How do your ideas and strategies for flexible learning fit with your organisation?Institutional Vision:-
Developing a course for return to practice midwives fits well with the priorities of Otago Polytechnic (OP). To lead our sector in educational excellence. Midwives engaging with OP for recertification may return to the institution for ongoing education i.e. postgraduate studies through having had a positive flexible learning experience. To achieve the highest level of confidence from our communities. Midwives will have empathy for the undergraduate midwife as they will be increasingly familiar with the blended model of distance education through participating in a component of these themselves. Commitment to Kai Tahu is reflected in the integration of Tauranga Kaupapa in curriculum development and in midwifery practice which is always a highly consultative process. Workforce turning to OP for education supports OP remaining financially sustainable. Building on a collaborative relationship with the midwifery council ensures a steady stream of students. Distance study means that return to practice midwives who are often heavily committed in other areas of their lives such as children/grandchildren/voluntary work will not have to leave their communities. Easy access to study resources means that OP is functioning in as a socially responsible and sustainable organization. Not having to travel reduces the financial burden on the student and having the majority of resources on-line means that less trees are sacrificed as students are discouraged from printing documents as they are easily saved on their computers. Re-engaging an inactive workforce within communities especially in rural settings is surely the ultimate in recycling!
Some readings I have been reflecting on in relation to flexibility and content
"As a rule, you should only think of authoring new content as a last resort. Remember, the ‘value’ in flexible learning – as in face-to-face teaching – is in the teaching and interaction with students and creating the right conditions in which they can learn. It is a common mistake to equate the creation and delivery of content with teaching (both on-line and face to face) – it is not the same. Do not be afraid to use textbooks and third-party resources to support your e-learning content strategy; this is very commonin the e-learning ‘hotspots’ of the USA and Australia. Following this strategy allows you and your team to concentrate on teaching and developing your students’ understanding, and avoids you getting sidetracked into content creation," Casey, J. & Wilson, P. (2005) p.3-4.
“In the popular vision of lifelong learning, students take more control of their own learning. This is a fine ambition, but we need to recognise that the capacity to do so varies at different points in an academic career. There can be a danger of projecting an inappropriate learner model onto prospective student”, Casey, J. & Wilson, P. (2005) p.9.
Casey, J. & Wilson, P. (2005). A practical guide to providing flexible learning in further and higher education
In the words of Ron Miller, editor of Holistic Review: cited by David Orr
"Our culture does not nourish that which is best or noblest in the human spirit. It does not cultivate vision, imagination, or aesthetic or spiritual sensitivity. It does not encourage gentleness, generosity, caring, or compassion. Increasingly in the late 20th Century, the economic-technocratic-statist worldview has become a monstrous destroyer of what is loving and life-affirming in the human soul."
This is an important reminder to ensure that the student is always at the forefront of our minds. Wouldn't it be wonderful if our teaching ignited a passion for learning or in my case midwifery. Our greatest success might lie no in the A grade student but in the recruitment and retention of passionate students who have valuable life experiences and despite challenging circumstances themselves can bring their own special dimension to being 'with women' as midwives. Facilitation of their sucess by celebrating their strengths and shoring up their weaknesses surely a privilege :-) Flexibility must be one of these tools