EVALUATION OF BLOCK TEACHING IN POSTGRADUATE STUDIES
University Of Auckland Business School (NEW ZEALAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This paper consists of literature review and a survey. The student survey was conducted at the University of Auckland, Graduate School of Enterprise, GSE. It addresses the issues of block teaching method and students perceptions of its effectiveness and attractiveness. The report summarises some of the popular block teaching methods found in Australasian universities and details of the research conducted at The University of Auckland GSE.
Block teaching is becoming very popular and widely-used in adult education such as graduate diplomas and Master Of Business Administration, MBA programmes. There are various types of block courses, which can vary from one or two consecutive full days to a ten-day residential programme. These are also known as intense schedules, time shortened courses, adult teaching modules and intensive courses. One or more subjects can be taught during a block period.
Research conducted at The University of Auckland, GSE, showed that students preferred to have at least one block course offered during each quarter. The most preferred type of block course is a Saturday course which would run for four consecutive Saturdays. Students believe that work/life balance and flexibility are key attributes that increase the attractiveness of block courses.
Both, literature research and a student survey suggest that only some subjects can be taught effectively by block teaching method and therefore subject selection is one of the most important criteria of block teaching.
No major difference were found with regards to efficiency between block courses and week-night classes. Survey limitations suggest carrying out further research in this area.
Though few block courses are currently offered at the GSE, there has been no recent research done to evaluate the effectiveness of those block courses. Also there is no systematic evaluation procedure in place to analyse the efficiency of these courses. The aim of this paper is to analyse the efficiency and effectiveness of block courses in terms of students perception. This was done in three stages.
1) Literature Survey
A literature survey was conducted to find out “Can block courses be used in Postgraduate Diploma and MBA teaching as an effective and efficient option?” Both library and internet resources were used to analyse the information available in the field of block teaching. In addition to an internet survey, course materials and prospectuses of postgraduate programmes offered at other universities in UK, USA and Australia were investigated and evaluated.
2) Students Survey
A questionnaire was prepared using the knowledge gained though the literature survey to find students perceptions regarding block courses in New Zealand. Questions focused on the efficiency and effectiveness of block courses. These were distributed at the GSE over a period of two weeks.
The report primarily provided a brief account of the findings to the GSE management resulting from a detailed analysis of results, together with the recommendations of the researcher.
Keywords: Courses, block, teaching, MBA, survey, student, postgraduate, diploma.