Apologies for this delay in getting our a round up for week 12. I'm over in charming Hobart doing some consulting, and have had difficulty making the time to go through people's blogs properly and post comments and write a summary. But this morning I have a morning off, and I am really pleased to see a whole range of very thought provoking posts made by participants at various stages in the course. Still not a lot of cross referencing and commenting going on, but I can understand that it takes a bit to get in there and discuss things you yourselves aren't feeling confident about, and without getting all the physical cues we rely on in face to face communication.

Speaking about face to face, I am really pleased to say that Fiona, Ali and Susan took the initiative and organised their own face to face meeting to discuss their progress in the course last week. I hear it went well, and we want to encourage more of this. It is an important skill to develop as teachers who are breaking new ground in flexible learning - the ability to call meetings independently of your managers and to discuss what ever needs to be discussed about this emergent field. Bronwyn and I had to force ourselves not to go along though we would have liked to! We didn't want the meeting to be affected by our presence ad what we think is important such as the DFLP schedule and the agenda it places on you. Instead we hope that as the course progresses, as many of you as possible will continue with developing independent learning skills like these, documenting your progress along the way, and being generally open so that supports will come to you in the form of comments, reference posts, or face to face meetings called by people doing similar things. This doesn't mean you are on your own! You have the course schedule to follow which is outlining a range of topics that are important to consider in flexible learning, and that directs you complete assignments that amount to a readiness for assessment and hopefully a successful completion of the course and the Certificate it leads to. You also have Bron and myself committed to reading all your work, writing summaries, adding comments, pointing out things and introducing new contacts. You have access to the student support services at Otago Polytechnic in case the technology is causing you grief. And you are hopefully developing skills that will be useful in continuing your inquiry into flexible learning long after the course is finished. Personally I am seeing more evidence of this and that's great.

So who's posting about Cultural Diversity this week?

Ali has hands down posted the strongest response to the topic so far, and makes some really important points. I personally have learned a lot from Alis post and her insights will influence my course design work from here on. Thanks Ali.

And Michelle backs that up too, first pointing out a subtle but important correction to Ali's scenario, and reinforcing what Ali was saying about the complexity of the issue and the continuous need to reexamine what and how we do things. Michelle also takes the scope wider in reference to gender dominance in some sectors and the affect that can have one people's learning, both positive and negative.

Chef Dunedin comes in with a very important reference to Universal Design principles, which reminds me that we must add that as a core reading for the next course. Universal design provides a useful set of criteria for all of us to think about in our work. I know that from time to time the design schools at the Polytech and the University invite guest speakers on universal design, perhaps we should all make contact and request such a speaker again... independent learning skill?

What else is being considered this week?

Carolyn posts her apologies
for a clearly busier than usual schedule these next few weeks, so her contributions will be understandably quiet for a while. Good luck in your presentation in Scotland, and for you hubby's 50th Carolyn. Thanks for letting us know and we look forward to having you back on the case with us.

Raewyn has been playing with Animoto to produce a couple of charming and quite moving 30 second audio visual clips about her family life. Raewyn has picked up this new skill in an after hours group called DIL, where people are skills sharing and talking about digital stuff. Raewyn has also posted a design plan that sounds excellent for supporting nurses on work experience.

OTPenK points out the very important issue of access to broadband Internet in NZ as being a key consideration in the use of the modern Internet in flexible learning. She also responds to the Keen and Weignberger debate, generally agreeing with both sides of the coin.

Chef up at Cromwell has posted a strong and concise article about sustainability, including a triple bottom line approach and how Otago Polytechnic is fitting that. He also posts on the Modern Internet, also agreeing with both sides of the Keen Weinberger debate, but possibly leaning more to the Keen side of too many cooks spoiling the broth so to speak ;)

And finally Athena, sailing the seven seas and reporting the voyage with enjoyable metaphors. While Athena may not be willing to accept it, she is far from confused in the topic (no more than the rest of us anyway :) and is right in there and on course. Her frustrations and concerns are shared by all of us as we grapple with the new possibilities afforded to learning, and clearly Athena is ready to explore all of those and report careful considerations back that don't necessarily have right and wrong answers. Athena is starting to come up with a possible plan involving Wikieducator for Occupational Therapy and we watch with interest to see how that plan becomes more solid.

So a good week was last week. I hope you are all getting ready to make us look good by attending the CEO for Otago Polytechnic's talk on Flexible Learning from an organisational perspective. (Bron, I hope you have prepared the boss for the high possibility of very few actually attending the talk, and that the recording is possibly more important? )


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