Well the Semester One course is now officially ended. Thank you to everyone who has participated including those of you who are carrying on - after all we do practice flexibility. We are privileged to be able to work with you all. This year we are seeing some wonderful innovation and a lot of hard work and it will be interesting to see what happens as you put your plans into action.

What does the official end actually mean? For several of you, the sun is setting on the course, but there are new beginnings afoot. For those of you carrying on to finish later in the year,
there will no longer be facilitation at the same level and this includes course summaries of people's postings. So you will have to make sure you make the effort to comment on each other's posts. The facilitators will keep an eye but will not be as active on your blogs as they were with the semester one group....times are hard and workloads and accountability are issues for all of us.

Six or seven of you will finish very soon and submit your final assignments. Remember to read up on the assessment criteria again and make sure you do your self-assessment. The rest of you have made arrangements for extensions. The facilitators are still here to help with these so please keep in contact on email and ask for help when you need it. You have the course summaries and the course schedule
to guide you with the content as well as the assessment criteria. Remember you can search the course blog and posts are tagged with the weekly topics.

What was happening over the past week?
Some people have revved up the action now they have a breather from teaching. So some serious summarising was needed by the facilitator on duty this week. There are some more final plans and some posts about course topics.
Alli is the first person to post her self-assessment. She has been leading the way throughout the course and her perseverance has got her to the end. A big chocolate fish for Alli. Still a bit more to do on creating a summary with links to previous posts.

This reminds me to let you know the process for conducting a self assessment - before you do - check out the assessment criteria about it. "Go back through your blog, presentation and plan (or other forms of evidence) and produce a summary that directly addresses the learning objectives for this course." You need to post and link to posts which demonstrate you have met them. This is in addition to giving yourself a rating for each criteria.

Learning Outcomes for DFLP

1. Discuss principles and processes of flexible teaching and learning to facilitate culture sensitive adult learning;
2. Critique the design and application of existing flexible teaching and learning options in relation to the literature;
3. Explore and justify the strategies for the development of flexible learning environments;
4. Analyse and evaluate challenges that arise in the design of flexible learning environments;

So who has posted plans?
at Flexible Frying has got a pretty detailed plan on his blog so now is your chance to give him some feedback. There is a lot of attention given to the flexible learning analysis which is very good.

Chef@polycrom is off on an adventure to China. His plan is now available for feedback and there is also a slideshow about knives which could help you in the kitchen. His plan is modeling ecosustainable methods by offering an approach which reduces travel as well as an exchange programme. It also integrates cultural diversity by offering resources in English and Mandarin.

Who has been racing to the finish line?
Megan has done several great posts recently and is in serious catch up mode. Excellent news on one post about how she has gotten a good response from colleagues to her plan and how she will be working with them to plan for 2009. There is also a post on access and equity. There are real issues for the group of students she is working with in Sports, and several of you will probably be able to relate to Megan's list and her insights about motivation.

Megan also has another post on cultural diversity is very interesting and has an example of how she gained the respect of Pacific Island students - and the importance of being culturally sensitive so that students have trust and respect for their teachers. Another post is about Phil Ker's presentation on organisational strategy. Megan wishes she could have attended Phil's presentation on Elluminate so she could have asked questions in the discussion. She comments about how well the Otago Polytechnic strategy does when it comes to flexible learning. This is further endorsed by the managers supporting a default Creative Commons by attribution Intellectual property policy.

Megan has an excellent plan to move her teaching along the continuum towards flexibility and feedback is still welcome. You may also be interested to read about Megan's ideas for obtaining funding for a research evaluation of her development project.

Pen has done a couple of excellent posts recently: one about flexible learning in educational organisations which appears to have slipped through the net. See if you agree with her ideas around creativity in learning. Pen also has her sights on some funding to evaluate the success of her plan - you can read all about it on her latest post. Steve at Flexible frying is looking to do the same so you might both benefit from having a chat about it.

A question I pose to you all - when is the best time to find out if something is working and/or successful - during the development and pilot implementation, or following the implementation?

You might like to have a look at this presentation - Why is evaluation so important? - to make that decision. It illustrates how evaluation sits within the ADDIE model of design. (Assessment, Design, development, implementation, evaluation.)

Pete has done a big catch up post and there is lots of evidence he has been doing quite a bit of reading and thinking about flexible learning. Lots of very interesting information about the history of FL at Otago Polytechnic. We have come a long way since my first onlne teaching in 1998. See if you are of the same mind about face-to-face classes and online learning. He also discusses some ideas around open, networked, RPL and the Modern Internet. A timely reminder and discussion about the stages to go through when transitioning to authentic learning - taken from Nutrition Matters blog - http://www.2learn.ca/Projects/Together/KWORDS/traditiw.html

Pete also tells us firsthand about how his access to the Internet is compromised by a work firewall. Also how online courses are worth it even with the access hassles. Do you believe students want instant feedback nowadays via instant messenging or are they happy to wait a couple of days to get replies on discussion boards? The DFL matrix on Pete's blog gives a good overview of the areas to be considered in a design plan.

Who is burning the midnight oil for flexible learning?
has also been extra busy posting. Watch how her ideas unfold as she investigates creative ways to get her students investigating Maori health and to think critically about it. She has posted about distance, correspondence and online FL and includes a link to Nga Kiwai Kete - a Toolbox with some very useful resources for online teachers. I agree with Mereana body language cues are lost when interacting online, but the use of web cams and computer conferencing and voice can help to overcome this.

Mereana says in her post about flexible learning - part-time, block, blended - that there is no going back. She wants to help students make links between theory knowledge and their own clinical nursing experiences. There is nothing like visual and audio material to help liven up learning - how can she capture the enthusiasm and passion she now conveys in the f2f classroom?

Mereana's other post is on open, networked, RPL and describes the open philosophy of universities like Yale (for some reason there are two posts the same). See if you agree with Mereana about the "try before they buy" approach. Do you believe that open educational resources (OER) can be used as a marketing ploy? For me it brings on warm fuzzy feelings when something is for free and good and just what I am looking for to use. It is great that we have made a start at OP in moving towards OER with the use of the Wikieducator platform for several courses, and the Creative Commons by attribution intellectual property policy. It is a new perspective and sharing does have a nice community feel to it.

This is the last post for the 2008 course. Thanks again for all the fun! Bye for now. Bronwyn and Leigh.


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