Ron and I caught up last week to progress this activity, but we were both distracted with news of down South. So we thought we'ld leave it, and catch up via email- here is where we got to...
From: Ron Bull
Sent: Monday, 19 March 2012 9:47 a.m.
To: Gina Huakau
Subject: RE: FL course - Activity 2
Kia ora Gina.
I feel the same about the possibilities and the responsibilities of flexible learning.
Having taught in the University context for years I became both used to
and wary of the efficacy of the face to face, one to many, I talk and
you listen approach to teaching.
The initial premise of flexible learning being focused on outcomes based
on student needs (not denying external and associated political issues
associated with same) is sound and I believe the right direction that
tertiary education should be heading. From my business days I would see
this as a move towards a consumer focused model: we are looking now at
the needs of the consumer. This bring to mind to other catch words from
my old days, 'effective and efficient' management of time and
Time will tell if the move towards flexible learning strategies produces
better outcomes, one would suppose this to be the case. Therefore this
approach may meet the 'effective' test.
But how 'efficient' is the implementation of these strategies.
Nagging at the back of my mind is what price do lecturing staff have to pay to deliver this type of learning.
I find this analogous to the rise of technology in the workplace
specifically the use of cell phones. These were touted as being
wonderful new devices that would free us from our desks and allow for
flexibility within the workplace. One could argue, and many have, that
the workplace has now expanded to include our private space, physical
Looking at how I teach now as opposed to within the University context, I
would describe myself as being semi flexible, I use a variety of media
to make my point: face to face lectures, Moodle including PowerPoint
presentations, embedded videos audio recordings of the lectures, audio
on top of PowerPoint, adobe connect as well as individual meetings,
e-mail correspondence etc. I know that I still have much to learn to
make my teaching practice more effective.
My point is that I am now reproducing my face to face lectures in at
least two other formats in the quest to become an effective flexible
educator. Given other pressures of expectation within the institution
and the sector generally (e.g. PBRF), along with external obligations,
where would my break-even point be? At what point would the balance
between effective and efficient tip one way or the other?
The need to be more flexible in the way we teach how we conduct learning
experiences is important if we are want to meet the needs of those
consuming our product (students), but this must be balanced with
efficiency measures to ensure educators and associated staff are not
overburdened with the weight of expectation that would cause negative
impact on other tasks within either the academy, our private space or
Just some thoughts.
From: Gina Huakau
Sent: Saturday, 17 March 2012 4:16 p.m.
To: Ron Bull
Subject: FL course - Activity 2
Kia ora Ron.
Here are the 4 questions re: FL- I've posted some thinking below... G
What does the term Flexible Learning mean to you?
Lots of work! Lol. Flexible learning means to me greater choices for both how students learn and how I facilitate a course.
Helping students achieve a learning outcome/skill is no longer confined to one mode of delivery.
Why is it necessary to use a more flexible approach in your work?
Because we have to, there is now so much literature (not to mention
education statistics) that show if we don't get to grips with offering
viable and multiple pathways to learning- we again have another
generation who miss out on an opportunity.
Having a more flexible approach in our mahi is way more interesting too.
What do you need to explore to help this happen?
I need some IT gurus to help me get a fat ethernet cable between Waikato
and Otago so the class can interact more with each other!
Be great to work more with OT colleagues to look at cross-overs so we
can have a better flexible approach between courses (we've started this)
What goals do you have for using Flexible Learning in your work?
Better engagement with students- especially North Island cohort.
Increased opportunities for students to interact with the course and get more from it.