The course exists for a good purpose as it is important to be familiar with the legal obligations surrounding inclusive education. However, regardless of the good intentions of the course, the actual content and assessment of this course leave much to be desired.
Much of the assessment is vague in nature where different people and different tutors have wildly varying opinions about task requirements. The focus of the three pieces of assessment is centred around inclusion; however, due to the narrow scope of the topics, it is extremely difficult to discuss things in a strictly inclusive sense as there are a range of other factors that should be considered when teaching such as sociological and psychological viewpoints. This is especially true for the final essay which is a commentary about your experience on practical. You are expected to discuss inclusion regardless if you observed it or not, as opposed to writing about good teaching practice.
In terms of the actual course and textbook material, it feels as if they say a lot to say nothing. Each chapter of the textbook covers essentially the same one or two inclusive practices worded in different ways, padding information with obtrusive text-boxes and irrelevant hypothetical situations. It is certainly not worth your money. In this way the lectures are quite similar, they tell you a lot of facts and statistics about certain topics to get you to sympathise with inclusion, but never really touch pedagogy and what inclusive education actually looks like.
All of the tutors are very good at their jobs and run insightful activities and facilitate interesting discussion. However, due to the limitations of the content of this course, there isn't really any focus on actual teaching.
I have to echo the widely-expressed view here that the course itself does little to genuinely promote the 'diversity and inclusion' which they preach on about. The concepts and theories covered here are very 'need to know'. The convener telling students that "tutors will not play 20 questions regarding assessment" was not uncommon, but for tutorials to spiral out of control in discussions of what should be done with the assessment task(s) is quite frustrating. I don't feel like I learned anything from this course in the end, which is disappointing. I don't want to say that I hate this course - but that's the way I genuinely feel about it. The way it was conducted from start to end was poor and I think in some cases it's enough to put someone off wanting to continue with their BEd. degree. If I had another (or a multitude of courses like this), I'd look at running away...
Semester 1 - 2014
Is lecture attendance necessary?
Is the textbook necessary?
Raises awareness of important issues.
Teaching staff are a total letdown to students.
Assessment tasks difficult to decipher/overwhelming.
This would have to be the worst course that I have yet to undertake at UQ, and one that I would not recommend to others. Shame it is compulsory!
The manner in which student communication on Blackboard was restricted by the Staff was quite poor. For a discipline that should be about promoting discussion to direct students not to utilise Blackboard for discussion I thought was pretty unsatisfactory.
Lecture wise, I went to two over the entire course, mostly due to a subject conflict however both lectures I attended, one by Dr Chen and the other by Dr Kraayenoord were atrocious. Reading directly from PowerPoint slides is pretty poor form and looks very unprofessional. Comforting to know that having top quality credentials does not necessarily equate to an ability to deliver a good lecture.
I thought the assessment task were ok. Having said that I fail to understand the need to make tasks so specific as to be confusing and difficult to decipher.
On a number of assessments I received feedback advising that assessors did not agree with the arguments made by sources I cited, therefore I was wrong. If the intent of the course was for us to understand only Australian diversity and inclusion theory then that should have been made explicit.
I had a great deal of difficulty hearing conversations or discussions in the tutorial rooms. Not having the best hearing, as well as the noise of the climate control often resulted in me not knowing what was said half the time.
The messages from the course are crucial for every person considering teaching. However, I, and almost every one of my classmates I have discussed this with were very disappointed with the way assessments were carried out. In fact, it is most ironic that this course is about "diversity and inclusion", yet the requirements of the assessment tasks were not made clear. It was a very frustrating semester for many (I think the tutors included).