Olivia and Vlad, Ashburton College students, share their perspectives on using NetNZ for learning online. They describe the flexibility and the independence that it offers.
I'm using NetNZ because the subject that I wanted to take isn't available at school. One definite benefit from working with NetNZ is the independence. So, there's not constantly a teacher there telling you, "Do this, do this.” It just outlines the work and just at your own pace, you just work through it, and I feel that it's better for me that way.
There's something to do with that level of independence that they get of being in control of when and where they do their work and, obviously, how enthusiastic they are about the subject that you're offering, that makes a difference to that. That's the great thing about it, is it does allow a lot of flexibility.
All our course outline is posted online, in the community, and at anytime we want we can just go on and click, find any lesson we want, either this week, or even a month ago, just whatever we need to work on. To manage the time I spend on my subjects I make a timetable where I allocate time for the subjects, so I don't fall behind. A lot of the things I do out of class because I have twenty-four seven access to all the things I'm doing. So if, for a period I'm not sure what I'm doing, I can do it at home. A lot of it is being about making sure that you're open and accessible, so that they feel they can have help. We just email our teacher, either our e-Dean or our course teacher, and ninety-nine percent of the time they can help. With the other students, when the teacher, for example, might be busy, or helping some other people, we as a group work together to figure out what the problem is. If we know the answer, or everyone knows a little bit, so together we know the whole question. Our teacher sometimes does live sessions where we chat the answers to her straight, or puts it online for us to just print ourselves and then complete and scan back to her. For our internals, they are individual based. To prepare for them, we work together and help each other. For some parts of different internals we work together because it's a group project. So, we get graded together.
The main difference between working in a class and online would be, you have to be more independent. Because, without the teacher being there constantly some people are not motivated to do work and as long as you just keep working at your own pace then you're fine. The difference between face-to-face learning, probably, and online would be you're actually able to do a lot more. With my teachers at school, I don't know what's coming up and I can't plan or anything whereas with online my teacher will send out weekly...what we're supposed to have done. It's more one-on-one. When we're getting sent out things, it's more like, in the actual VC lesson hangout, if my teacher asks me any questions, you're more likely to know how to approach them. I don't see working remotely as a barrier.