Image: stars are projectors by brainware3000

Welcome everyone to the next iteration of the Flexible Learning course. I will be the main facilitator this time round (Bronwyn Hegarty), and hopefully Leigh Blackall will chip in from time to time. Jennifer Hamlin (Teaching Enhancement team, EDC) will be joining us as a co-teacher learning the ropes for this particular method of teaching online. I will let Jennifer introduce herself later on.

In the course, I intend to dispel the myth: flexible learning is online learning. Or flexible learning is all about technology. I like to see this subject as described in the book called: flexible learning in a digital world. This is available at Google Books in limited preview and also at the Bill Robertson library.

We start off with a relaxed two weeks of orientation to the course and each other, and I have posted an orientation exercise where you start to take a closer look at the type of teacher you are at the moment. I believe we need flexible teaching for flexible learning. Once you get the flexible teaching right the rest falls into place. The course schedule is on the wiki, so have a look through it and familiarise yourself with the topics and the two assignments.

The first workshop is on Wednesday 29 July 2009 - 1100-1300 - on-campus in H612 (changed from H514) or online via Elluminate web conferencing. More details about web-conferencing are on the wiki.

So do you think there is a magic bullet for flexible learning?
Although there are theoretical and practical principles around flexible learning, there is no one answer. Flexible learning is a bit like finding the perfect partner, we all have different tastes and experiences in our relationships with others, other teachers and students, and what suits one does not always suit another. Flexible teaching for flexible learning is the same as entering into any partnership - there are a multitude of factors involved. During the course you will be exploring a lot of different approaches and opinions about flexible learning. In the end you have to decide where you sit as a teacher in all of this and how you can design your teaching for flexibility. How will you re-jig the content, activities, assessments and communication methods which you currently use in your courses, to provide more flexible ways of learning? First of all this requires you to take a close look at what you are doing now, what is possible and what you can change to make your teaching more flexible.

To get you started I have had a go at preparing something for the orientation exercise which is explained on the course wiki. For example you are asked to draw something, or find a picture which depicts the type of teacher you are. I was racking my brains about the type of picture I would use to illustrate the type of teacher I am. I have settled on one but still have to reflect on why I chose it. The pic is on my blog and there is also a post about how I regard my flexible teaching. I am looking forward to seeing what you all come up with. Bronwyn Hegarty


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