Learning Through Collaborating: An X-Space Experience

Learning Through Collaborating: An X-Space Experience

Nurzihan Hassim
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4080-9.ch004
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Blended learning technologies have created opportunities to diversify teaching and enrich learning experiences for Malaysian university students. At Taylor's University, the establishment of the X-Space as a “living” classroom offered students an engaging experience beyond digital learning to support “TiMeS” a Moodle-based courseware at the university. The X-Space rooms are equipped with modern designs that divide students in clusters yet encourage mobility among its users and allow course instructors to experiment and apply innovative tools to fully utilize this collaborative learning environment. This chapter examines the experiences of integrating the TiMeS platform with the physical environment of X-Space. The pedagogy intends to fulfill the university's mission in creating industry-ready graduates and the expectations Gen-Y students to propel forward to twenty-first century learning.
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Background Of Study

There is an increasing need for the revamp of learning spaces to accommodate the changing trends in teaching and learning at tertiary level. The correlation between learning environments and student performance were significantly highlighted in several studies on Malaysian education (Shoba, 2007; Razak, 2006). Reviews by Han et al. (2014) and Yau et al. (2003) found that aesthetics such as shape, arrangement and technology in learning spaces are emphasized to increase engagement between instructors and students, consequently encouraging responsiveness and inculcating a sense of heterogeneity among young learners.

At present, there is a major change in the delivery of lessons as instructors sought to enhance their teaching abilities at hand and continuously captivate students’ interests in the capacity of technological advances. Traditionally passive teaching methods are rapidly being superseded by sophisticated instructional techniques and digital teaching aids in tertiary education.

In the process of embracing technology-inclined pedagogies, Taylor’s Integrated Moodle e-Learning System (TiMeS) was established as a platform to interact with students through a series of online activities that are relevant to their course modules at Taylor’s University, Malaysia. The Moodle-based platform was designed for existing courses and allowed instructors to customize learning materials within the scope of each module’s outline. The courseware is in line with the university’s blended learning initiative where these unique learning methods are intended to meet the expectation of the present students’ generation that comprise mainly of technologically-savvy millennials. Similar to the implementation of MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses, instructors would guide students with content and tasks that would increase opportunities of self-study on TiMeS. The primary aim is to narrow the gap of time and space during instantaneous exchange of knowledge and new ideas in various fields of study. Most importantly, TiMeS is customized to fulfill Taylor’s Graduate Capabilities (TGC) where students and academics are expected to achieve eight tandems of industry-ready competencies; where emphasis is placed on acquiring and applying knowledge relevant to the study discipline, cognitive capabilities and soft skills of their respective fields.

Table 1.
Expected Graduate Capabilities to be achieved from students’ learning experience
TGC ValuesGraduate Capabilities
1. Discipline-specific knowledge• Able to put theories into practice.
• Understand ethical issues in the context of the field of study.
• Understand professional practice within the field of study.
2. Lifelong Learning• Learn Independently.
• Locate, extract, synthesize and utilize information effectively.
• Be intellectually engaged.
3. Thinking and Problem Solving skills• Think critically and creatively.
• Define and analyze problems to arrive at effective solutions
4. Communication skills• Communicate appropriately in various settings and modes.
• Conversation (chat) rooms/instant messaging.
5. Interpersonal skills• Understand team dynamics and mobilize the power of teams.
• Understand and assume leadership.
6. Intrapersonal skills• Manage oneself and be self-reliant.
• Reflect on one’s actions and learning.
• Embody Taylor’s core values.
7. Citizenship and Global Perspectives• Be aware of and form opinions from diverse perspectives.
• Understand the value of civic responsibility and community engagement.
8. Digital LiteracyEffective use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and related technologies.

(Taylor’s University, 2017)

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