WBIT BUSINESS TEACHERS: Richard Weedon and (from left) Kerry Pleml, Marie Morgan and Margaret Ford.
WBIT BUSINESS TEACHERS: Richard Weedon and (from left) Kerry Pleml, Marie Morgan and Margaret Ford. Contributed

New study delivery gives new options at Wide Bay Tafe

IF YOU have always wanted to study business at the Wide Bay Institute of TAFE (WBIT) but thought your busy schedule wouldn't allow it, the Business Studies team at the Maryborough campus have some good news.

Since July the team has been working with a whole new way of offering business training to its students.

"This new program is geared towards giving much greater support to all students - whether they attend college or work externally," lead vocational teacher Margaret Ford said.

"All business programs are now offered on-line with support in place for each individual student.

"Classes are programmed for those students who prefer a classroom environment with face-to-face contact with a teacher.

"For those who prefer to organise their own study times to fit in with their lifestyles, close contact with a teacher is offered in a variety of ways.

"For instance the online component is available on the 'my.tafe', website.

"My.tafe makes regular broadcasts to all students from their teachers. This is achieved through group forums and chats where students and teachers can interact with each other and through individual contact between a teacher and a student.

"We are also using computer technology known as iConnect which is a system that makes use of a video-cam plus headphones and a microphone so that a virtual classroom can be created.

"This allows students to see and hear their teacher, ask questions directly and benefit from on-screen 'how to' demonstrations.

"Teachers can also organise one-on-one iConnect sessions where a student needs individual support."

Margaret said video conference sessions are also available for all students across the WBIT.

"They are usually available once a week for a period of five weeks where students have access to a teacher and that all important contact with other students.

"Here again is that group environment where all participants can see and hear each other as they would in a classroom situation.

"Video conference sessions and iConnect sessions are both supported by learning resources available on my.tafe.

"All of these systems from the real classroom, through my.tafe, the video conference classroom to the virtual classroom have been implemented to give maximum support to all students undertaking study with WBIT.

"The aim is to help students to get through their study programs quickly and effectively so they can gain the knowledge and skills they need to improve their employability.

"We aim to help them enter the workforce, re-enter the workforce or improve on their current standing in the workforce - to help them to achieve their goals.

"The implementation of these systems has already had an effect on helping students to complete their studies more quickly, helping them to be successful sooner.

"The Maryborough business teachers are enjoying the challenges this system presents and enjoying the enthusiasm being shown by their students.

"Students are appreciating the chance to become qualified sooner - definitely a win/win situation."

Here is what some of the students have to say about the new systems:

"I like the clean layout and it's so easy to navigate. Another bonus is that it is available anywhere, anytime which allows me to study over the weekends."

Michael (Cert III in Accounts Administration)

"Working with iConnect was a bit strange to start with but I really enjoy it now and it has improved my listening skills. It is good being able to hear other students talking about the competency I am working on."

Dianne (Cert IV in Business Administration)

"I am studying part-time and I like working with my.tafe and I particularly enjoy the chat room sessions because I am able to read through the conversation afterwards as a reference or if I haven't been able to actually take part in that session."

Helen (Cert IV Justice Studies)

"I think the video-conference sessions are just awesome with the big screen and the interaction you are able to have with other students and teachers. I hope to take part in some iConnect sessions soon because I see how much the other students enjoy them."

Lakota (Cert III in Business)

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