Teacher profile: Meet Richard, Certificate IV in Building and Construction online teacher 

Richard shares his 30 years of industry experience with his online students every day. He also owns and runs a successful building consultancy, which has designed more than 600 buildings and documented thousands. The students are thriving thanks to his up to date and relevant understanding of the industry and his interesting, real life examples.

What do you currently do for Chisholm Online? 

I teach the Certificate IV in Building and Construction at Chisholm Online. This is my second year teaching the course with Chisholm Online.

Tell us a bit about your background in the building and construction industry?

I have over thirty years’ of experience in the building industry designing and documenting buildings. In addition to working in the industry, for the last eight years I have also worked as a trainer and lecturer teaching building and construction. 

I currently own and operate a building consultancy business which I started in 1991 and have designed over 600 buildings. My firm designs buildings and consults builders, architects and designers on how to design and build more sustainable buildings. I have been an accredited Thermal Performance Assessor (through the Building Designers Association of Victoria since 2002) and we are always striving for more than just regulatory compliance. My aspirations are to see more residential and commercial buildings being built in a sustainable manner, using effective design and materials to require less energy to run.

What do you enjoy most about teaching Cert IV Building and Construction with Chisholm online?

I really enjoy sharing my passion for sustainable building with the students. I also enjoy assisting and guiding them through any obstacles that challenge their ability to learn and helping them to succeed. 

There was a particular situation where I was able to help a student by providing professional advice on improving the thermal performance of the building fabric of a residential project he was working on. Another student was applying for a bank loan to start his own construction business. I was able to assist him to use course work to assist with preparing for the application. 

Are there differences to the way the course is taught online compared to in the classroom? 

Yes, there are differences. One of these, which surprises me is, that there is more 'one-on- one' teacher and student interaction in the online environment. I put this down to the fact that the student can reach out to the teacher with their questions at any point, without having to wait their turn or worrying about what others think of their question in front of a class. Another benefit of studying the course online is that the students have the flexibility to study when they want, from anywhere with internet access. 

What are some of the things Chisholm Online students are learning through the course? 

During the course the students learn how to plan building and construction work, apply building codes and standards to the construction process, apply structural principles, work within legal frameworks, conduct on site supervision, produce labour and material schedules and manage workplace safety procedures. When they complete the Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building), they’ll have a nationally recognised qualification that is highly regarded by employers in the industry. This certificate will prepare them for work on residential and commercial low rise buildings and it fulfils the minimum educational requirement for registration as a domestic builder.

Tell us about an average day as an online teacher

An 'average day as an online teacher' consists of checking my Chisholm emails and then going online to monitor Moodle and respond to student messages/emails/questions, summarise and weave discussions in the forums. I make sure I go online daily to respond to the student’s messages and questions.
I also monitor and initiate group interaction within Moodle. Quite a few of the students are really good at interacting, posting questions and contributing to group discussions. I find the modules always run better when there is this level of interaction.