Zeqr US & CA Scholarship Winner – Q&A With Heather Thiessen-Kerr
1. Hi, Heather! First of all, congratulations once again on winning our first scholarship ever! Please tell us what motivated you to write your compelling article: E-learning Opens More Doors?
I have been a learner at both ends of technology. I remember when my father bought a computer with only a few simple programs, and one awful game to play! It was an honour to be allowed to use it at all, much less as a part of day-to-day life, and here we are! How amazing is it that something that used to be such a novelty item, is now a “must-have”.
When I came upon the topic that you had requested – I knew that I had to write. There are so many reasons to argue both traditional and progressive learning, and I wanted to bring about the points that we are blessed enough that we do not have to CHOOSE! We have the advantage of using ALL OF IT! And how amazing is it that we can smell and feel the textures of hardcover books, and communicate with a teacher/classroom that is halfway around the world!? We are truly so fortunate to be alive in this time.
2. Does Fleming College support e-learning? To what extent? Tell us how you, your classmates, and your professors use e-learning.
We are lucky enough at Fleming to have a wonderful learning portal. Teachers are able to upload seminars, webinars, interactive quizzes so that students can fully participate in every aspect. Fleming has done an incredible job at ensuring that all styles of learning are acknowledged and encouraged.
There are many courses that are available online, and the students all love the flexibility that it gives them in their lives outside of the school walls. There are many students who are single parents, live farther away and have transportation issues- this gives them confidence that their hard earned money and their precious time is being used to its fullest!
3. The last sentence of your essay was quite powerful: “The moment we stop being open to learning, is the moment our humanity will start to dissolve.” Is it really true that learning is something we can’t live without?
Without a doubt. It wasn’t so long ago that men and women of colour were less than those who were born white. That two people in love, from different races, were not allowed to be together. That people who are gay have a mental disability.
Without knowledge, the passion for learning, the interest in self, the world surrounding us, and others; we would grow stagnant in our ability to adapt and evolve mentally. Without learning, challenging ourselves, pushing each other to be better, to understand more; we would, as a society, would regress.
4. If so, could you tell us a bit about the challenges you and the classmates in your generation face at classes that stick to traditional learning methods?
I think that the biggest challenge that my classmates and I face within the classroom, is simply the massive amount of information that could be more simply summarized. For example; in a text book, the information to read could span up to 100 pages a chapter (I am in nursing- so this is not an unheard of length of chapter!), where as the key points, the crucial learning could be condensed so that we are able to retain those life-saving details FIRST- and fill in the rest as we grow.
5. Heather, thank you for your time! Anything else you would like to add? If you have any additional comments and thoughts about the future of education and learning or e-learning, we would love to hear them.
I think that it is important for me to note that I am actually a big nerdy hippie in many many aspects of my life. I do not have a home phone, I do not have cable or satellite. I bought my first laptop at age 31 and my first new car at 32. I am not a huge techie junky, I do not think that people should be replaced with electronics- nothing is more important than our human experience. I think it is crucial for people to unplug from the electronics and have face-to-life time, not just Facebook/Facetime moments.
I am simply a woman who looks around her and sees that these incredible advances, when used for a purposeful and meaningful way- are a little piece of magic that we are fortunate enough to have in our grasp! We are powerful beings as humans; let’s show history how amazing that we really are! 🙂
Namaste my friends!