Aoraki Mt Cook by Mathieu Poumeyrol

Things are speeding up as several of you head for the finish line with your plans. Make sure in your posts about each of the topics that you also indicate how the principles relate to your Flexible learning plans. This post is the first part of a summary of interesting points that people have been discussing on their blogs. Some of you have been really busy bees and others not so busy.
Lisa S has posted a stunning critique of the meaning of access and equity, and inclusive teaching in horticulture. See if you agree with the discussion about the difference between learning, education and training. Lisa has also posted her early ideas for her flexible learning plan: "to create a plant selection course delivered on-line". Go on give her some encouragement... In an earlier post, Lisa describes an example about her assessment of the flexibility of a Diploma in Horticulture programme using the dimensions of flexibility in the grid from Casey and Wilson. Time is well above average on the flexibility continuum as is Instructional approach and resources.   
Fifi has several posts which we need to catch up on. Firstly, she describes an example of video learning where midwifery students are capturing the learning of practical skills on video. The three types of interaction important for learning are mentioned. See if you agree with the benefits of this model for learning. In a post about Activity 6, two strategies for getting midwifery students to connect with practice are outlined. See if you agree with my suggestions for collaborative work and ways to enhance reflective learning and reflective practice. For Activity 7, Fifi has chosen constructivism , and her post explains this learning theory in plain english in the context of midwifery. The single most important point she makes is that strategies to encourage constructivist learning involve getting students to think, and problem-solve and become inquirers rather than passive recipients of information.  Check out her other posts as well because she makes some interesting points.
Maari in her post about open education makes some very valid points, and mentions some of the challenges for the viability of her business if she were to provide free learning materials and services. I believe that open education practices per se are more important than the provision of open materials, because I consider that facilitation and teaching by someone with a reputation in the field is generally what gives learning the edge for students. Really what do students come for and pay for? There is tons of material in any topic on the Internet or in books, and people could teach themselves if they really wanted to. I strongly believe that by making materials open, the advantages provided by the free advertising far out weigh any loss of income since open materials are more likely to be picked up by search engines. This is the vehicle to attract people to facilitated courses for which they are probably only happy to pay a fee if it is something they really want to do.
Helen G has a wonderful diagram to illustrate her plans for flexible learning. She mentions the ADDIE model of design. It is always a good idea when planning or implementing new approaches to do some evaluation along the way - the Addie model infers it should be left to the end, but it is advisable to gather feedback along the way when implementing a new approach. Feedback can be obtained from colleagues, students and /or experts from industry. Also a teacher's observations of how it is working are valuable so it is a good idea to record these somehow, and perhaps discuss the process with a mentor as part of this evaluative process. See what you think about her ideas about using and assessing students' blogs. Helen G also has an excellent list of strategies for becoming more open in her post about OER. What are your thoughts about my suggestions re digital information literacy? You may also be interested in reading the Executive Summary of the MoE project: Digital Information Literacy: Supported Development of Capability in Tertiary Environments
Lisa R has posted two very thought provoking posts about universal design, access and equity and equity means everyone has the chance to be equally frustrated - see if you can contribute to solving her dilemma, and whether you like my suggestions. Her pictures are also well worth a look.
Cat has outlined some very interesting and workable strategies for teaching wound management with veterinary nurses. See what you think - she would love some feedback I am sure. In a later post about open education, Cat discusses how open resources could be used to educate people in the third world about animal husbandry so that better care can be provided for their animals which are very important for their livelihood.
Suzanne has presented a fabulous description of two learning situations. They are very different, and both sound incredibly engaging. They involve blood loss scenarios and also a collaborative weaving class. She uses the term "minds on" learning. See what you think. I have made a suggestion about using digital portfolios in a post-graduate course, so that assessment is ongoing and more student-centred rather than  based around discussions and an essay. See if you agree with my ideas. 
A question to think about
How many of you like to drip feed the students modules rather than show them everything to be covered in the course from the start? What do you think are the pros and cons of these two approaches for students?
Suzanne has also written a fabulous description in her context of some of the challenges and the existing situation surrounding access and equity and inclusivity and diversity. She has some excellent ideas Suzanne especially around designing assessments where students can present their knowledge through weaving or singing.
Helen B has written a lively post about her initial ideas for the Flexible learning  plan where she has brainstormed some ideas for an anaesthesia induction video.The points she makes in another post - open resources and philosophies - about the benefits of open resources versus the potential fish hooks and loss of income are valid. How can we get round the idea that OER appears to be all about digital resources, and as Helen says what about the folk who cannot access computers and the Internet - how can open materials be provided to them? Mobile phones are prolific in African States so I hear, and maybe that is an option? Helen also makes the point that it is not very flexible to have to choose just one learning theory. So even though she has chosen constructivism it is evident that she uses a mix of learning theories - check out the discussion around this topic.
More to come in the next instalment....................


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