I am not counting the posts this week but activity has been steady and very pleasing and Flexible Learning planning is progressing well. Do not forget to include a way to gather feedback from people about your plan when you present it. If you are happy to receive feedback using the comments facility in your blog, you will still need to invite this. Some of you may wish to use a poll on your blog and stimulate discussion around particular questions. Make sure you read the suggestions for how to present your plan so you can work towards this.

The summary this week includes a snapshot of all the new posts for the week, and not all of them relate to the week 8 topic. Good to see Alli has completed a post for week 8 and is keeping ahead with the schedule.

Chef (Cromwell)
has made an excellent start to his flexible learning plan in his week 7 post - the picture there is a change from food but scary. He is planning on "dancing with knives". A nice concise executive summary with some very important areas to be considered. For example, students will be able to study the bulk of the course without coming to class through the use of a range of multimedia provided by use of the "Internet & technology based information".

This triggered a question for me: how to cater for students with no Internet access and how to ascertain the type of technologies which are going to suit prospective students?

In chef's (Cromwell) week 6 post, he alludes to the need for flexibility and open content to increase enrolments and the "two-edged sword" which accompanies it. Quality in the graduates is very important so the reputation of the education providers is not tarnished. There are also some interesting points from a Unesco article abut the pros and cons of distance learning. Chef mentioned his idea to run a survey which got me donning my "evaluation hat" and suggestions.

If people are thinking about implementing flexible learning, it is paramount that you include some form of evaluation - for another course I teach on evaluation for elearning, I prepared a presentation called: Why is evaluation so important? - some of you may find this useful if putting FL into practice.

Raewyn's post last week - Flexible learning today and in the future - really triggered my thoughts about apprenticeship models of learning. You might like to take a look at the post and my comments. I think apprenticeship is a grand way to learn, as long as there is sufficient supervision and theoretical underpinning to support people's learning. This was in relation to nursing but it holds for any profession or trade - see what you think.

Penn was last seen running away from the flexible learning plan template, but hey she came back to describe in her post this week, a very important issue relating to local, distance students and use of the library resources. You are right, your mission is to prepare a draft plan of your initial thoughts and ideas so you can gather feedback for the class. The equity issue around local "distance students" and use of the libraries is appalling.

This is a situation lots of educators find themselves in when trying to provide a high quality learning experience - if systems are not set up to accommodate and support students properly and to provide access in equitable ways, it is the conscientious teachers who become overloaded trying to keep the patchwork quilt together. Then flexible learning options just become too hard and they give up. It will be intriguing to watch your solutions evolve.

Alli in her post for week 8, has provided an excellent critique of some of the issues surrounding the use of the Internet for learning, and says she still prefers face-to-face interactions online. Nothing like chatting over the smell of real coffee - I agree. She provides some very good examples of why there is too much information pouring out of the Internet and why it can complicate our lives. Now she is thinking about getting broadband and buying a big net to filter all the rubbish.

Getting smarter with digital information, and the new technologies we are constantly bombarded with, is a skill we all constantly battle, and I agree with Alli, prioritization is key so we do not become slaves to the Internet. Hopefully you can make yourselves known to Alli on her blog and help her get to know your online persona.

Chef (Dunedin) has made a post about his intended FL plan in brief - some good ideas there and a combination of strategies which we can watch develop in his plan.

Pete has been doing some catch-up in Rotorua and put up three posts. His post of ideas for his plan are great! He has written a very thorough background about the reasons underlying his plan. A second post outlines some ideas for resources for his plan. It sounds as if there is already a good system in place to assess the needs of the learners - their learning styles etc. He mentions being dubious about "put[ting] ..[his] plan into action and how far ...[to] go, It could take quite some time. "

My advice to everyone is - keep your plan simple - you can always build on it - so be realistic in your timelines. And Pete's most recent post refers to Alli's plan and feeling it is not in his league.

Do not be daunted by others' plans - some are much more advanced than others, and if you all work through the FL plan template, yours will fill out as well. I am sure Pete would appreciate someone saying hello on his blog....so far away but much warmer than us down here I reckon. :(

Remember everyone, for this course you only have to prepare a plan of how you will design your course/resources - not actually develop it all. And the FL plan template is your guide. Leigh and I are here to help you develop the padding for it, along with your classmates. :)

Susan in her post for this week, brings home the idea that, "Learner centred design requires adapting the design to suit the individual learner" and helps us question how we can possibly do this - it is quite complicated if you want to do it comprehensively. She also mentions how important literacy and numeracy is for all learners if they are to succeed in digital environments. I agree, becoming digitally information literate to the level we require for our changing work and social environment is complex and time consuming. And Susan says that we now know in hindsight "where learning begins (and ends). Every day can begin with evaluation, reflection and collaboration".

Carolyn in her lastest post is still working through her ideas for a flexible learning plan, and is now looking at some options for a resource within a course rather than designing a whole course. For example a medication administration package, or a resource for assisting learning about the "bones of the pelvis, skull and mechanism of labour"; this would be another excellent resource.

Both ideas would fit in well with the 4C/ID - four components Instructional Design model by van Merriƫnboer and others. There is a diagram illustrating the four part and explanation about it

Her explanation about the issues around flexibility in midwifery make for very interesting reading. Ah how the open access versus closed enrolment debate rages. Hopefully through the use of the wiki feature in Moodle, staff in the two organisations will be able to collaborate on the development of flexible midwifery courses.

Mereana is working steadily after a late start. Her latest post mentions something I have recently been thinking about the apprenticeship model of nursing myself. As she says it is a compromise and a fine balancing act between clinical and educator experience.

Good to see some statistics about nurses backing up her discussion about the need for flexibility. However, some nursing and midwifery students 2007 were not happy about online learning because they had organised childcare between the hours of 9-3 so they could come on campus - they said they felt "cheated". They had expected more lecture time not study time - nothing like some quiet time in the library or computer lab while the kids play happily with other kids, looked after by others. :)

Great work everyone and it is exciting to see all your ideas emerging.


  1. feliceM said...

    Hello Bronwen - thanks for the help today - it occurred to me to look at my blog and noticed that it isnt in the Flexible Learning Course - I had assumed its access from the Socially Constructed media course.. so - I am not sure how to add it.. hmm the url: is http://fmbodyworks.blogspot.com
    on it I had loaded a Youtube Video/ a photo and the short story.. hope this is Ok..

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