By  pareeerica
What a busy few weeks for you all, setting up your blogs, and posting. Your posts tell a fabulous story about your diversity as a group, and there is such a range of information. Your introductions have a good mix of the personal and professional which helps us all to get to know you. There are descriptions of some of the sessions, and creative responses to a number of activities. Thankfully, most people have introduced themselves, and several of you have described some wonderful examples of flexibility as experienced in your teaching, or in the class sessions. Hats off to Fred, Liz and Hannah who have completed interviews with colleagues. What an interesting array of examples of how flexible learning can be designed. I have added my flavor to describe the posts in brief, and this is further on. The links to the posts is a quick way to get on top of things.  

Hot tip: Do try and find the time to encourage the others in class, and leave a comment on their blog posts now and then. There is no motivator better than the possibility of fame, and fortune.

Who will be the first person to add a link to an actual audio interview to the blog? Liz has excelled in her most recent post by preparing a brilliant reflection about a classroom experience - using the Three Step Reflective Framework. I encourage you to use this framework when posting. It will help make all my years of study and research worthwhile if you find a use for it.

Brief summary of everyone's blog posts and activity - in alphabetical order (I hope)
Christine describes how she approaches flexible teaching, and is feeling a little shy. So some encouragement and leading by example may be needed folks. The physical distances separating students from the main campus is a consideration for flexibility in Christine's classes, and this has guided the choice of strategies. This is a very interesting example. Check out the Acquisition and Participation models mentioned by Christine and discussed in the comments - you may like to see where your teaching fits with these models.

Fred's interview with Hannah got me very interested in the strategies she uses in her courses. I really like the mix of resources, and methods she uses for learning and providing evidence of learning. Field trips are so much fun, and sometimes get overshadowed by concerns about having enough time to cram in content. It does not appear that Hannah's courses are guilty of this, and I get a sense of a hive of bees working happily on their projects, making honey.

Personal example about field trips
I used to really enjoy taking nursing and midwifery students to the Anatomy museum where I ran a session on embryology. The students enjoyed getting out of the usual classroom, and working with the museum models, and peering in jars. The 3D models we worked with brought the subject alive, and I made use of the displays to get them thinking about the various embryonic stages of development. Video could have done the same thing but being able to touch and look, and work in groups made the whole experience memorable for myself and for the students.

Hannah has identified some key areas in her analysis of her learners. The diversity is broad indeed, and this must provide for some interesting dynamics and interactions in the class. I am interested to see how her ideas unfold, particularly in the 'Instructional approach' area. I have made some suggestions about using peer activities and  harnessing mobile phones for learning. in the comments. There is also a very interesting interview with Fred about his mechanical engineering students.

Imroz, Namarta and Randeep have traveled all the way from India to study with us, and have introduced themselves on their blogs. Imroz has described in his second post, the importance of using technologies in the classroom. Randeep has posted a good example of a concept map and provided an interesting description of the class session with the puzzle. Namarta has explained in her second post, how useful she finds mind maps.  She has also provided a diagram of the five dimensions of flexibility.

Julie has written how she is out and about in the field a lot so needs a mobile way to interact with us all in this class. Read all about her teaching, and the suggestions I have made to help her be a more mobile learner. You may also want to try this out for yourselves.

You may like to check out Kev's ice cream challenge which he has posted as an example of how he has encountered flexible learning.

Liz has posted a description of an example of flexible learning in nursing. She has described the various components in a Clinical Skills course, and how they fit under the five dimensions of Flexible Learning. Check out my comments on this post for some further ideas for flexibility and innovation in recording role plays. There is a second example about bioscience which is quite a different approach - check out the strategy used to encourage students with their self-directed learning.

Suzanne describes how she is dealing with a number of challenges to study this course online, and to communicate online with her peers and students. She has prepared a really interesting post about her teaching situation and the joys of living in a rural area. I really like her photo and explanation about the weaving exercise.

Please leave a comment here to let me know how useful you find this post in helping you organise your energies in the course.


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