Friday, April 3, 2009

Helping Gerald through Flexible Delivery

Gerald is a mild mannered man from a mild mannered town who just wants to improve his lot in life. But life is making it difficult for Gerald to do so.

Gerald would dearly love to study towards being a Personal Trainer. He’s enjoyed sport and exercise since he was a young lad, however, nowadays he does very little exercise and he just can’t seem to find the time to study.

You see, Gerald works hard during the day as a refuse relocation specialist. He starts work at 6am (having woken at 5am) and finishes close to 6pm most nights of the week. Gerald works long hours to feed and support his pregnant wife, Geraldine and their three under five year old children, Godfrey, Georgina and little Gerald Junior. At the end of his working day Gerald (Senior) helps Geraldine prepare dinner and feed the children. Once he’s helped put the children to bed Gerald helps Geraldine clean up the house and do the dishes (no dishwasher in his house!).

Finally, by the time 8.30pm rolls around Gerald has some time to himself.

What are the current barriers between Gerald and my Exercise Psychology course?

Given Gerald’s very busy lifestyle, as well as the fact that he’s “computer challenged” and internet connection lacking (at home), the opportunities for him to successfully complete my Exercise Psychology course are quite limited.

At this stage, to successfully complete my course Gerald would, at the very least, need to learn how to use a computer and have an internet connection so he could access the online computer resources for this course on BlackBoard. Gerald would also need to make time to do the course readings and get access to course texts either through a library or purchase them himself.

What can Gerald and I do to help him study my course?

Unfortunately, there is no way around the fact that Gerald will have to:

  • make time to fit in his studies.
He has some time available during the evenings as well as during the weekends when he can study. I would suggest that Gerald will have to come to an:

  • agreement with Geraldine and the children as to when his study time will be, and ensure that everyone commits to this agreement.

    As the old saying goes, if he “always does what he’s always done, he’ll always have what he’s always got” (source unknown).

In order for Gerald (and others in a similar situation) to succeed in my course I will need to make some changes, thereby making my teaching more flexible.

  1. I could put together a hard copy package of study materials, that I could send out to Gerald. These materials might include a course outline, study guide, lecture material and suggested readings that Gerald could access via the Bill Robertson Library. Gerald could then work through these materials at a pace that is comfortable and timely for him.

  2. I could also arrange with Gerald a time during which he could call me should he have any study questions. As I work from 8am-4pm most days, it may be most convenient for Gerald to call me during his lunch or “tea” breaks.

Through flexible teaching I will be better able to meet the needs of Gerald and others in a similar position.