Anne Williams explains her role as e-Dean at Ashburton College. She explains how they utilise the online courses offered through NetNZ to support timetable flexibility and personalisation of learning for students.
Here at Ashburton College, we use NetNZ to allow us to have our students in online learning courses. What it means is that, for some students they want to do subjects we don't offer here at school. There also could be students who like the independence of studying themselves. NetNZ has a really great website and we use that to enrol our students. Students can go and look and see what subjects are available to them and that NetNZ home site is used by e-Deans and e-Teachers as an information site, as an enrolment site. As well at that NetNZ has a community which all NetNZ members belong to. It's a Google community.
We have three e-Teachers who all teach online courses and we have an e-Dean and that's my role here at school. At the beginning of the year when students are choosing their courses, I get to talk to the students, talk to them about what they like to do, explain to them how online learning works. It's my job as a support person for the student to help them work their way around their sites they have to use with their e-Teachers and help them use the technology. But lots of the students have never been online learners before and they're not particularly confident about it, so that is actually the role of the e-Dean, to get alongside those students, to pick up early in the year that they might need a bit of extra support.
I do communicate with the e-Teachers, so we've got a triangle: the student, the e-Teacher, and the e-Dean. So if I ever think that there's a problem, I always let the e-Teacher know, whatever that problem might be, and we'll often talk together about how we can best support that student.
That's my role, everything to do with support. So sometimes that involves picking up someone who's really upset about something, sometimes it involves celebrating the great things that they've been doing. NCEA assessment is usually an arrangement between the e-Teacher, and the e-Dean, and the student. It depends on the type of assessment. But if it's something that has to be supervised then obviously the e-Dean has the responsibility for setting that up. But a lot of the internals nowadays are not requiring that type of supervision. Depending on the internal, I might have to collect work from the student at the end of every semi-supervised session, so that they start again with an open book assessment each time they come in. It's my role then to enter the marks for NZQA.