Monday, 26 March 2012

Activity 3 interview

Jade Wratten Midwifery Lecturer Palmerston North Midwifery Satellite (permission to name given)
This discussion revolved around the year long blended delivery midwifery practice skills paper (yr 1). This involves students meeting Jade once a week for a four hour teaching/debriefing sessions, moodle guided learning resources and clinical placements. For a detailed report outlining the five dimensions of flexibility please read my summary below I confess I find it hard to write the detail given concisely as a blog should be! I am still waiting for my second colleague to get back to me for her tips.
What have I learnt-
I had not thought to be so flexible with the venue choice for learning and how this affected the team building of the group. Do I have to use the booked classroom maybe we could sit out on the lawn for a while? Jade reminds be to be constantly seeking feedback and tailoring the session accordingly. Jade has infrastructure supporting her session. I need to negotiate Internet access at the hospital rooms that we book for our sessions in Wellington. Jade’s planning with her group gets good buy in to her sessions.
Thanks Jade

Summary Jade Wratten Interview
Time-Students can now pick the timing and format of their practice skills assessment i.e. iPad film clip or in front of lecturer as scheduled appointment. This is based on students saying when they feel ready and using the format they feel comfortable with to demonstrate competence. Previously this was role played with women at a given date during an intensive.  Students get to use a wiki for rostering their clinical shifts (200hrs) which helps keep flexibility around family life and study commitments.
Delivery and Logistics-Modules are opened via a set schedule on moodle across the year (this is to help students work to a reasonable pace) and are archived for reference the following year. Elluminate/Adobe tutorials are recorded for those students missing or needing to refer to the content again. Students need a computer with certain applications preferably broadband and a headset. Students need a car to attend clinical requirements and to travel to intensive (unless pooling). Students need good planning as being on call to follow pregnant women means that schedules and deadlines for assignments can be disrupted if not engaging with requirements mindful of this uncertainty.
Entry requirements-This is an academic degree paper and students must meet NCEA level 3 in certain subjects and have a first aid qualification and health screening clearance. Confidentially is required regarding clinical aspects and a clear police record other than minor driving offences.
Content and instructional approaches-
Jade has a schedule of skills she needs to teach each week but negotiates the timing of this with her group. Often students want to get heavy academic things completed while fresh and debrief later in the session. Topics are often student led and can lead into other courses such as bio-science in order to facilitate integration. Students often negotiate the importance of a tangent and will sometimes opt to defer a designated topic to a less heavily scheduled session or to reduce its content that day (with more self directed learning) in preference.  Jade often stops a session for feedback asking “are we on the right path, are everyone OK?” The weekly group decides based on the upcoming content where they want the session to be held. It is a popular preference to host each other at their own homes rather than the booked classroom. Jade feels they are developing a stronger sense of community through this student led innovation. Some students bring their babies and there is general support for need of comfort i.e. one students sits on the floor and another often stands due to back pain.  Jade engages with her students a lot on a one to one basis via email, moodle discussion forum and on her cell phone which is free for students via the 0800 system.
Jade has a structured student who she emails the agenda of or her session to in advance. As the groups is small once a student attended via skype when geography was a challenge and at another session minutes were taken for a student that could not attend who wanted to know about the content.
Students can negotiate assignments be submitted in Te Reo.
Jade often uses her note book with students showing them material on moodle and the Internet that may help them to integrate the broader curriculum e.g.  APA guides, EDC, Library, course outlines, year overview and exam and assessment schedules. These discussions often prompt students to share and help each other with their study skills in a blended curriculum. Jade has lots of negotiated support from UCOL in Palmerston North and students use their library and computers. OP distance services and CAPPEX are also resources that Jade is mindful of utilising. Jade has equipment for skills in storage and needs to ensure this is available for sessions mindful of the competing demands of other satellites for some of the more expensive equipment. 


  1. Fifi lots of really interesting information here in this example. Jade has negotiated some truly student-centred approaches. I think it is great that they meet at each others' places - how cool is that. I remember years ago attending zoology Masters seminars in different students flats - one was brewing beer so throughout the session wonderful fumes of hops kept floating past - no tasting though.

    It sounds like Jade is very open to providing a rich learning environment for her students. Do you see any challenges for her in using such a flexible approach?

  2. Hi Bronwyn, Yes I do wonder if students would feel some pressure to host a session and be embarassed about their capacity to do same and how that can be managed sensitively. It seems like a really good way to create a sense of community in the group though and keep things fresh so to speak. Jade has been much more creative with her flexibliity as an SPF than I have been in this regard and it has got me thinking.
    Regards F

  3. Hi Fifi. I have really enjoyed reading about the range of flexibility Jade has manged to incorporate into her teaching and feel it helps me to stretch my ways of thinking. Might make more use of the horse paddock next door and not feel I am bending the rules about having to teach in the classroom as much! I do think it is an interesting discussion about the learning space and taking it out of the classroom. I would really like to see that happen a lot more for our Bachelor students as I think a lot of indirect learning experiences could come from being in an environment that provides learning without being teacher led e.g. where students actually end up working such as the community and the DHBs. I am fortunate that I have two placements I supervise students in and one of them I visit the students on site. I try to make the most of connecting with the student(getting to know a bit about the person!) and linking the learning to the placement expereinces as much as possible. I need to think about how I can continue to expand on that linking!!!