Thursday, June 9, 2011

Development Ideas

Course being developed: Risk Management: The balance between risk containment and therapeutic risk taking (Level 8).

As this is a course being developed for the School of Occupational Therapy Postgraduate Programmes there will be no face to face teaching opportunities. The programmes are 100% by distance and students enrol from all over New Zealand and often internationally. Therfore it is important that there is no expectations for those students to attend workshops or lectures at a designated location. This means costs can be contained for the student.

Therefore this means the teaching strategies involve a mixture of online forums and tasks through the learning management system (MOODLE) and fortnightly group sessions through a web based conferencing system (Adobe Connect). The group sessions are an important component to the courses as this is one of the few opportunities the students get an opportunity to talk to each other (and form connections with peers) and to their lecturer in real time. They do get opportunities to communicate via email and discussion forums however this is not often in real time.

Existing learning activities critically reviewed – what works and what doesn’t.

I have identified a range of learning activities as being possible options for this course based on what has worked for other distance based postgraduate courses. As this course is yet to run for the first time my review of these learning activities is based on what I know about the students from past postgraduate courses and my experience in teaching at this level and teaching that is 100% by distance.

The table that I have developed to reflect on each learning activity is attached to the forum which this blog was access through.

Proposed learning objects, media and activities are described, as well as the way in which they will be used

Moodle – The Moodle shell will be kept relatively simple. The main shell is used as the first point of call for all the students. All information will be made available through the course shell. They will see photos of the lecturers (with contact details), weekly work outlined in separate boxes, external links to helpful resources, links to other Moodle shells (such as the PG Community Resources shell) where they will find material on the library etc. Students will be encouraged to log on regularly, edit their profile which will include their preferred email address.

Moodle books – The books will be used for the weekly work/tasks. They will be titled with the relevant week dates and this will be where students can go to find out what they need to do for that week. By having this in a book it keeps the main shell less cluttered and easier to negotiate. Postgrad at OT school prefers to use the books rather than eXe packages. By continuing with this limits the confusion for the students.

Adobe Connect – Will be used fortnightly as an opportunity to discuss the material the student have been asked to work on in the previous two weeks. They will be used as an opportunity for students to ask questions and to connect with each other as well as the lecturer.

Moodle Discussion Forum – Forums will be opened each week to invite the contributions and discussions from students on the weekly work. The very first discussion forum will allow students to introduce themselves and give a brief background on their practice area and postgrad study to date.

Wiki (Wikispaces) – The wiki will be used in the group work. This will be the place students will go to add their contribution to a piece of work that everyone is building on. Students will be introduced to this in the first weeks of the course and it will be demonstrated in the first group session.

Moodle Quizzes – These will predominantly be used at the beginning of the course. Quizzes will be used to help students hone the way they critique their literature. Students will be given a research article/s which they will be encourages to critique themselves and then a week later they will be given an opportunity to complete a quiz on the article to see how well they had critiqued the reading.

Reflection on resourcing, including any new technologies, staffing and training provided.

New Technology

Adobe Connect – As the Otago Polytechnic is moving away for Elluminate in 2012 this course will use Adobe Connect as the web based conferencing system. The OT school is attempting to use this software in second semester in 2011 which will allow staff and some students to become used to using the new technology. Therefore by the time this course runs (second semester 2012) staff should be familiar with it. Students potentially will never have used it (or in fact any type of web based conferencing system).

Moodle – Moodle has now been running for 3 years at the Otago Polytechnic. For existing students the use of this learning management system is known and reasonably straight forward. However it will be anticipated there will be students new to the programme who have never used web based learning technology. The Postgraduate Coordinator (happens to be myself) is usually the first port of call to help talk through issues with students. They are advised they are welcome to contact the coordinator to ask questions.


Adobe Connect – Students are offered training sessions in Adobe Connect in the first week of the semester. They are given opportunity to log onto it, use some of the basic features and talk with the facilitator as well as the other students there. This will occur at least a week before their first group session for their course begins. They are also provided with IT support 0800 number and email so they can contact them when needed. Staff will also be offered the opportunity to take part in these training sessions.


Guides – All postgrad students are email a guide on using Moodle and (soon to be) Adobe Connect at the point of their enrolment. They are encouraged to follow through the advice given on these guides. For example there will be the web page they need to go to, to ensure they have the needed software for running Adobe Connect (eg Adobe Flash). They will be encouraged to have downloaded this prior to their training sessions. They will so be advised in this guide they will need to purchase a microphone head set prior to the training session.

Readings – Postgrad students are sent a CDRom of readings that contain essential readings for the course. These will be collated by myself however the readings wont be the entire literature that will be used. Students are expected to search for more literature during the course.


IT Support – The contact details for IT support are given to all students enrolling in the course. They are encouraged to contact the support when the have issues with both the web based conferencing system as well as Moodle.

Robertson Library – We also give contact details of Paula Whitlock (OT subject librarian) to enable students to contact a person when they are having problems accessing needed library resources.