Aviation students bring new heights to MATES program

With all teaching moving into online in Trimester 1 2020, the Aviation student leadership team put on their creative thinking caps to establish a new innovative platform to deliver the Aviation MATES program (Mentoring Aviators Through Educational Support) online.

The Aviation MATES program is open to all undergraduate aviation students at Griffith and provides professional development and peer mentoring opportunities. Students are allocated into flight groups and nominated Flight Leaders and Deputy Flight Leaders direct groups across numerous challenges throughout the program.

Despite the barriers, the professional development session was a huge success, achieving fantastic engagement results and increasing collaboration among their peers.

Meet Chief Student Pilot Aaron Hannaford as he describes the transition to take MATES online.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Chief Student Pilot Aaron Hannaford

G’day, my name is Aaron Hannaford I’m one of the Chief Student Pilots with Griffith Aviation for 2020.

I’m here to talk to you about how aviation students are successfully collaborating online and to answer a few questions.

What is the Aviation MATES Program?

The MATES program has been operating for over a decade now. It started as just a small mentoring program for aviation students and has now developed into quite a large program.

The Aviation MATES program is a student-run program with sessions held every Wednesday evening during teaching. The evenings are separated into two sections, a Little MATES, and Big MATES.

In these sections, students are split up into their respective flights, and two flight leaders per flight.

The sessions include hands-on mentoring experience, offering students tips and tricks and industry updates from across the aviation sector and essentially assisting the student in their first steps into the aviation industry.

What platform did you choose to run mates online?

We are using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. One of the benefits of Blackboard is it is already a site that we use as a part of our degree. This allowed the setup and organising of the session to be a bit easier.

How did the first MATES session go online?

The first week of MATES session online went spectacularly well! Not only did the students interact with flight leaders, but they were able to present an incredible session.

In the Big MATES session, with our industry speaker, the interaction was great. There was a lot of student engagement, a lot of chatting, a lot of discussions. We received a lot of feedback from the students during the sessions, which is cool to see.

It’s great to see so many people getting on board with us.

What have you got planned for the next online MATES session?

We will run a similar session as we did the first week. We’ll have a Little MATES session where the flight leaders will have organised what they want to discuss, and how the students are going to benefit.

And for the Big MATES session, we have a very interesting speaker. I don’t want to give too much away, but has spent a little bit of time in NASA, so this is going to be really, incredible for a lot of the students.

Do you have any advice for other students studying online?

With Griffith, we’re very lucky to have quite a strong online aspect already. Students have benefitted from already having quite a reasonable understanding of how Blackboard and Learning at Griffith platforms work.

You need to develop a routine, I think that is something that’s very important for students and makes studying a lot easier.

And making sure that you stay on top of things. We all know that being at home we can tend to push things back a bit but we’re finding a lot of students are still keeping on track, which is really good to see.

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