Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Planning for flexible teaching and learning

My Plan

To be honest I have been putting off this weeks work because I took one look at the template and thought ARGH! Where do I start with filling this out and BUDGET! Where do I get information on that?

It took me a couple of re-reads to work out that this is just the beginning of this assignment and the object of this is not to complete the template in its entirety (I think that's assignment 3) but
to get ideas down and to get feed back from classmates etc. At least I think that's right and Leigh, Bronwyn please correct me if I'm wrong.

My first instinct is to look at the courses of the postgraduate programmes at the Occupational Therapy School (mainly because I coordinate them). Though these are distance based, I think there are a number of aspects to the courses that could be improved to enhance the learning experiences for existing students but also perhaps to reach potential students too.

One thing I've noted (both on my blog as well as at the school) about our distance programmes is that not all students are equal. The reality is students with Dunedin addresses are penalised in a way because they are expected to come into the libraries (yes all the University ones) if books or journals they require are there. I have been trying to think of ways that this may be overcome (other than me photocopying the books/articles to send to them). I view this as an important aspect because students have said to me they have thought seriously about withdrawing due to their frustration at trying to locate necessary articles etc.

Now Bronwyn in one of her comments to me makes mention that often the systems and procedures within the institutions aren't as flexible as the depts/schools that are trying to implement them. I realise trying to change policy might not be appropriate for this assessment so was looking as ways we at the school may overcome the problem. I have had some ideas about this, involving getting librarians attached to blackboard sites etc. As a school this has been highlighted and we are already looking at ways we maybe able to overcome these challenges. I would appreciate any feedback from either other course participant or Leigh or Bronwyn regarding these ideas and specifically if its ok to be writing about something we are going to be looking at in the foreseeable future.

I'm not sure how I will present it because when looking through the possible options on the assignment guideline I have to admit my first thought was "I'll need to work out how to use these". That will be my next step in this process.


Bronwyn hegarty said...

yes the template does look a bit daunting Penn I have to admit. You are right, your mission is to prepare a draft plan of your initial thoughts and ideas so you can gather feedback for the class.

the equity issue around local "distance students" and use of the libraries is appalling. This is a situation lots of educators find themselves in when trying to provide a high quality learning experience -

if systems are not set up to accommodate and support students properly and to provide access in equitable ways, it is the conscientious teachers who become overloaded trying to keep the patchwork quilt together.

then flexible learning options just become too hard and they give up. It will be intriguing to watch your solutions evolve.

One suggestion - make sure when mentioning items that others have posted that you insert hyperlinks to their post to help your readers find the item.

A great issue to get the blood boiling - access to the library resources. Where to next in your planning? Involving librarians is a grand idea but how will you do this?

Bronwyn hegarty said...

yes it is ok to be looking at issues in the future - sorry meant to say that in my last post.