Finding funding for research and development is something on my mind a lot these days. For those of us who are trying to find new ways of doing things it can mean that we need to take risks - which inevitably means we might make mistakes.Because of this element of risk, relying on small amounts of money internal to your place of work can adversely affect your ability to research, test and develop new practices. Smaller organisations can tend to be risk averse if their abilities to fund R&D are restricted.

Which is why I'm interested in exploring a wider range of funding possibilities. What international funding is out there? What partnerships and with whom could lead to more reliable funds? Is commercial sponsorship an option?

Finding an alternative funding source may be a way to sustain your ability to test and develop new models, to make mistakes and to learn from them, without the precariousness that can come when relying solely on internal funds.

So, let's see if anyone had a chance to think about funding options for flexible elearning development this week...

Ali seems to have hit a wall when it comes to funding, which could limit her opportunities to develop her ideas. I have suggested a few ways forward in her comments, but its hard to help without knowing the full context. Perhaps others have some ideas?

Raewyn isn't up to week 13 yet but has done a bit of catching up for weeks 9 - Sustainability, and 10 - Access and equity. Raewyn's post for access and equity is excellent and well worth a read. In it she considers the inequality encumbered in computing and Internet access, and the necessary literacies to use it. Raewyn also reflects on open access to nursing education and training and asks if open access is such a good idea after all...

Megan has also posted her thoughts about Internet access in NZ with an entry for The Modern Internet. Its great to see people reflecting on a serious issue afflicting NZ society today. Let's hope those promises for better access within 3 years some through! Megan has also starting gathering ideas for a design for flexible learning development - but so far no one in DFLP has left her a suggestion. We are a small group however, and I have suggested to Megan that she may have to network wider to bring in ideas, if you have a free moment though, have a look at Megan's idea and see if you can challenge it or suggest something more.

Michelle has made a start on her plan
for developing services for students from other courses who need foundation maths support. Given that Michelle's plan would be of use to all teachers, I think we should all have some suggestions on how Michelle's development might be used in each of our areas.

Now, Chef in Dunedin has offended me while talking about cultural sensitivity :) better go see what's it all about... But he makes up for it with some good reflections about Flexible Learning in Educational Organisations..

CPSmith (AKA Chef @ Polycrom) has written up a very interesting account of a recent experience working with positive discrimination, as well as a personal reflection on access and equity.

OTPenK has a very interesting plan
developing where she aims to embed librarians in her online courses. This is something we've been trying to do with our courses in EDC, and in our development work with departments. Getting such a service agreement can be a real challenge. I wonder if getting librarians internationally would be a better way to go. OTPenK also has an in depth look at Access and Equity, pointing out that one of the extra resources is no longer accesible! Ironic. Rest assured we won't be using that one anymore! Good old reliable education file servers hey...

Tracey Kennedy is beginning to consider flexible and inflexible aspects to her courses in fashion studies. Tracey also includes some notes on the Elluminate session were the Otago Polytechnic CEO Phil Ker talks about Flexible Learning in the organisation.

And finnally Susan Ellis has posted a very strong post about access and equity and how in many ways it relates to social sustainability. Susan is developing a plan using universal design principles (something we must remember to add to the next DFLP course!)

Clearly, many people are not keeping up with the pace of the course and most are at very point. Of course, all this is OK and we understand that different pressures come into play that can you knock you out of synch. So don't sweat it too much if you are behind, you are able to complete the course at your own pace and be assessed when you are ready to be assessed. But of course, if you can catch up then do so, if only so you don't have the thing hanging over you, but more importantly so you can benefit from feedback and opportunities to discuss the weekly topics.


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