students Stuart Shipway and Paul Clift said face-to-face training, especially in the first period, was crucial in helping students build relationships and stay engaged. “Teachers see when you lose track of where they are and then ask you, ‘ lost it? I repeat myself, and you do not get that with a filmed lecture, “Mr. Shipway said. Mr. Clift said that students learned subjects best when they could combine theory and practice.” If you do not have that exposure, have your head in your book, you come in three months later and you think “What was that again?” he said. AMWU organizer Tim Jackson said Hunter-based freshman and sophomore boiler and fitter apprentices told him a year ago “they didn’t have enough time as it was” face to face with their teachers. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how to continue accessing our trusted content:

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